Back while Derek Johnson was the pitching coach, the Brewers were linked a few times to Sonny Gray in trade rumors. Now, with new pitching coach Chris Hook in charge, he has the same interest. This morning, Jon Morosi is reporting that the Brewers have spoken to the Yankees about Sonny Gray.
During Gray’s tenure in Oakland, the Brewers showed interest in acquiring him several times during his tenure, even bidding on him up to the 2017 trade deadline, when he went to the Yankees. In 2018, he faded a bit and ended up in the Yankees bullpen, and reports are he likely will not be with the Yankees in 2019, giving the Brewers another chance to acquire him.
Gray is still a good pitcher, though his results haven’t been as good in the past few years. In 2016, he posted a 5.69 ERA and 4.67 FIP. He rebounded in 2017 to post a 3.55 ERA and 3.90 FIP while pitching between the Athletics and Yankees. However, his 2018 wasn’t as good as his ERA increased to 4.90 and also had a 4.17 FIP.
Despite the results not being there, there’s still plenty of reasons to believe he can rebound. His K/9 has been steady over the last two years (8.48 K/9 in 2018, 8.49 K/9 in 2019), as well as his HR/9 (1.05 in 2018, 0.97 in 2019). His walk rate did increase a bit (3.16 BB/9 in 2018, 3.94 BB/9 in 2019). In additional, his velocity across the board has been consistent, with his fastball remaining at 93.8 MPH over the last two seasons. This suggests that his issues may be fixable in the right environment.
It’s still preliminary, so we don’t know how interested the Brewers are in Gray, or what they would be willing to give up for him. However, it is an opportunity to buy low on a pitcher that they have had interest in over the last few years.
Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs.