Minnesota Twins: Sonny Gray trade not worth parting with prospects

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 20: Sonny Gray
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 20: Sonny Gray /

The Minnesota Twins are in the market for a starting pitcher at the trade deadline. Sonny Gray is one of them. He may not be worth it.

The second half of the season is underway and the Minnesota Twins are still contending for the American League Central Division title. With the trade deadline approaching, the Twins are in a position to be buyers as they are just two and a half games behind the division-leading Cleveland Indians.

The Twins are sure to be looking for starting pitching and relief arms. With names floating around, one name that will pop up is sure to be Oakland Athletics starter Sonny Gray. Gray has been named an All-Star and is looked at to be a high-end arm that would require a trade partner to give up top prospects. Contending teams are willing to take the gamble, but the Twins should not gamble on Gray.

He is not worth giving up future pieces.

If the Twins want to get a top of the line starter, they will surely have to give up some big-time prospects. Nick Gordon would be the kind of guy teams will be seeking when dealing a top arm. While some pitchers on the market would be worth it, like Chris Archer, others may be too big of a risk. Gray is one of them.

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Gray started his career by baffling opposing batters as a part of some contending Oakland teams. He was named an All-Star in 2015, a year he went 14-7 with a 2.73 ERA in 208 innings. He struck out 169 batters that season, as well. Since then, however, he has not been the same.

In 2016, Gray battled injuries and ineffectiveness. He managed to go 5-11 with a 5.69 ERA in 117 innings of work. This season, he has been able to recover a bit. He is 5-4 with a 3.72 ERA for a dreadful Athletics team. While he has not been bad, he is not worth giving up what the Athletics are likely to ask for him. There are better options to trade for, especially when it comes to giving up top prospects.

He will have years of team control, but that may also be a bad thing.

Gray may be on his way back to form. At 27, it is hard to say his best years are behind him. However, to give up such pieces the team has to be sure the player they are bringing in is worth it. Gray has not shown he is back to his pre-2016 form, which would actually be more of a disadvantage in Gray’s case than a rental.

Gray does not become a free agent until 2020. He is arbitration eligible next season and will likely be getting a pay raise from the team he is traded to. If Gray’s best years are, in fact, behind him then he will be a mediocre starter for the next two and a half seasons while the top prospects given up may be thriving on other MLB rosters. There is always that risk, but Gray has not shown he is the pitcher he was before his injuries last season.

If not Gray, then who?

It is hard to say if any pitchers that will be on the market will be worth trading their top prospects for. Julio Teheran is young and has shown he can pitch at a high level. He has had a less than stellar year on the mound, however, and would likely be of little help to the Twins. With Jose Quintana already traded to the Cubs, that leaves Archer.

Archer would be a worthy arm. He is 28 and still under team control until 2020. He was named to his second All-Star team this season and has electric stuff. The problem is the Tampa Bay Rays are still in playoff contention being only three and a half games behind the division-leading Boston Red Sox.

Unfortunately for the Twins, if they want to stay in contention they need to acquire an arm. Starting pitching will only be acquired at premium prices. The only way to lure one in is to give up some future pieces. They may have no choice, unless they decide to beef up their bullpen in a big way instead.

Next: Twins Trade Deadline Target: Julio Teheran

The market for a starter is not breathtaking. The guys available are having down years and not pitching at their top levels. When it comes down to it, the Twins are better off bolstering the bullpen without giving up Gordon. Their starters aren’t incredible, but the bullpen is the glaring hole. Look for the Twins to invest in bullpen arms, unless Archer becomes available.