Minnesota Twins: Breaking Down and Grading the Sonny Gray Trade
By Otto Johnson
Since the lockout ended Thursday, teams across Major League Baseball have been moving quickly to try and get there teams ready for Spring Training and the regular season that was quickly approaching. The Minnesota Twins were active yesterday with the trade for Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and continued today by adding a high quality starter:
While Sonny Gray is a top shelf arm, the team gave up some serious upside in order to get him, so it’s time to once again break down the trade and grade the deal from the Twins’ perspective, starting with what they’re giving up.
The Minnesota Twins added starter Sonny Gray in exchange for pitching prospect Chase Petty.
Cincinnati Reds Get: RHP Chase Petty
The Twins desperately needed starting pitching coming into this season, and in order to get high quality pitching, they needed to pay a pretty high price tag. That price tag ended up being the team’s 2021 first round pick, right-handed pitcher Chase Petty.
It’s easy to see why the Reds wanted Petty. A live arm with a fastball that can touch triple digits, Petty also has a slider and changeup with plus potential. He was ranked as our number seven prospect and had some of the highest potential in our system. But there’s a lot of risk here too.
Petty has a very high ceiling, but he’s 18 and only seen five innings of professional ball. There’s a lot that can happen in between now and when he potentially reaches the major leagues. With arms like this, there’s always injury risk and the possibility that he becomes a reliever.
Minnesota Twins Get RHP Sonny Gray, RHP Francis Peguero
What’s a good way to fix your biggest need? Adding a two-time All-Star is sure to help. Sonny Gray may have had an off year in 2021, posting a 4.19 ERA, but his 3.99 FIP and a 155-50 K-BB ratio shows he’s still got the stuff that saw him finish as a Top 10 Cy Young finisher in 2019.
He may not be a true ace, but he’s a very strong two with a long history of success. He’s also under contract for this season with a very reasonable $13 million option for 2023, so the team got two years for a prospect with some upside but a low floor.
Francis Peguero is more of a throw-in as part of this deal, as he’s a 24 year old relief pitcher who hasn’t made it past High-A, but he limits walks and does a good job of striking batters out. He’s no top prospect, but it never hurts to add a reliever.
Grading the Deal for the Minnesota Twins
After the rotation was traded away and fell apart in 2021, the Twins desperately had to rebuild their rotation, and after they missed on the top free agent arms, they had to find another way to add a top starter and try to compete.
Swinging a trade for Sonny Gray was one of the best options available. Gray’s contract is cheap ($10 million in 2022, $13 million in 2023) and gives them a pitcher who, at his best, is a near-ace level option.
Adding a pitcher similar to Jose Berrios who is talented and cheap is excellent. Chase Petty has a lot of potential, and we love him as a prospect, but there’s no guarantee he reaches Gray’s level. This is a great deal.