One of the biggest questions hanging over the Minnesota Twins offseason is which way the Sonny Gray situation will break.
After putting in a Cy Young-worthy year, and completely bouncing back from his rough stint with the Yankees at the end of the last decade, Gray is set to hit the market at the right time. He stands to make at least $20 million on his next contract and could take that into the high end near $100 million,
Will a team overpay and give him a six-figure contract? It's very possible, but what isn't up for debate is the salary floor for Gray after the year he had. MLB announced this year's qualifying offer will be $20.3 million, which is what the Twins plan to offer Gray in hopes tha the returns for another season.
Why Sonny Gray might reject the Twins qualifying offer
Everything needs to be evaluated in this situation, and the tension within the clubhouse between Gray and Rocco Baldelli feels like it might be a factor. Whether the tension was blown out of proportion or not is still open for interpretation, but it's something to think about especially when considering the pitcher's comments during his exit interview.
“We want to go to a place where you feel wanted," Gray said after the season. "There are a lot of factors that go into those decisions. It’s not only me making it. As anyone who’s known me throughout the course of this year and last year, there are a lot of other things that go into it, my wife and my kids a big part of it."
That's not exactly a shot at Rocco's management of his pitchers, but that's a narrative that has flared up a few times during Gray's tenure in Minnesota.
While Gray said money isn't the biggest factor in his decision, this is likely to be the last contract of his career. While the qualifying offer isn't a small amount of money, Gray could triple his money in free agency. His market value projects at $60 million over three years, which feels like a deal a team like the Dodgers or Braves might toss his way.
If Gray can secure a decent bag as he rides off into the sunset somewhere he won't encounter some of the tension he felt in Minnesota, chances are he might take it.