It’s Cyber Monday and apparently Sonny Gray is going deal shopping.
It’s been known for some time that the Minnesota Twins might lose Gray in free agency, and that scenario moved one step closer to reality on Monday. According to MLB insider Jon Heyman, Gray and the St. Louis Cardinals are expected to finalize a deal at some point today.
The final figure ended up being $75M for three years, which was way outside of the Twins price range. Perhaps if the team hadn’t slashed the payroll they could have gotten in at that price, but that’s not how things played out.
Gray’s qualifying offer from the Twins at the end of the season was $20.3 million, but it was expected that he’d turn it down in favor of testing free agent waters. It’s the first time in his career that Gray is in a position to choose where he’ll pitch next, and the season he put together in Minnesota meant he was going to get paid wherever he went.
His market value was around $20 million per season, and a three-year deal always seemed like the best route for him to go rather than picking up a qualifying offer.
How will Twins replace Sonny Gray after losing him to Cardinals?
It’s not at all surprising that Gray is signing somewhere else, but it officially starts the clock on the Twins finding a way to replace him. That was always the most likely outcome, but now the front office needs to figure out a way to either trade for a replacement or sign one in free agency.
Unlike Kenta Maeda, who also left this week to sign with another team, the Twins won’t be able to replace Gray’s innings or production internally. Trading for a starter is the best option, but it won’t be a simple solution.
Both Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler are top trade chips for the Twins and are expected to be used in a potential deal to replace Gray. Minnesota also has Kyle Farmer and Christian Vazquez to float in a deal as well, with positional depth being identified by the front office as currency that will be used to improve the roster.
Minnesota doesn’t need to rush to replace Gray this week, but the wheels are finally turning on the next phase of the offseason plan. With the Winter Meetings right around the corner, things are about to get crazy and the expectation now that Gray is leaving will be that the Twins are right in the middle of all trade frenzy.