3 Sonny Gray replacements Twins should trade for this offseason

Now that Sonny Gray is gone, who can the Twins replace him with?
Division Series - Houston Astros v Minnesota Twins - Game Three
Division Series - Houston Astros v Minnesota Twins - Game Three / Stephen Maturen/GettyImages
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Something we all expected to happen this offseason finally transpired earlier this week. Cy Young runner-up Sonny Gray exited stage left and signed with the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday morning.

Gray leaving wasn't a shock, but it did confirm that the Minnesota Twins have some work to do in finding ways to replace his prodcution in the starting rotation. Pablo Lopez figures to be the ace of the staff for the next handful of years, but Gray was the No. 1 guy which means something at the top of the rotation needs to be changed.

Lopez is moving into Gray's spot, which means technically the Twins are trying to add a guy who can be his sidekick. Trying to replicate the success of last year on a budget means Minnesota isn't going big game hunting, but it shouldn't narrow their search so much that they miss out on some potentially key replacements on the trade market.

3 pitchers Twins could trade for to replace Sonny Gray

Paul Blackburn

  • 1.3 WAR
  • 103.2 IP
  • 4.43 ERA
  • 3.96 FIP
  • 1.543 WHIP

He's getting less attention than some of the other more notable names on the trade market, but Paul Blackburn is a lot better than folks think. He didn't light up the league last year the way Gray did, but he was a powerfully efficient pitcher on an absolutely brutal team that was so bad it blocked out a lot of the good that he did.

At a glance his 103.2 innings of work last year is a concern, as it's way under what the Twins got out of Gray. How much of that was the Oakland A's being terrible and how much is Blackburn being incapable of getting deep into starts? It sounds like the perfect question the Twins would want to answer, especially given Rocco Baldelli's history with early hooks for his starters.

His breaking ball and offspeed stuff all grade out well and doesn't give up hard contact, and leans on his other pitches way more than he does his fastball. Blackburn doesn't need to come in and be a 1-for-1 replacement for Gray, rather he feels like an excellent piece of a Lopez-Ryan-Blackburn trio of pitchers at the top of the rotation.