While Minnesota Twins fans brace themselves for what the second half of the season will hold, specifically on offense, one bright spot to look forward to is the continued success of the pitching staff.
For the first time in what feels like a lifetime, the Twins starting rotation is perhaps the strongest unit on the team. Were it not for an inconsistent and underperforming offense, Minnesota might be battling for one of the best records in the league thanks to how well the starting staff has pitched.
The crown jewel of the Twins rotation is Sonny Gray, who has so far put together an All-Star season and is starting to build a case for a Cy Young Award. He’s was among the best pitchers in the league in the first half and has fully delivered on the promise Minnesota had for him when he was acquired from the Reds two years ago.
There has been some talk about whether the Twins will offer Gray a new contract this winter and try to bring him back as a core piece of the rotation next season. He won’t come cheap, something we figured was already the case before he put together the season he’s having, but it sounds like Gray might be thinking about a different outcome when this season wraps up.
Twins Rumors: Will Sonny Gray retire after this season?
Gray talked with Twins beat writer Do-Hyoung Park at the All-Star Game in Seattle and dropped a bit of a bombshell about his future in baseball.
“Wouldn't shock me if I didn't play any more after this year," Gray said. "Wouldn't shock me. Do I want to? Do I think I can? Absolutely. And I can at a very, very high level. It's not about the money. It's whether you still enjoy it, and does your family still enjoy it."
It didn’t take long for some on Twins Twitter to blame Rocco Baldelli for this, claiming it’s proof that he’s ruined Gray’s love of the game. The fact of the matter is it makes sense for Gray to consider retirement at this stage in his career and after the season he’s put together.
His campaign this year can be viewed as a revenge tour, one in which he’s recapturing the dominance he showed back in Oakland that put him on the radar. After hitting a rough patch with the Yankees, Gray rebounded with an All-Star season in Cincinnati back in 2019, so this marks the second time he’s had this sort of redemption.
There comes a point where Gray might be afforded the opportunity to leave the game on his own terms and at a high point in his career. The fantasy of riding off into the sunset is one that has more versions than the romanticized one about ending a career after a championship — which is still possible with the Twins.
Gray is in for a pretty decent payday this winter thanks to the season he’s having, and he’s demonstrated he still has something left in the tank. He very well could continue for a few more seasons, or he could walk away after the season he’s having in Minnesota and be able to truly hold his head high about how he went out.