It’s almost December and the hot stove is starting to heat up.
The MLB offseason is just about in full swing, and while free agency isn’t yet open there has still been a ton of movement bubbling under the surface that could dictate what happens. For the Minnesota Twins, one of the biggest questions of the offseason is what will happen with Sonny Gray and his future?
He didn’t accept Minnesota’s qualifying offer, which wasn’t a surprise but still puts the team in a tough spot. The Twins are a potential World Series contending team that needs to figure out how to replace the production of a Cy Young finalist who is expected to leave in free agency.
There’s a chance Gray comes back, but he’s in line for a massive payday and is one of the top pitchers on the market. His line of suitors began forming back in October, but one of them might be a little less interested than they were earlier.
On Sunday the Philadelphia Phillies agreed to a seven-year, $172 million deal that brings the ace back before he hits free agency. It’s a massive deal both in the size of the contract and the potential impact it has on Gray.
How Phillies re-signing Aaron Nola impacts Sonny Gray
It’s worth pointing out that just because the Phillies backed up the Brink’s truck for Nola doesn’t mean they’re automatically out on Gray. It does, however, complicate one of the main reasons Gray made sense as a potential target for Philadelphia in free agency.
Had Nola left, the Phillies would have been in hot pursuit of a top-end starter who could replace Nola’s innings. Gray fit the bill on a number of levels, from his Cy Young production this season to his veteran presence in an otherwise younger rotation of starters.
It sounded right too: Gray, Wheeler, Suarez is a pretty solid trio to throw out on the mound in October.
Now that Nola is back, the Phillies might not be as willing to spend another $100 million on a pitcher. Gray is projected to get at least $60 million over three years, and there’s a decent chance the final number pushes seven figures.
Of course, the Phillies are one of the best teams in baseball and aren’t afraid to spend. While that aforementioned trio of pitchers sounds great, one that goes Nola-Gray-Wheeler-Suarez is even better.
We’ll have to wait and see how this deal for Nola settles, but it might mean the Phillies are out on Gray. It could also mean the price point for Gray is starting to move up, as we know what one of the best pitchers in baseball is worth to the Phillies and that could result in Gray’s sticker price going up.