Finally, the Yankees are finalizing an exchange for Sonny Gray. Their new home will be the Cincinnati Reds, who will send their prospect number seven, Shed Long, a minor prospect, and a Draft selection in exchange for Gray's services, by Jon Heyman of MLB Network Insider.
My first impression of this agreement is that it is very good for the Yankees. Sonny Gray had a great fight in his time in the Bronx, and although his peripherals suggested that he deserved somewhat worse results, they still pointed to a league average, behind the rotation starter instead of a mid rotation pitcher (4.17 FIP , 4.10 xFIP in 2018). If you had told me that Brian Cashman could change it for a legitimate perspective this offseason, I would have been ecstatic.
Speaking of which, yes, I think Shed Long is a legitimate perspective. The 23-year-old second baseman has thoroughly demonstrated his hitting skill at every minor stop so far, and last season he reduced to .261 / .353 / .412 (120 wRC +) in Double-A. The FanGraphs prospect team estimated Long as a 50 FV piece in its December 2018 Red System ranking. That is an impressive return for Sonny Gray in himself.
Of course, as with all perspectives, Long comes with warts. It has some high-punch trends (23.6 K% in 2018), and explorers doubt its ability to stay on second base long-term, seeing movement to the corners of the garden as a strong possibility. However, even if he is not the strongest defender, Long could provide value as a second baseman who can really hit, since his MLB counterparts only managed a 93 wRC + collective last year. And while the Yankees already have a strong offensive player in the cornerstone at Gleyber Torres, it never hurts to have a big capacity in the junior highs (Long is projected to start 2019 in Triple-A). You can tell me how a big fan of this trade.
If I had to do it right, I would point out that Gray's departure diminishes the depth of rotation of the Yankees. Although, according to reports, CC Sabathia has performed well after his angioplasty, concerns about how it will remain for a whole season. James Paxton has also been mentioned as a risk of injury, and although his past health problems have been more of the variety of strange injuries, the fact is that he has never been able to launch a full season. Gray could have helped to eat tickets with skill, as long as they used it only on the road, but it seems that the Yankees will have to depend on Domingo German or, what is worse, Luis Cessa for his sixth starting role.
However, I'm not very worried about that. There is still time in the offseason for the Yankees to buy the depth of rotation. The mere fact that Cashman can obtain a legitimate perspective value for Sonny Gray is enough for me to consider this exchange a blessing for the Yankees. Initially, I had my doubts about how Cashman handled this entire saga, especially the way he made his intentions so clear. But Ninja Cash found his suitor, and seems to have handed it over once more. Sorry for ever doubting you, Brian. You win, one more time.