The A’s want to trade Sonny Gray, and the Yankees want to trade for Sonny Gray, but so far, this is about all the common ground the two sides have been able to figure out during negotiations. According to Ken Rosenthal, the two sides are at an “impasse” caused by different ideas of what kind of pitcher Gray is.
The Yankees would love to get back a pitcher with team control if they give up prospects at the trade deadline. Sonny Gray is the top candidate for that, as the A’s want to give up their best starting pitcher — who isn’t a free agent until after 2019 — now in order to help fuel their rebuild. The problem is that the A’s see Gray as the top option at the deadline — he’s not a rental like Darvish, and ignoring strikeouts, their career results aren’t all that different — while the Yankees believe Gray is a No. 3 most days, a No. 2 on his better ones.
As Rosenthal points out, however, Gray is key to the Yankees’ plans to get under the luxury tax in order to reset that penalty, freeing up money for their next wave of signings. For the A’s, moving Gray means they can move their rebuild along faster than if they hold on until the winter. And given Gray’s recent history of health problems, it’s also possible his value will be lower by then, too, and not just because the league won’t be mid-pennant race anymore.
The Yankees aren’t letting the Gray negotiations hold up the rest of their deadline plans, at least, as they acquired Jaime Garcia from the Twins, who went from buyers to sellers with their fall below .500. Garcia should be useful, but he’s also only been around league-average, so he’s not a Gray replacement — he’s part of a larger puzzle, and if Gray does end up on the Dodgers or somehow still the A’s by the time the deadline hits, Garcia will be more of a consolation prize than a primary target.