Sep 27, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Oakland Athletics third basemanJosh Donaldson
(20) follows through for his solo home run against the Texas Rangers during a baseball game at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports
The Oakland Athletics have a slew of good players on their roster at the moment, but two in particular stand out: Josh Donaldson both offensively and defensively, and Sonny Gray in the rotation.
Donaldson is a nominee for the Gold Glove award, and his offensive statistics lead the team in batting average (.255), home runs (29), on-base percentage (.342), rbi (98) and hits (155) in 2014.
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Gray led the team in ERA (3.08) and strikeouts (183) in his first full big league season, and was one win shy (14) of tying Scott Kazmir (15) for the team lead.
Josh Donaldson has received some national exposure due to his highlight reel defensive plays, and also game-ending at-bats. Sonny Gray has quietly become the ace of the pitching staff.
The 24-year old Gray isn’t eligible for arbitration until 2017, and the earliest he can become a free agent is 2020. Donaldson, 29, is set for arbitration this offseason and can’t become a free agent until 2019. Each made right about $500,000 in 2014, an absolute bargain.
For my money, given their age, I’d give Sonny Gray a big contract when the time comes. Hopefully by that time, there will be some resolution on a new ballpark, and the influx in cash will allow the A’s to keep some of their talent.
While Josh Donaldson has been great, and means a lot to the offense in the middle of that lineup, he is also in the prime of his career, and his numbers will most likely start to decline before any potential deal is completed. Sonny Gray still has the potential to get better.
Gray is what A’s fans have been clamoring for, and what the A’s have lacked in recent postseason runs: a legitimate ace. He can go toe-to-toe with the best of them, and at the very least keep his team in the game.
While Gray had ten losses in 2014, in all ten, he received less than two runs of support while he was in the game.
Of course, this is a hypothetical situation, but the question is simple: Who would you sign, if you could only sign one?