The Oakland Athletics have completed a trade with the New York Yankees that will send Sonny Gray to the Bronx. The A’s receive a package of prospects in return.
Billy Beane finally caved and traded his ace Sonny Gray to the Bronx Bombers in exchange for a trio of prospects. The A’s sent Gray and $1.5 million in international signing money to the Yankees for SS/OF Jorge Mateo, OF Dustin Fowler and pitcher James Kaprielian.
The deal came during the final hours of the trade deadline on Monday, with Beane opting to trade his ace this summer rather than hold onto him until the winter.
The A’s and Yankees were locked in discussions about Gray well into Monday morning, but rumors started swirling that a deal would be completed before the 1 p.m. deadline.
The A’s asking price for Gray was reasonably high and Beane was rumored to be interested in top-tier prospects in exchange for his ace.
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Beane seemingly blinked first and allowed the Yankees to offer up alternatives to Torres and Frazier. The A’s settled on Mateo, Folwer and Kaprielian and while the trio definitely boasts talent, Beane’s trade seems a bit bizarre.
Was The Price Right?
For starters, both Fowler and Kaprielian are injured. Secondly, the A’s had to send cash to the Yankees? The Yankees?
Thirdly, the A’s did not have to send Gray anywhere if the price wasn’t right. The A’s would have taken a risk by keeping Gray, but this trade is full of risk.
Imagine the possibility of Kaprielian, who underwent Tommy John surgery this year, fails to recover. Imagine the possibility that Fowler, who suffered a knee injury, comes back at less than 100 percent.
When healthy, Kaprielian projects as a No. 3 starter with solid command of his pitches. He features a fastball that tops at around 95-96mph. His curveball, slider and change-up are all considered plus pitches. The Tommy John surgery, though, is cause for concern.
Upon his arrival, MLB.com ranks Kaprielian 11th on the A’s list of top 30 prospects.
Fowler, meanwhile, was well on his way to a starting role in New York’s outfield this year. A knee injury, though, derailed those plans. He will miss the entire 2017 season due to the injury. MLB.com, however, ranks Fowler 3rd on the A’s list of top 30 prospects.
In 70 games with New York’s Triple-A affiliate, Fowler hit .293 with 13 HR and 43 RBI. If healthy, Fowler would provide a solid presence in Oakland’s rather thin outfield. He’ll need to improve on a few things, however, if he wishes to provide the type of production he’s capable of. Improved plate discipline and an increased walk-rate will do wonders for Fowler.
Where Will Mateo Play?
Entering the 2016 season, Mateo registered as the Yankees’ top prospect. After the arrival of Torres, though, Mateo’s services became expendable. A year ago, Mateo was untouchable.
He now joins an Oakland team in the midst of a rebuilding effort. Mateo’s versatility means that he can be penciled in as an infielder or outfielder. He features a strong arm and great quickness, but will likely see more playing time in the outfield.
With Barreto waiting in the minors, the A’s can afford to give Mateo a look in the outfield. Unless Barreto doesn’t pan out or if the A’s decide to move on from Semien, I would expect Mateo to play in the outfield.
Grading The Trade
Sonny Gray will always hold a special place in the hearts of A’s fans. Gray has meant a lot to the organization and is a special talent.
Beane’s commitment to the rebuild, however, meant that Gray’s time in Oakland was running short. Given his improved level of play this year, many people around baseball expected Gray to be dealt this year.
The A’s asking price was said to be high throughout the summer for Gray’s services. This deal, at least initially, seems to favor the Yankees. The Yankees stood firm in their discussions with Beane and ended up giving Oakland a lot less than expected.
Beane is taking on a whole lot of risk with this deal and is banking on the health of Karprielian and Fowler. If both players return healthy, then this deal feels a lot better for A’s fans. If not, though, the A’s may be kicking themselves for not getting more for Gray.
FINAL GRADE: B