It is clear that the Boston Red Sox are going to need to boost their starting rotation this offseason after ending the 2015 regular season with the sixth worst ERA in the MLB. Despite the surplus of starting pitchers on the free agent market, there have been numerous sources reporting that the Sox are going to try to bolster their rotation through trades. With an excess of players in their farm system, Boston could put together a pretty competitive package of prospects for any team looking trade one of their starters.
The Red Sox are in the market for a true No. 1 starter – something they lacked this past year. One pitcher the Red Sox are probably looking at, and most certainly many other teams are as well, is the Oakland Athletics’ young ace Sonny Gray. During his second full year in the MLB, Gray maintained a 2.73 ERA with a 1.08 WHIP over 31 starts and was considered an American League Cy Young candidate for much of the 2015 season. Gray was the A’s Opening Day starter for the past two seasons and a 2015 All-Star. He would be an ideal fit for the Red Sox and could take on the No. 1 ace role easily. Since Gray is talented, young and under team control until 2020, he would be a long term solution for Boston’s starting rotation.
Unfortunately, Oakland has stated that it is extremely unlikely that they will trade Gray. Even though the Athletics have a surplus of young pitching talent, Gray is by far their best starter right now. With Oakland currently building for the future around a core group of rookie players, it would be silly to trade away this 25-year-old ace. However, the A’s have been known for making seemingly foolish trades in the past.
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Just take a look at the Josh Donaldson trade, a player the A’s deemed to be unavailable at the start of the 2014 offseason. But, as New York Post reporter Joel Sherman explained in a recent article, the reason the Toronto Blue Jays were able to obtain Donaldson was because they were persistent unlike some other teams who gave up after being turned down once.
However, Gray is much more valuable to the A’s now than Donaldson was to them last year. In the Donaldson trade, the Athletics acquired a Major League starting third baseman, two promising rookie pitchers, and a top-of-the-line shortstop prospect. A team looking to acquire Gray is going to have to offer something even better than that. If the Red Sox are set on making a trade for Gray, they are going to need to be relentless and offer up some of their best prospects.
During WEEI.com’s Red Sox Hot Stove live chat, writer and radio host Rob Bradford stated that the Red Sox would have to give up at least one of their top three prospects – either Yoan Moncada, Rafael Devers or Manuel Margot – in some sort of package deal that would most likely also include a pitcher in order to obtain Gray. Out of those three, it would be ideal to deal Devers or Margot as opposed to Moncada. For one, Boston has more depth in both Devers’ and Margot’s positions, third base and the outfield respectively. Secondly, Moncada is showing immense promise after his first year playing American ball and just too valuable to give up.
However, it may actually work in the Sox favor to propose a trade that includes Devers or Margot and exclude Moncada entirely. Currently, the Athletics’ farm system is stocked with middle infielders. No doubt Oakland would love the idea of acquiring Moncada, but a second base prospect is not a high priority for them right now. A top-tier third base or outfield prospect would be more enticing. Ultimately, the Red Sox should probably offer up Devers, their No. 2 and overall No. 13 MLB prospect, if they want to persuade Oakland to cut a deal that would bring Gray to Boston.
Gray would be a great addition to the Boston Red Sox rotation, but he will come at a steep price after a whole lot of coaxing. However, as many have seen in the past, no one player is completely untouchable. If the Red Sox really do want Sonny Gray, they are definitely the team that could provide Oakland with the best offer because of the depth in their prospect pool. It will all be determined by how much the BoSox are willing to give up in return.