If the Oakland Athletics decide to package Sean Doolittle and Sonny Gray this winter, the New York Yankees would certainly be one MLB club in the mix.
A few writers at Yanks Go Yard have been stumping pretty hard for the New York’s front office to pursue a trade for Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Sonny Gray this winter. In a recent column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe suggested there might be an opportunity for a blockbuster involving Gray and left-handed reliever Sean Doolittle, and named the Yankees as a fit for that kind of deal.
General manager Brian Cashman has stated many times this offseason that he’s looking to upgrade all areas of his pitching staff this offseason, and a move like this would allow him to kill two birds with one stone. The Yankees clearly need a number two starter behind Masahiro Tanaka if they are going to compete in 2017, and the club’s middle relief options could use an upgrade as well.
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There would be considerable risk from the Yankees perspective in surrendering a large package of prospects for those two guys, as both Gray and Doolittle missed significant time with arm injuries in 2016.
Yanks Go Yard has previously discussed Gray as a trade possibility for the Yanks here. In short, he took a huge step backwards from the dominant young ace who pitched to a 2.88 ERA and 3.36 FIP in 491 IP with the A’s from 2013-2015, but did hit the DL twice with an elbow issue, which might have contributed to his struggles.
At least with Doolittle, he was effective when he was healthy enough to take the mound last season, putting up a 3.23 ERA and 3.45 FIP in 39 IP while striking out 29% of opposing batters (10.38 K/9) and walking 5.2% (1.85 BB/9).
Doolittle’s 2016 campaign was interrupted by a lengthy trip to the disabled list that stretched from late June to the beginning of September because of a left shoulder strain. He lost a large chunk of the 2015 season to shoulder issues as well, so health is a major concern in any trade for Doolittle.
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How much sense a deal like this makes for the Yankees depends entirely on what Oakland’s front office is looking for in return. If they are valuing Doolittle as a shutdown late-inning arm and Gray as the guy who finished third in the 2015 Cy Young voting, there’s probably nothing to talk about here.