All offseason, Brian Cashman has made it abundantly clear that he intended to move RHP Sonny Gray when he received a worthwhile offer. It’s taken longer than many expected, but it seems that Cashman has finally found a package he likes.
The Yankees are now set to send Sonny Gray to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for Cincinnati’s No. 7 prospect 2B Shed Long and a competitive balance draft pick (CBP). The hold up right now is that the Reds are trying to sign Sonny Gray to an extension beyond 2019 so they get more than one year of control for him. Rumor has it that if they agree to an extension, they’ll send one more low-level prospect to the Yanks. We’ll find out soon enough if that’s true.
Shed Long is a 23-year-old second baseman. He’s a lefty hitter and his skills are all rated to be about average for his position, according to MLB.com. In 522 plate appearances at Double-A in 2018, Long slashed .261/.353/.412 (120 wRC+) with 12 homers. Definitely a solid season. He is on the 40-man roster, and this is what his face looks like:
The Yankees had also asked for No.6 catcher Tyler Stephenson. The higher levels of the minor leagues are pretty thin at the catcher position, and right now the third catcher remains Kyle Higashioka. It makes sense to ask for him. They’re reportedly not getting Stephenson, though, and Long is the headliner in the package.
I have a feeling we don’t ever see Long play in pinstripes, but he seems to at least be a solid trade piece for a potential trade deadline deal later this year. Either way, I’m cool with it, but I genuinely do like everything I now know about Long, especially the fact that his first name is Shed.
As for the CBP, those are picks given to teams that are either in the bottom ten in revenue or the bottom ten in market size. Depending on a variety of factors, the pick a team is assigned is the either in between the first and second rounds or between the second and third rounds. I don’t know exactly what determines that and I have no clue where this pick specifically is, but it’s a reasonably high draft pick. It’s also the only kind of draft pick that MLB allows to be traded straight up as a literal draft pick.
At least on paper, this seems like a good return for Gray, who struggled for the vast majority of his tenure in the Bronx. I liked Sonny more than most, but it was time to move on from him. We should be wishing him the best.
Because Long is on the 40-man roster, moving on from Sonny actually does not open up a spot for Adam Ottavino, so be on the lookout for another move before that signing gets officially announced. I suspect Ben Heller will be DFA’d and re-signed as a non-40-man player, but maybe they’ll finally move Luis Cessa or it’ll be Joe Harvey. Those are the three most likely candidates.