The Milwaukee Brewers just lost starting pitcher Brent Suter for the year due to injury, and are still looking for top level pitching talent to boost their rotation.
Last season the Brewers were heavily involved in the Sonny Gray sweepstakes with the Athletics. He ended up going to the Yankees, but he could be available again this season, and at a much cheaper cost.
Gray has not panned out for the Yankees this season, and has become a liability in their rotation. He has a 5.34 ERA along with 91 strikeouts in 96 innings and 1.49 WHIP. However, his stats are much better on the road than they are at his home Yankee stadium, which in understandable.
As Jon Heyman pointed out, Gray would seem to be a much better fit in Milwaukee than he is in New York. Taking him out of a situation where he is facing teams like the Red Sox in a banbox of a ballpark and putting him into one where he is with his former pitching coach and is facing lower quality teams (for the most part) could work out.
Miller Park is definitely a hitters park as well, but not to the degree of Yankee Stadium. Also, coming from a smaller market in Oakland to being thrown into the spotlight in New York, it might be a nice change back to the smaller market feel for Gray.
Another reason why Gray would feel more comfortable in Milwaukee would be having his old catcher Stephen Vogt as a teammate again. He wouldn’t be able to have Vogt catch for him, as Vogt is also down for the year with his injury, but Vogt could work with Gray and the other catchers to quickly get everyone on the same page, as well as just being somebody in the clubhouse that Gray could go to and get acclimated quickly to the team.
Gray has something that not many pitchers in any part of the Milwaukee Brewers staff have, and that is postseason experience. He has made four postseason starts, two with Oakland in 2013 and two with New York in 2017. He has overall solid numbers in the playoffs and just having the experience alone is valuable when that is a rarity among any other Brewer that would pitch in the playoffs.
David Stearns has been on record saying that he probably wouldn’t spend prospects for pitchers who are not a ace or at least a #2 level. Right now, Sonny Gray is not that, but he can easily get back to his successful ways and become one of, if not the best starting pitcher in the Brewers rotation.
With the ideology that the Brewers won’t overpay for non-aces, I think we can rest assured that top level prospects or major leaguers would not be used in this deal. And if that’s what the Yankees would be asking for, the deal just wouldn’t happen. The only reason the Yankees would trade him is just because they want to get rid of him, they don’t really need all that much in return, but would expect something decent.
This deal may seem like a bit of a stretch in terms of why both of these teams would be interested in doing it, but it makes some sense from the Milwaukee Brewers perspective to go for it if the Yankees do decide they want to be done with him.
He has the ability to be a solid pitcher who is still young, has some control, and would be much more comfortable in this situation than he is in New York.