According to reports the New York Yankees are close to trading a starting pitcher, could the Pittsburgh Pirates be part of the sweepstakes?
With less than a month to go until pitchers and catchers report to Bradenton, the Pittsburgh Pirates are still in search of a fifth starting pitcher. Jordan Lyles is an option, but he is best served pitching in relief. The team could use an opener as well, but they would be better off with a true fifth starting pitcher.
A report surfaced on Thursday that the New York Yankees could be close to trading starting pitcher Sonny Gray:
Also, according to Heyman, the Yankees are “working hard” to move Gray. The Bronx Bombers have appeared motivated to trade Gray since the offseason began, and that trade may come soon.
Heyman also said on Twitter that many of the teams once believed to be in on Gray are not among those still pursuing the righty. The A’s, Brewers, Braves, Mariners, Padres, and Reds are among these teams. So, could the Pirates be a member of the Gray sweepstakes?
Gray would appear to fit the Pirate reclamation mold. Away from the hitter friendly Yankee Stadium in 2018 Gray posted a 3.17 ERA, 26.4% strikeout rate, 7.4% walk rate, and a 3.27 FIP. This was in contrast to a 6.98 ERA, 15.7% strikeout rate, 12.2% walk rate, and a 5.10 FIP at home.
The 29-year-old Gray is also a heavy groundball pitcher. His lifetime groundball rate in six MLB seasons is 53.3%, which is above league average. Groundball rate is something that Neal Huntington, Ray Searage, and the Pirate brass have always valued.
The fact there appears to be a mystery team, possibly multiple, in on Gray could also indicate that the Pirates are a factor. Few teams in baseball are better at keeping the moves they are looking to make under wraps than the Pirates are. So, the Pirates being a mystery team should never surprise anyone.
Are the Pittsburgh Pirates one of the teams in the Sonny Gray sweepstakes? It would not be a surprise if they were. The Gray situation could be one worth keeping an eye on for Pirate fans as this weekend unfolds.