Waking up this morning scrolling through my Twitter feed, I noticed there were a lot of rumblings regarding Oakland Athletics 4th year pitcher, Sonny Gray. If you would have just skimmed through quickly, you probably may have thought the Orioles made a move last night. A move was made, however, it wasn’t in the form of a trade. Mike Wright was optioned back to Triple-A Norfolk, and coupled with the Jimenez move to the bullpen, the Orioles are now looking at Tillman, Gausman, Gallardo, and Wilson in the rotation, with a fifth starter to be named later. Who is going to fill in the rotation’s final spot? Well, Pedro Martinez seems to think Gray could be a nice fit here in Baltimore.
Here’s just a quick glimpse into Gray’s career numbers:
36-26, 3.20 ERA, 86 Starts, 5 CG’s, 4 Shutouts, 472 K’s, 7.6 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 1.178 WHIP
Gray, an All-Star in 2015, has an inflated ERA of 5.54 this season, and he had dealt with a strained right trapezius muscle that landed him on the DL in May. Since coming back from the DL on June 5, Gray has started three times, going 5, 7.2, and 6 innings respectively, and allowing 8 earned runs over those outing. That calculates out to a 3.83 ERA over those last 3 starts.
In 21 career starts against the AL East (the Orioles included), Gray has a record of 6-9, with an ERA of 3.99. Even with an under .500 against teams in the east, Gray still has a sub-4 ERA, and still will give you on average of 6 innings per start. With the Orioles bullpen being top notch year in, and year out it seems, any pitcher that can consistently throw 6 innings against teams in your division, is a pitcher I’d like to have on the hill.
So, what’s the real benefit in signing Sonny Gray?
Well he’ll give you at least 1 inning more than our wonderful $50M man. Gray has thrown 557.2 innings in his career with Oakland, and through 86 starts (including his last outing on Wednesday) that’s an average of 6.5 innings per start. In comparision, Ubaldo, in his 67 starts as an Oriole, had given us 5.5 innings per start before being forced into the bullpen. Realistically, you can’t compare Gray to any other pitcher in the rotation due to lack of starts. Wright had started 21 games prior to being demoted, and Wilson has only started 15 games. By far, Gray would be an upgrade over a pitcher who seems to have it together 1 game, and falter the next 4 in a row.
As mentioned above, Gray has a career 7.2 strikeout per 9 rating, compared to a 2.9 walk per 9, and without comparing him to anymore sub-par pitchers, those numbers alone are decent to factor in to the equation. Are they enough to push the O’s pitching staff over the hump? In comparision to Chris Tillman, who has started 163 games, and has a K/9 rating of 6.8, I’d say yes.
A notable ground ball pitcher, Gray could benefit the Orioles by keeping the ball in the ballpark in a notable hitters park, Camden Yards. Compare 874 ground ball induced at-bats, to 342 fly ball induced at-bats. Also worth mentioning, with a defense behind him that has ranked first in errors two out of the past 3 seasons, it would not hurt to send another ground ball pitcher out on the bump every fifth day.
It’s going to take a sizeable offer from the O’s front office in order to secure such a blockbuster trade, however, the organization may have just the right pieces needed to secure themselves an estabished starter, who can help this team in a deep October run. I’ll let you readers decipher who the O’s could afford to send packing to Oakland in order to bring Gray back.
Leave me a comment, or tweet me and let me know what you guys think of Sonny Gray rocking the first number 54 since Yamaico Navarro (2013), in orange and black. Is it a good move for the front office, securing a pitcher who could possibly sign a cheap extension, or would the O’s be wasting their time, and money with another pitcher who would be thought out to help the starting rotation in the remaining months of this season.