Sonny Gray did not work out in his time with the New York Yankees but, he deserves more respect than the send-off he’s getting.
Sonny Gray’s time in New York is officially over. The Yankees dealt Gray to Cincinnati in a three-team deal that included the Seattle Mariners.
Many Yankees fans rejoiced at the news mocks Gray on social media throughout the off-season. What many fans fail to remember is pitching in New York is the most challenging task for any major league pitcher.
As a member of the Oakland Athletics Gray proved himself as a front-line starter. Outside of a rough 2016 he never posted an ERA higher than 3.60 and in 2015 was named an all-star and finished third in American League Cy Young voting after finishing with a record of 14-7 and an ERA of 2.73.
When the Yankees traded three top 15 prospects for Gray in 2017, they felt they were acquiring the front line starting pitcher the A’s had in their rotation for five seasons.
Following the trade, it seemed the Yankees were onto something. In the 11 regular season starts Gray made as a Yankee made in 2017 Gray pitched to an ERA of 3.73 and threw a complete game.
In game four of the ALCS against the Houston, Astros Gray tossed five scoreless innings in a game the Yankees would go onto win. That led many to believe he’d be a staple of the Yankees 2018 rotation and be a consistently reliable starter.
This wasn’t close to being the case. Gray struggled mightily in 2018 with the Yankees. After 23 starts, Gray was removed from the starting rotation and sent to the bullpen due to his poor performance.
Gray finished the season with an ERA of 4.90 in 30 appearances. This led Brian Cashman to announce right after the season that Gray would ultimately be traded. He stuck to his word.
Now that Gray is gone many Yankees fans are thrilled and are throwing hate his way via social media. This shouldn’t be how Gray leaves.
He did not choose to be a Yankee in free agency. He was traded from low-stress Oakland to high-stress New York did not have a choice but to be thrown into the fire of New York City the hardest place to perform. He was one of the many pitchers who just could not handle the pressure.
He also took full responsibility and called himself many times. He did his best to get on a roll but simply never did.
It did not work out, but he’s not to blame for the Yankees missing out on a world series in 2018 and surely wasn’t the only Yankee who underperformed in 2018.
Give Gray some slack and show class as he moves on to turn his career around in Cincinnati.