Oakland still thinks it can keep the A's

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For those of you who have lost track of the Oakland A’s stadium saga, know that you haven’t missed a ton.  Owner Lew Wolff still wants to go to San Jose — he calls it “the only option” in a recent San Jose sales pitch masquerading as a profile on the A’s situation — and he has the backing of Cisco Systems an San Jose public officials on the potential ballpark.  All of that is gummed up by the fact that Major League Baseball still has its specially-appointed commission calculating the payoff to the San Francisco Giants — er, I mean “studying the A’s stadium situation.”  Nothing can happen until their report comes in, presumably sometime in early 2010.

Into that mix comes word today that the City of Oakland has identified four potential sites for a new A’s ballpark within the city. Apparently Wolff has already dismissed the sites as unworkable, probably because he has already dismissed everything in Oakland as unworkable.

I’m not the world’s biggest A’s ballpark expert — this guys is — but I can’t help but think that Oakland knows that none of those sites will ever happen.  I think they believe what I believe: the whole
MLB commission thing is rigged to pave the way for the San Jose move, and against that backdrop, they’re throwing out these proposals in order to make the commission work a bit harder before simply putting its rubber stamp on the inevitable.

If so, good for Oakland for not simply laying down on this.  Lew Wolff and the powers that be may one day take baseball from Oakland, but they won’t be able to say that they didn’t have a choice.

Yankees trade Sonny Gray to the Reds

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The deal was much talked about all weekend and now the deal is done: The Cincinnati Reds gave acquired starter Sonny Gray and lefty Reiver Sanmartin from the Yankees in exchange for second base prospect Shed Long and a 2019 competitive balance pick.

The key to making the deal happen: Gray agreeing to a a three-year, $30.5 million contract extension. The Reds will likewise hold a $12 million club option for 2023. The deal had been struck and a window granted through close of business today to get Gray to agree to the extension and, obviously, he has.

The Reds will get a pitcher coming off of a bad season in which he posted a disappointing 4.90 ERA in 23 starts and seven relief appearances. He was hammered particularly hard in Yankee Stadium but pitched better on the road. Great American Ballpark is not a great pitcher’s park itself but any change of scenery would be nice for Gray, who had become much unwanted and unloved in New York. In Cincinnati he has the assurance of a spot in the rotation and, even better for him, he will be reunited with his college pitching coach, Derek Johnson, who joined new manager David Bell’s Reds staff earlier this offseason. If he bounces back even a little bit, the Reds will have a useful starter at a below market price for four years. If he doesn’t, well, they haven’t exactly gone bankrupt taking the chance.

The Reds will also get Reiver Sanmartin, 22, who started in the Rangers system before being traded to the Yankees. He’s a soft-tosser who figures to be a reliever if he makes the big leagues. He played at four different levels last season, with one game at Double-A and the rest below that, posting a composite 2.80 ERA in 10 starts and 13 overall appearances while striking out 7.8 batters per nine.

The Yankees will get Shed Long, who is ranked as the Reds’ seventh best prospect. The 23-year old second baseman hit .261/.353/.412 at Double-A in 2018 and has hit very close to that overall line for his entire six-year minor league career. He strikes out a bit and may not stick at second base long term, shifting to a corner outfield slot perhaps, but he’s a legitimate prospect.

The Reds get another starter with some upside. The Yankees get rid of a problem and gain a prospect and a draft pick. Sonny Gray gets some job and financial security at a time when it is not at all clear what his future holds. Not a bad baseball trade.

UPDATE: Welp, the Yankees don’t have a prospect anymore. They just traded long to the Mariners for outfielder Josh Stowers. Stowers was a second-round pick in last year’s draft. He’s 21 and batted .260/.380/.410 with five homers and 20 steals over 58 games in Short-Season ball in 2018. He’s ranked by MLB.com as the Mariners’ No. 10 prospect, but now he’s New York bound.