Brian Wilson has mild oblique strain, Opening Day in doubt

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Here’s some bad news for the defending World Series champions.

According to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, Brian Wilson underwent an MRI this morning which revealed a “mild” strain of his left oblique muscle. Wilson told the training staff that he suffered the injury during his most recent outing on Thursday night.

While Giants manager Bruce Bochy wouldn’t definitively say that the bearded one is in doubt for Opening Day, he acknowledged that there’s some concern due to the nature of the injury.

“There’s concern, sure,” Bochy said. “Sometimes these things take longer than others. On Monday we’ll have a better idea, and then I can tell you how much concern, but sure there’s concern when it’s an oblique.

“We still have some time here. He was at a pretty good place before he injured it, how he was throwing. It’s a setback. Hopefully Monday we’ll find it it’s not too long of a setback. I know how tough and strong he is. He isn’t overly concerned.

Remember, Wilson was sidelined for the first week or so of exhibition action due to a back injury, so while relievers don’t need many appearances to get ready for the season, he needs to get some work.

Bochy told Bob Nightengale of USA Today that it’s “premature” to name a replacement for Wilson, but you’d have to figure that Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, Jeremy Affeldt and possibly Javier Lopez would be in the mix.

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.