Brewers, Padres remain active in Sonny Gray trade talks

Sonny Gray
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The market for Yankees right-hander Sonny Gray may be starting to shrink at last. Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Brewers are still “prominent” in trade discussions for the right-hander, while the Reds have faded into the background somewhat after acquiring southpaw Alex Wood from the Dodgers and Tanner Roark from the Nationals. MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell adds that the Padres are “very much a part of trade talks” as well, though the club will likely look to the free agent market for at least one starting pitcher this offseason.

Gray’s stat line left much to be desired following a mediocre 2018 season, during which he went 11-9 in 23 starts with a combined 4.90 ERA, 3.9 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9, and 1.7 fWAR through 130 1/3 innings out of the rotation and bullpen. It’s worth noting, however, that most of his poor performances were staged within the hitter-friendly confines of Yankee Stadium (4-4, 6.98 ERA, 1.29 SO/BB), while he presented well on the road (7-5, 3.17 ERA, 3.55 SO/BB) and may yet return to the sub-3.00 ERA, 3.0+ fWAR totals of years past.

Given his extreme splits, it appears the righty would be significantly more comfortable in the pitcher-friendly PETCO Park over Milwaukee’s Miller Park, though that’s far from the only consideration here. Reports from the last several weeks indicate that the Yankees’ asking price is still fairly high, as they’ve demanded everything from top-20 prospects to “high-end major league talent” in return for the starter. Even if the Brewers or Padres are willing to meet those demands, they’ll have to hope for a productive year from the 29-year-old in his walk year or else plan on shopping him around come July.

MLB, union resume blood testing after pandemic, lockout

Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK – In the first acknowledgment that MLB and the players’ association resumed blood testing for human growth hormone, the organizations said none of the 1,027 samples taken during the 2022 season tested positive.

HGH testing stopped in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Testing also was halted during the 99-day lockout that ended in mid-March, and there were supply chain issues due to COVID-19 and additional caution in testing due to coronavirus protocols.

The annual public report is issued by Thomas M. Martin, independent program administrator of MLB’s joint drug prevention and treatment program. In an announcement accompanying Thursday’s report, MLB and the union said test processing is moving form the INRS Laboratory in Quebec, Canada, to the UCLA Laboratory in California.

MLB tests for HGH using dried blood spot testing, which was a change that was agreed to during bargaining last winter. There were far fewer samples taken in 2022 compared to 2019, when there were 2,287 samples were collected – none positive.

Beyond HGH testing, 9,011 urine samples were collected in the year ending with the 2022 World Series, up from 8,436 in the previous year but down from 9,332 in 2019. And therapeutic use exemptions for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder dropped for the ninth straight year, with just 72 exemptions in 2022.

Overall, the league issued six suspensions in 2022 for performance-enhancing substances: three for Boldenone (outfielder/first baseman Danny Santana, pitcher Richard Rodriguez and infielder Jose Rondon, all free agents, for 80 games apiece); one each for Clomiphene (Milwaukee catcher Pedro Severino for 80 games), Clostebol (San Diego shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. for 80 games) and Stanozolol (Milwaukee pitcher J.C. Mejia for 80 games).

There was an additional positive test for the banned stimulant Clobenzorex. A first positive test for a banned stimulant results in follow-up testing with no suspension.