Sonny Gray
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Brewers, Padres remain active in Sonny Gray trade talks

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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.

Pirates hire Ben Cherington as their new general manager

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.

Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.

Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.

The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.