December 16, 2016
Little Interest and Wishful Thinking
Gray not drawing much trade interest
Oakland right-hander Sonny Gray's name keeps coming up in trade rumors, but there's an interesting wrinkle: Per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Athletics have received "little interest." Normally we see teams jump at the opportunity to grab star players from the A’s, and starting pitchers in general tend to have plenty of interested suitors. Gray is 27 years old, under team control through 2019, and one season removed from a third-place finish in the Cy Young voting. And yet no one is snapping him up. At least not yet.
Of course, that could all change as the baseball world moves through this relatively dead period for transactions. A team could come up with the proper trade package in a potential deal and the A’s could still move Gray, “little interest” or not. Even after a down year he has a career 3.25 DRA and 87 cFIP, and as bad as last season seemed he still posted a DRA below 4.00. He'd help any team, but the A's may have scared some off by charging ace prices.
Rockies want “Eaton-like return” for Blackmon
Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon is another player whose name has shown up in plenty of recent trade rumors. While Gray reportedly hasn't generated much interest, there appears to be a decent amount in Blackmon, but Colorado's asking price may simply be too high at the moment.
According to Jayson Stark of ESPN, the Rockies figure Blackmon is just as good as Adam Eaton and want a deal that’s similar to the impressive return the White Sox got from the Nationals. Blackmon is definitely a good player and he’s coming off a season in which he took a quantum leap in production at age 29. He hit .324/.381/.552 with 29 homers and a .311 TAv, but he's under team control through 2018, whereas Eaton is under team control--at bargain prices--through 2021.
With the outfield trade market shifting due to the big name of Andrew McCutchen seemingly being taken off the table it's possible the Rockies could end up getting an Eaton-type return for Blackmon, but that would require a team getting desperate for a center fielder. Right now, it doesn’t appear that anybody’s desperate enough to make that type of move, not should they be.
Rangers willing to take chance on Hamilton
Meanwhile, a return to the majors could be on the cards for a former MVP. After missing all of 2016 season due to injuries, Josh Hamilton is attempting a comeback for 2017. Jeff Wilson of the Forth Worth Star-Telegram reports that the Rangers are going to bring Hamilton in for a workout, and if all goes well they’ll sign him to a minor-league deal.
This is the part where I remind you that even though Hamilton is about to enter the final year of a five-year, $125 million contract signed by the Angels, the Rangers would only have to pay him $2 million and the league minimum should he actually end up making the team. That would make this a low-risk or even no-risk move for the Rangers, with the potential reward being a useful designated hitter or part-time corner outfielder.
Of course, given Hamilton’s injury history and age, it’s not a given that this workout will go in his favor. It feels like a long shot, but there’s still a chance that we could see Hamilton returning to the majors for one last go.