The Sonny Gray sweepstakes are starting to gain steam.
Both the Padres and Brewers are searching for rotation upgrades and have been connected to multiple available names this winter, including free-agent right-hander Nathan Eovaldi. Milwaukee has also been linked with veteran southpaw J.A. Happ.
In San Diego, Gray would not only try to resurrect his career in the friendly confines of Petco Park, but he'd immediately become one of the leaders of a relatively young rotation. He'd also represent a much-needed right-handed arm for manager Andy Green, as four of the Padres' five projected starters next season throw from the left side.
The Brewers, meanwhile, posted the best record in the National League last season and reached the NLCS despite employing a patchwork rotation that often forced them to use the "opener" or, as they occasionally termed it, the "initial out-getter." Although they'll get Jimmy Nelson back next year, the Brewers could still use an additional arm as they gear up for another run at a pennant.
Gray went 11-9 with a 4.90 ERA (89 ERA+), 1.50 WHIP, and 123 strikeouts in 130 1/3 innings for the Yankees last season and finished the year in the bullpen after the team traded for Happ. Still, the former All-Star posted favorable splits away from Yankee Stadium, lending some credence to the theory that he needs a change of scenery to return to form.
The Yankees have been actively trying to trade the 29-year-old, who never seemed comfortable pitching under the bright lights of the Bronx. At least 11 teams have been connected to Gray; besides the Brewers and Padres, this list includes the Cincinnati Reds and his former team, the Oakland Athletics.
Gray is under team control for one more season and is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn $9.1 million next year.