Yankees grab Gray to win MLB swap meet

By Matt Youmans  (VSiN senior editor) 

July 31, 2017 05:44 PM
The Yankees made the boldest move by trading for Sonny Gray, who went 6-5 with a 3.43 ERA in 16 starts for the Oakland A's this season. Gray, an elite 27-year-old right-hander, has recorded 94 strikeouts in 97 innings.
© USA Today Sports Images

On the surface, it made perfect sense for the New York Yankees to trade for Sonny Gray, a pitcher who would fit near the top of any team’s starting rotation. So, when the deal went down as expected Monday, it was critically acclaimed.

It was a bold move by the Yankees, who arguably won the July swap meet by adding Gray and four other key players.

Of course, ranking the winners at baseball’s trade deadline is guesswork. There are plenty of unknowns — a gray area, if you will — in predicting a player’s performance and impact on his new team in August, September and October.

Each year, there is a flurry of action at the deadline, yet the importance of most deals are exaggerated and overhyped. On a day when the Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers made the biggest moves, their odds to win the World Series barely moved at all.

“I’m not going to move anything,” South Point oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro said, with an eye on the futures board.

Vaccaro did make one minor adjustment. After taking a $1,000 bet on the Dodgers to win the World Series at 5-2, he moved the odds to 2-1. L.A. also added a top-shelf starter by getting Yu Darvish from Texas.

“Let’s be fair about it,” Vaccaro said. “You can’t find any bargains now. Taking 5-2 on the Dodgers to win the World Series is silly.”

At the South Point, the Yankees opened and closed the day at 8-1 odds to win the World Series and 4-1 to win the American League.

At the Westgate sports book, the Dodgers’ odds to win the World Series shifted from 5-2 to 9-4, and the Yankees improved from 10-1 to 7-1.

“I think the Yankees have to be the team to beat in the AL East now,” said Dave Cokin, a longtime Las Vegas radio host and baseball handicapper.

Gray’s basic numbers (6-5, 3.43 ERA) in 16 starts for Oakland are not incredible. But the right-hander's high strikeout and ground-ball rates — 94 strikeouts, eight home runs allowed in 97 innings — indicate he’s an elite starter. Plus, he’s 27 and comes with a team-friendly contract.

The Yankees, who needed to get younger in their rotation, are building for the next few years, too. New York controls Gray for two years beyond this one. Luis Severino is the team’s ace, followed by Gray, Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia.

The rotation can now go six deep, also including rookie left-hander Jordan Montgomery and veteran lefty Jaime Garcia, who was acquired Sunday from Minnesota for two minor leaguers.

Another July deal with the Chicago White Sox should not be overlooked. The Yankees added third baseman Todd Frazier, who strengthens the lineup and infield defense, and relievers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to a superb bullpen.

Meanwhile, the Houston Astros went the conservative route, and the Boston Red Sox, who trail the Yankees by a half-game in the AL East, did little to get better.

In the offseason, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman referred to the Red Sox as the Golden State Warriors of baseball. Boston general manager Dave Dombrowski shot back on Monday, calling his team “significant underdogs” to the Yankees while obviously attempting to put the pressure of expectations on New York.

“I don't know how they'll lose a game right now. They made some good moves,” Dombrowski said of the Yankees.

Cashman earns an ‘A’ for his deals, especially by gambling to get Gray from the A’s.

The Dodgers did well at the deadline, too, mainly by getting Darvish to fill a need. He fills out a rotation with Alex Wood, Rich Hill and Clayton Kershaw, who’s out with a back injury. L.A. has MLB’s best record (74-31) and no serious concerns other than Kershaw’s recovery.

In the National League, the Chicago Cubs, Arizona and Washington also were winners with more subtle July deals.

The Westgate dropped the Cubs’ odds to win the World Series from 6-1 to 7-1, but Theo Epstein wisely struck early by snagging lefty starter Jose Quintana from the White Sox. Quintana is paying off, posting a 2-1 record with a 2.37 ERA in three starts for the Cubs.

J.D. Martinez, acquired from Detroit, has hit five homers in his first nine games for the Diamondbacks. The Nationals seemed to extinguish the dumpster fire in their bullpen by bringing in three quality relievers — Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson and Brandon Kintzler.

It was easier for the Yankees to part with three prospects to get Gray because they were selling for top prospects at last year’s deadline. The Yankees sent closer Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs and setup man Andrew Miller to Cleveland. Chapman and Miller each reached the World Series, and the Cubs might not have won it without Chapman.

So this is not all hype. Sometimes, deals made in late July do mean a lot in October.

back to news



View All
  • Magny should shine in Fight Island 8

    Magny should shine in Fight Island 8

    Wednesday’s UFC event begins at 6 a.m. Pacific Time, so the theme might as well be Beatdowns and Bagels. Max Holloway dominated Calvin Kattar...
  • Watch bombers in Palm Springs event

    Watch bombers in Palm Springs event

    Kevin Na shot 61-65 on the weekend to win the Sony Open in Hawaii at as high as 80-1 odds. Na (40-1) will attempt to win in back-to-back weeks this week...
  • Schedule critical in CBB futures bets

    Schedule critical in CBB futures bets

    Last week we discussed the importance of taking a positive approach to college basketball futures betting. That is, focus on playing plus numbers instead...
  • First impressions as hockey returns

    First impressions as hockey returns

    It’s great to have hockey back, but bettors must temper their expectations and trust their preseason projections. Therefore, this is a great time...
  • Tuley's Takes on Championship Sunday

    Tuley's Takes on Championship Sunday

    The NFL’s divisional playoff round was a mixed bag for us here at the Tuley’s Takes home office, though I spent Saturday at Circa with VSiN...
  • Injuries dog Chiefs, but Packers on roll

    Injuries dog Chiefs, but Packers on roll

    And then there were four. We’re looking forward to what is maybe the single best day on the NFL calendar: Championship Sunday. The matchups are...
  • Championship Sunday: Sifting recent trends

    Championship Sunday: Sifting recent trends

    For as different as this NFL season has been due to the impact of COVID-19, the first two weeks of the playoffs have generally followed the trends of...
  • How to gain edge betting CBB rematches

    How to gain edge betting CBB rematches

    (To view the charts with this report, subscribe to Point Spread Weekly) In a typical college basketball season, and to a lesser degree this season,...
  • Mahomes mystery puts oddsmakers in bind

    Mahomes mystery puts oddsmakers in bind

    It’s generally easy for oddsmakers to post lines on most NFL games. The numbers are typically airtight, unlike in college football. A quarterback...
  • Championship Sunday capsules

    Championship Sunday capsules

    NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME Buccaneers at Packers (3:05 p.m. ET Sunday) The Packers opened as consensus four-point home favorites against the...
  • With Pacers surging, Clippers on long haul

    With Pacers surging, Clippers on long haul

    Another week gone, and bettors have yet to see any NBA team separate itself from the pack. The Los Angeles Lakers seem like the surest thing on the board,...
  • 10 months in making, going all in on Bucs

    10 months in making, going all in on Bucs

    I made some bets on the Buccaneers last March that are now very much alive. These were placed the night before Tom Brady announced where he was signing....

Google Play
App Store