There will be no reunion between Sonny Gray and the Cincinnati Reds for the 2024 Major League Baseball season. The veteran righty, fresh off a brilliant 2023 campaign for Minnesota that saw him finish as the runner-up in American League Cy Young Award voting, has struck a deal to sign with the rival St. Louis Cardinals, instead. He’ll earn some $75 million across three seasons, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, and the Reds will have to search elsewhere for a top of the rotation addition.
Gray always seemed like a perfect fit for a return to Cincinnati, what with his previous successes with the club, the presence of Derek Johnson (his former pitching coach at Vanderbilt University), Sonny’s stated desire to pitch close to his native Tennessee, and the Reds desperate need for a veteran to bolster their rotation. The payroll space was definitely there, too, given the team’s jettison of Joey Votto and, to date, refusal to invest anywhere else long-term aside from Hunter Greene. So, it should come as no surprise to find that the Reds were perhaps the underbidders on Gray, as MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon relayed that there was definite interest in a reunion.
According to a source, the Reds were pursuing Sonny Gray and were close before he went to the Cardinals on a reported 3-year, $75 million deal.— Mark Sheldon (@m_sheldon) November 27, 2023
Reds also have interest in Tyler Glasnow of the Rays. He's owed $25M in '24. TB is not wanting to rebuild and seeks MLB-ready starter.
Missing out on Gray at $25 million per season might have been the upper limit for the Reds, so it’s quite interesting to see that they’re interested in Tyler Glasnow, too - a player set to earn that exact amount in his final season of team control. He’d also cost whatever the Reds would need to send the other way to the Tampa Bay Rays, of course, though MLB-ready starters who haven’t yet accrued enough service time to be expensive are something the Reds do have plenty of.
Considering the Reds are in search of a righty-hitting outfielder to complement what they have out there, it’s enough to make you wonder if adding Manuel Margot to the mix and asking for a cash kick-in is something the Reds are willing to consider. Or, if the Reds having the ability to actually soak up some money (instead of the other way around, for once) might mean they’d be willing to take both, take all the salary, and lessen the perceived quality of prospect needed to be sent to Tampa.
With Gray and Nola off the board and Yoshinobu Yamamoto expected to command some $200 million in a deal, the Reds search for starting pitching is going to need to kick in to gear quickly, especially with news that the Atlanta Braves - who were also in on Sonny - have turned their attention to Chicago White Sox starter Dylan Cease.
The hot stove has been fueled and fired, folks. Let’s just hope the Reds have their checkbooks ready.