Athletics

A's trade Sonny Gray to Yankees

gray-sonny-white-as-yankees.jpg
USATI

A's trade Sonny Gray to Yankees

OAKLAND — The A’s turned rumor into reality Monday by dealing staff ace Sonny Gray to the New York Yankees just an hour or so before the non-waiver trade deadline.

In return, the A’s received three of the Yankees’ top-rated prospects — infielder/outfielder Jorge Mateo, right-hander James Kaprielian and outfielder Dustin Fowler. It’s a highly regarded trio but a risky return package in that Kaprielian is out for this season recovering from Tommy John surgery and Fowler suffered a season-ending knee injury earlier this month.

Thus ends the speculation on where the trade deadline’s most talked about pitcher would end up. The only question for the A’s was whether to move their top trade chip now or wait until the offseason, when Gray still would have had value.

Gray is just the latest marquee name to be shipped out of Oakland in recent years, as the A’s appear destined for a third consecutive last-place finish that has once again left them in summer “sell” mode.

Earlier this month, they dealt relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to the Washington Nationals. Last season saw them deal starter Rich Hill and outfielder Josh Reddick at the deadline. And in 2015 it was starter Scott Kazmir, reliever Tyler Clippard and utility man Ben Zobrist who were traded away for prospects.

The concept of dealing Gray, a 2015 Cy Young finalist, has been speculated going back multiple years. The A’s decided to pull the trigger because the 27-year-old has rebounded with a strong season after a poor 2016 campaign. That — combined with the fact he’s under team control for the next two seasons, keeping him quite affordable — made him very attractive to many contending teams who have been on the hunt for starting pitching.

The A’s have built up the starting pitching depth throughout their organization via the draft and the trades of the past two seasons. That’s one reason they felt secure in dealing Gray, who is 6-5 with a 3.43 ERA in 16 starts.

Had they waited until the winter to trade him, they potentially still could have gotten a haul in return. But they also risked a second-half dip in his performance or an injury that would have dented that value. Gray has spent substantial time on the disabled list each of the past two seasons.

But this deal ultimately will be judged on how these prospects the A’s received in return eventually pan out. Mateo, 22, was the Yankees’ No. 4 prospect by Baseball America opening the season. He was at Double-A and batting a combined.258 with eight home runs, 37 RBI and 39 stolen bases in 99 games split between Single-A and Double-A. Center field is said to perhaps be his best position, and he has elite speed. Worth noting: Mateo was suspended last season reportedly for lashing out at Yankee officials over a promotion that didn’t come his way.

Kaprielian, 23, underwent Tommy John surgery in April. He was the 16th overall draft pick in 2015 and was ranked the Yankees’ No. 5 prospect. Fowler, 22, was their No. 10 prospect. He suffered a devastating right knee injury in the first inning of his major league debut earlier this month, rupturing the patella tendon in his right knee. He’s out for the season, but when healthy is considered a five-tool prospect.

The departure of Gray, in particular, will be a tough pill for A’s fans to swallow from the standpoint that he’s the third “Face Of The Franchise”-type player the A’s have cut ties with this season, along with Doolittle and catcher Stephen Vogt, who was designated for assignment and claimed off waivers by Milwaukee.

As the 1 p.m. trade deadline hit, there was no sign of the A's trading first baseman Yonder Alonso or any other veterans.

A's notes: Josh Phegley shines in rare start

A's notes: Josh Phegley shines in rare start

OAKLAND — Josh Phegley made just his 17th start of the season Saturday. Maybe he should play a little more. The A's improved to 15-2 in Phegley's starts this year.

The 30-year-old went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and a team-high three RBI. He also caught Trevor Cahill's seven-inning, one-hit gem. Jonathan Lucroy will obviously still be the A's everyday catcher, as he should be, but it's good to know that he can get a day off every once in awhile, and Phegley won't miss a beat.

--- Phegley, Khris Davis, Matt Olson, and Stephen Piscotty all recorded two doubles. The A's eight doubles tied the Oakland single-game record, last accomplished in 2013.

--- Matt Chapman was the only A's starter who failed to reach base. That snapped his career-high 30-game on base streak, as well as his career-high 14-game hitting streak. Chapman is still slashing .276/.362/.500 for the season.

--- Oakland improved to 40-13 in its last 53 games, the best record in MLB during that stretch. The A's also clinched another series victory, improving to 15-1-2 in their last 18 series.

--- The A's 74-49 record in their best after 123 games since 1992. It is tied for the fourth best record through 123 games in Oakland history.

--- Oakland remains the only team in MLB that is undefeated when leading after seven innings, improving to 51-0. The A's are 60-0 when leading after eight.

--- The A's have won 19 of their last 23 games at home and are 37-24 at the Coliseum for the season.

--- During the game, the A's announced that they sent 23-year-old RHP Nolan Blackwood to the Tigers as one of the two prospects in the Mike Fiers trade. Blackwood was 6-3 with a 4.08 ERA and nine saves at Double-A Midland this season. He was ranked as the A's 30th best prospect by MLB.com.

Back with A's, Trevor Cahill finds home sweet home in Oakland

Back with A's, Trevor Cahill finds home sweet home in Oakland

OAKLAND — Find someone who loves you as much as Trevor Cahill loves pitching at the Coliseum.

Following Saturday's one-hit gem, Cahill's home ERA is a league-leading 0.85. Away from the Coliseum, that number skyrockets to 6.62.

“Being at home, (I'm) just comfortable,” Cahill said. “I've made a lot of starts here in my career. Just everything from the bullpen to warming up before the game and going out there first to try to set the tone. You have the ball. You're throwing the first pitch when you're at home.”

Cahill tossed seven shutout innings Saturday, allowing just two base runners -- one on an infield single, the other a walk -- with seven strikeouts.

“He dominated us,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “He was clearly doing whatever he wanted to with the ball. He could cut it, sink it, threw changeups. When they got the lead, he pitched pretty aggressively and we chased. He controlled the game.”

In eight home starts this season, Cahill has allowed a total of five earned runs on 28 hits in 52 2/3 innings. He has notched 57 strikeouts, compared to 12 walks, a ratio of almost 5-to-1.

“I don't know that I've ever seen Trevor pitch better than he did today, even the old version," A's manager Bob Melvin. "This version, at times, is better than the old version. He's got a changeup, he's got a cutter, he's got more weapons to go to. When he's throwing strikes, the ball is not in the zone very long. It's sinking, the changeup is a couple feet short of that, and then the curveball and cutter on top of it. It was really good.”

Cahill's mastery over the Astros continued a tremendous stretch by Oakland's starting rotation. Over their last 16 games, A's starters have gone 9-1 with a 1.79 ERA. Combine that with one of the best bullpens in baseball, and it's not hard to see why the A's are the hottest team in baseball.

“I think my curveball was a lot better [than last start],” Cahill said. “I was able to throw it for strikes early on, and then I was able to put that extra gear on the two-strike ones, the putaway pitches.”