Sonny Gray blasts Yankees amid fresh start with Reds
Sonny Gray is attempting to get his career back on track after a disastrous stint with the New York Yankees. With the fresh start, the 29-year-old right-hander now looks back on his time with the Yankees and argues the team did him wrong.
Gray established himself as a capable starting pitcher over the course of parts of four seasons with the Oakland Athletics, but things went south following a midseason trade to the Yankees in 2017. Things bottomed out in 2018, with Gray getting demoted to the bullpen before being passed over for the postseason roster.
Looking back, Gray believes the Yankees’ insistence he throw a lot of sliders set him up for failure.
“They love sliders,” Gray recently told The Eno Sarris . “Sliders are a great pitch. The numbers say slider is a good pitch, but you might not realize how many s—ty counts you’re getting in while throwing all those sliders. They wanted me to be [Masahiro] Tanaka and I’m way different from him.”
Gray went on to note how he lacks control with his slider, so using it early in at-bats instead of as a strikeout pitch often put him in unfavorable counts.
“When I try to throw sliders for a strike, I get around it and it’s just a s–tty spinning pitch,” Gray said. “I don’t know how people throw sliders for strikes that are still tight, good pitches. I’m at 2-0 and I’m throwing a slider, and either I’m throwing a s—ty slider in the zone, or I’m yanking it into the dirt and it’s 3-0 and I’m screwed either way.”
Further, Gray believes the over-reliance on the slider compromised his curveball.
“I didn’t throw as many curveballs, and that’s when it started to morph and lose shape,” Gray said.
Gray’s ERA ballooned to 4.90 in 2018, and it quickly became clear Gray was not in the Yankees’ plan going forward. Gray was finally dealt to the Reds in late January, and it’s clear from how he has gone scorched earth on the Yankees that he’s likely relieved with the change of scenery.