MLB Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Reds' Sonny Gray, Orioles' John Means

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistNovember 24, 2021

Baltimore Orioles pitcher John Means wipes his face during the seventh inning of an interleague baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Monday, Sept. 20, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

As teams look to improve their bullpens in search of a pennant, pitchers are beginning to dominate the offseason discussion, with a run at the position.

The Reds and Orioles, though, are in the process of dangling pitchers as trade bait, looking for teams to relieve them of the financial burden and hoping to get picks, prospects or less-expensive veterans in return.


Reds Open To Trading Sonny Gray...Again

Cincinnati has put pitcher Sonny Gray on the trading block again, per ESPN's Buster Olney. The report also stated the Reds consider Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle off-limits.

Buster Olney @Buster_ESPN

The Reds are said to be open (again) to trading Sonny Gray. But they've indicated to rival execs that Tyler Mahle and Luis Castillo are off limits.

The team likely considers Gray the most expendable of their three top-tier pitchers. He's the most expensive and entering the final year of his contract at a time when the team is trying to cut spending. He is a solid mid-rotation pitcher who can benefit a team chasing a championship. Earlier in the offseason, the Dodgers reportedly had interest in dealing for the righty but nothing came of it.

Gray is coming off a year in which he netted his highest ERA since 2018 (4.19) and his lowest walk percentage since 2017 (3.33). He allowed 1.26 home runs per nine innings.

Could the Reds get more in return for one of the players they've deemed off-limits? Probably, but Gray is a solid hand and an upgrade at the position for a considerable number of teams.


Orioles Dangling John Means In Trade Talks

Olney also reported the Baltimore Orioles are "dangling left-hander John Means for trade."

Buster Olney @Buster_ESPN

Other teams say the Orioles are dangling left-hander John Means for trade. He's set to make about $3 million in arbitration, coming off a season in which he pitched great in the 1st half (2.28 ERA) struggled in the 2nd half (4.88) and had shoulder issues. https://t.co/rSQSDncyrZ

Means started the 2021 season hot but faltered in the second-half, his ERA rising exponentially from 2.28 to 4.88. That fall off as the season progressed, combined with his eligibility for salary arbitration, which could lead to a hefty raise for the southpaw, makes him a prime candidate for moving.

The question is which Means is the real one?

Is it the pitcher who threw a no-hitter during his first 11 games or the player who allowed six earned runs in the final game of his season, a 10-1 drubbing by the Toronto Blue Jays?

That will be the question teams interested in his services will be faced with.

At his best, Means is a sharp pitcher with good control and a wicked curveball. At his worst, opposing teams took that same curveball and his change-up deep, contributing to the disastrous conclusion to the O's season.

One thing surrounding Means' future is that it does not appear destined to occur in Baltimore.

That is, unless the Orioles cannot find a trade partner.