Throughout the offseason the Cincinnati Reds were rumored to be discussing trades of nearly everyone on the roster. At various points during the winter the names of Luis Castillo, Eugenio Suárez, Mike Moustakas, Nick Castellanos, and even Sonny Gray were rumors to be in trade talks. The Reds, who were seemingly trying to cut their payroll, didn’t trade any of those players. But even being in trade talks – rumored or otherwise – doesn’t always go well for the mentality of the players involved.

“It feels like going into the offseason my name just kind of gets floated around there over and over,” said Gray.  “In ways when you feel comfortable and you feel like you’re making some progress and the teams going in a direction to win and be successful as a whole group, as a whole organization – it can definitely get frustrating at times. Probably went through some parts where you’re like ‘oh it’s ok, it’s not going to happen’ and then probably some frustration as well  kind of saying ‘like why?’ and then you kind of go ‘well at least you’re wanted, at least people want you, at least teams want to trade for you’ – so it can be over the course of an offseason, waves of emotion, as much as I try to remove myself from it, just kind of try to take it out of your life and just try to continue to go through your offseason, go through your winter and be around your kids and be around your family, and just be a dad and be a husband. ”

“So it can get a little frustrating and it was frustrating at times,” continued Gray. “Like I said, it pissed me off a little bit – I’m not going to lie to you. But at the same time, I have no ill feelings towards anything, I completely understand. Like I said, it was nice to be wanted. And it’s nice to be here. I do love it here. I like the people that are here, I like kind of where we’re at. But it can get frustrating. Especially when you feel like you’re at a place where you feel like you’re starting to go in a direction – I know it was a different season and it was 60 games, but there was a lot of different waves of emotion, there was a lot of different things for everyone – not only for myself, for our team, for our country, it was just a lot to go through in a year. To feel wanted was – I don’t know. I feel different ways about it. Coming into here, I am excited to be here. Like I said, happy to be here now. And let that all go past us and move on and see what we can accomplish on the field.”

Sonny Gray on adjusting to the workload

Gray, speaking with the media today from Goodyear, also spoke about the 2021 season and how things are so uncertain after a truncated 2020 season when it comes to being prepared for a full season workload.

“As a starting pitcher that’s kind of the unknown for this year,” Gray said. “I don’t think anyone truly knows what to expect. You can try and get yourself ready, you can say ‘I want to go out there and throw 200 innings’ or I want to do this – but I don’t think anyone truly knows what to expect. I plan on coming through spring, and I’ve been throwing bullpens and coming into spring I feel just like I would feel coming into a lot of springs. I feel healthy, the ball has been coming out of my hand well. This is where maybe, you don’t throw a lot last year in the regular season, but when we were back home and in Tennessee, once spring training got cancelled, we took like three weeks off but then not knowing when we were going to come back or what we were going to do, we kind of got on a 5-day rotation and we were playing little games – I was with Curt (Casali) a lot. So we kind of were throwing every 5th/6th-ish day and we were throwing 3-innings, 3-innings, 3-innings – it’s nowhere near the same as the regular season would be, not even close – but I think that’s the real unknown”

“I think everyone will feel great in spring. Everyone will come out and feel great, but then when you hit that 60-70-80-100 game mark – Personally I don’t know, and that’s something we still need to talk and try to figure out some type of plan. Do you shorten it at the front to be able to continue through the back? Do you just come out guns blazing and just see what happens? What do you do? And I’m sure different organizations and everyone will have a different philosophy on that. I don’t know, I trust DJ (pitching coach Derek Johnson) as you guys know, so we’ll sit down and have some conversations about it and come up with a plan. But talking to ya’ll, I’d like to go out and be a starter and pitch like a starter and go. And I think it’s going to be a challenge on myself to take care of yourself in different ways to get through the thing – it’s going to be more challenging on your body. I’m going to have to come up with creative ways to keep the body in position to be successful through the course of the season, whatever that looks like. I think I’m ready for that challenge. Physically I’m fine. Mentally I think I’ll be there. I may kind of ease into this thing a little bit, figure out how everything’s going. I do know one thing, I’m very excited to get on the mound. That’s like my little happy place. I want to get outside and run around and just get a baseball in my hand.”

Sonny Gray on the offseason from the Reds

“I do think as an organization and as a front office and ownership position, I think they were put into a tough position with the way the pandemic hit,” Gray said. “If you look at the offseason of 2019 and you start to build and start to try to look for that push for 2020, 2021, 2022 that little window, and you can clearly see the organization to do that. And you sign these guys – Moose, Castllanos, Shogo, and then you trade for Trevor – so you can clearly see that we’re going to actually try to push our chips in, try to actually do this thing and you get hit with this pandemic right in the middle.”

“We put all of our chips in the basket, or not all of them, but you know you kind of make this push to try and win and then this 2020 happens,” continued Gray.  “I don’t know the financial burdens the ownership groups take in on this – I’m not there, I don’t truly know – but you make this push to go in for 2020, and then your season gets stopped. It just kind of flips your world upside down. And then you kind of come back and it’s here, and you’re still uncertain of what’s going on. So I do think it’s a tough position, you make a heavy investment in players and then it just kind of gets shut down and you’re stuck and you’re sitting there and you’re like ‘what do we do?’ It was clear as day as an organization we were cutting back our payroll, cutting back our cost, cutting back our expenses – I don’t think it was only us, I think it was across the game. I think it’s clear as day that there are people that are cutting back all of their expenses and we were clearly one of those teams.”

“In ways it’s kind of like, ‘I would have liked to add this or added that’ or ‘We’re so close’ because like I said we started a little slow last year and then caught our groove and you can say it’s 60 games, you can say it’s this, but if anyone can remember the way that last month and a half went for us – we were winning series, we were winning pretty much every series – we made this push and we slowly got this feeling as a team, this feeling as an organization where we’re making this push up.”

“We got in some type of race, we hadn’t been in a race or postseason position in a while. So you get that feeling, as a player, let’s keep that feeling, let’s keep that momentum rolling through the offseason and come into spring with that same feeling of we’re close, we’re finishing strong, we’re there. The postseason – we didn’t win any of those games, but that’s fine – but we felt that feeling. It would be nice to kind of continue that momentum through the offseason, coming into spring.”

“But we just have to remember as a team, we have to remember those feelings that we had – how we came together as a group, as a team towards the end. We have to remember that, and I do think we have the guys here to be a winning team. We didn’t do a lot of major headline additions, and we lost some guys out of that group last year – and Trevor was so important to our team last year, as well as a bunch of guys we lost – but you still look as an offensive unit we still have some extremely established players who have been so productive, so successful throughout their professional careers.”

“We still have some guys in Luis, and myself, and Mahle, and Wade, and Lorenzen, and Amir, and getting Doolittle – just his presence – and guys we have on the pitching staff – we still have some guys that are incredibly talented who have been there, and won, and been a part of this thing. I don’t think in any way we should sit back and say ‘we’re not capable of winning’ because we didn’t make any major headlines, because we subtracted from our team because we still have a ton of guys on this team that are very talented players, that are very successful players that have very good big league careers with very good track records who have been through the ringer who knows what it takes. Especially on the offensive side of the ball, we still have a ton of talented players. I don’t think any way we can go into the spring with our heads down or our shoulders shrugged because we didn’t continue to do this thing – because we did, we just did it a year early. And now we’ve all been together, a lot of the group has been together for a while now for a full year and you only get stronger after going through that season last year.”

25 Responses

  1. docproc

    We are lucky to have this guy. Hope we keep him for the duration of his contract.

    • jmb

      The duration of the contract and then some, if he continues to pitch the way he has been for the Reds.

  2. Bob Purkey

    As far as I am concerned, every player, every year, is tradeable, regardless of how good they are or their contract is. Not that you are shopping them, but if someone makes you a great offer and it improves the team, then it makes sense.

    For example, I was beating the drum to trade Eugenio, not because I don’t want him, but they have someone(Moose) who could easily move to that position and if the trade could get them a long term solution at SS, and additional assets, then you make the trade.

    • jmb

      One of these two 3Bs has got to go. Whichever has a good season in 2021 should determine who gets traded. I like both players, but Moustakas never should have been signed, being that the Reds had Senzel who could play 2B. But if both 3Bs have good seasons in 2021, then what? Moose is way better defensively than Suarez, but Suarez’s contract is friendlier.

  3. Jimbo44CN

    NO way should there have been trade talks considering Gray or Castillo for that matter. These guys are professionals but not machines. This owner and his GM seem to have forgotten that this year, pandemic or no pandemic, neither of them are going to the food bank. Once again, management, from the top to the bottom is so very important. I think that’s why a team like St. Louis is so sucessful and why players want to go there. They make the tough decisions but take care of their core.

  4. Kim Henry

    I’ve liked Gray as a player since his A’s days. I think the interview above was real from a real person: not from some egotistical guy like so many are. I’ve said since joining this sited that the Reds had the talent if they put it together. I like the fact that Gray sees the same and that a winning attitude from last year will carry over. Go Sonny and GO REDS!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

  5. Kevin Patrick

    What an interesting stream of consciousness interview that was…you can really hear the roller coaster that he went through emotionally. By the end, you can sense how he’s decided to work through his uncertainty. This guy is a winner…and he’s absolutely right…there are a lot of positive things to take away from last season. Lets face it though… going through all this Covid bologna has been hard on everyone and nobody really needed the extra negative press that the Reds have had since the offseason started. The truth is that the Reds are an established shortstop and a decent starting pitcher away from making some more noise. I’ll be surprised if they find the answers within the organization, but the Reds will look like geniuses if they do find the answers internally. I also expect something to happen to the roster during the spring as players don’t make rosters and people have to be let go. The Reds will be waiting like vultures for that perfect last minute add.

  6. MBS

    Gray probably should have left off the “it kinda pissed me off a little bit”. He has the right to feel however he wants, and can say what ever he wants. It’s jus not a good look, he sounds like a child, and not like a man.

    • LDS

      I disagree. There was nothing childish about those comments. I’ll take a straight answer over corporate doublespeak any day of the week. Such answers are far preferable to the empty words spouted by Bell on the SS situation.

      • MuddyCleats

        Agree and it shows exactly why a FA player wouldn’t want to take less to come play n Cincy! How many ways can an organization say, “we’re not serious about winning?”

      • MBS

        As I said, he’s entitled to his feelings, and his own voice. Ideally players should not show animosity or hurt feelings publicly. Those comments should be between him and the team, not the public. I’m sure you’ve been out to dinner, or in a store, and heard employees bemoaning their company. It’s a bad look for the employee, and the company, and it can ruin the customers experience.

        Gray is a competitor, and I’m glad he’s a Red.

      • JayTheRed

        +1000…. I hate listening to the owners tell us how everything will be ok and we have a great team put together here. Yes there are some good potential players I totally agree with that. But its going to take a special season to be a winning team or playoff team this coming year.

  7. Frankie Tomatoes

    Fernando Tatis just signed a 14-year deal with the Padres. At least a few teams are acting as if they aren’t living in a tent under the bridge.

    • JayTheRed

      Wow that is gutsy for the Padres to do. Huge risk but potentially huge reward with this player.

    • Matt WI

      San Diego Fan Blogs, circa 2031: “We need to dump Tatis Jr, I can’t believe we’re paying him so much money, he should retire for the good of the team.”

      • jmb

        Possibly, but one thing: he will only be 36 when the contract ends. So the Padres get ALL of his best years and won’t have to accept his declining years if they don’t want to via an extension.

  8. Gonzo Reds

    Saw a Bell interview where he thought the Reds would pick up right where they left off with the surge at the end of the year. Of course Bauer was carrying us during that stretch and we don’t have him anymore, nor our top 2 closer candidates. Thus Bell is trying to be optimistic but really doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

    Now, if we could wrangle Story out of the Rockies we might have a chance to compete with the hated Cards. The Rockies have to realize that having dumped Arenado already and being in the same division as the high spending Dodgers/Padres keeping Story this season without getting what they can now is pointless. Let’s put together a reasonable package, make the deal, and get the Reds fan base fired up! Doug, what do you think is a reasonable package for Story?

    • Matt WI

      Team win totals were released from Vegas yesterday, and on ESPN the Reds were listed at 81.5 for the season. Barring a significant move we aren’t expecting, that seems generous to me and I’ll take the Under.

      • jmb

        Being that several Reds had bad years with the bat in 2020, I’d say they’ll surprise a lot of folks this year. The Cubs won’t repeat to win the division, so the Reds only competition in the Central will be the Cardinals.

  9. TR

    I understand Sonny Gray’s feelings about the sometimes intense offseason rumors that he was going to be traded. I don’t think Krall and the front office handled it well by making it so public. Trades of outstanding players have always been done over the years, but I think the better way is do the negotiations between teams and not go so public with it. Gray is in his prime and he’s a key to any success of the Reds. The mental state of the players and team chemistry is important.

  10. jmb

    Sonny Gray is a great Reds player (my favorite Reds player now that Votto is in decline). I thought the Reds very fortunate when they were able to acquire him–and acquire him so cheaply at that! He loves it in Cincy. I know the Reds have some young talented starters in the minors, but Gray should be the face of the team after Votto retires. Yes, if Gray keeps pitching the way he has been for the Reds, the team should reward him with an extension. Castillo is darn good, but I don’t have the sense that he’s as attached to the Reds as Gray is. When the time comes to trade a veteran starter for some young talent or to shed some salary, Castillo should be the guy to go (perhaps to the Angels for a couple guys from Louisville and a guy from Dayton–Adell, Detmers, and Ward.

    • TR

      Many players, over the years, have loved playing for the Reds. Cincinnati is one of America’s premier big/small towns. And a great area to raise a family.

  11. Frank

    couldnt agree more.

    Hope Sonny stays for many years more.

    He plays hard and intense and he seems to found home with the reds.