Athletics' Melvin hoping team will keep Sonny GraytheScore — Simon Sharkey-Gotlieb
Presumably, Bob Melvin - now in his seventh season managing the Athletics - knows the law of the land in Oakland: draft, develop, become a star, then get dealt away for the next wave before the price goes up.
But that isn't stopping Melvin from trying to influence his front office when it comes to Sonny Gray.
The 55-year-old skipper has been impressed by what he's seen from Gray in his return from injury this season. With the deadline approaching and the rebuilding A's already out of contention, Gray's name has begun surfacing in trade rumors yet again - much to Melvin's dismay, who wants this version of Gray to stay put in the East Bay no matter what.
"I hope we don't have an intent on trading Sonny Gray, because his stuff is back, and he's healthy again, and like (general manager) David (Forst) said, he's a guy that pitches at the top of the rotation, that everybody feels great about," Melvin told MLB Network Radio on Monday.
Gray finished third in AL Cy Young voting in 2015, two years after he emerged as the A's newest homegrown ace with a dominant, but ultimately futile performance in the playoffs. But his rise was derailed by injuries last year, and he made just 22 starts while posting career worsts in every statistical category.
This year, the Vanderbilt product got a late start, and spent all of April on the disabled list with a back ailment. While his ERA and WHIP remain a bit inflated, Gray's striking out batters at his highest rate (9.1 Ks per nine innings) since his abbreviated rookie season; in addition, the velocity on both his fastball and slider have returned to normal.
The front-running Houston Astros would reportedly like to make a deal for Gray this summer, and the feeling in Oakland is apparently mutual. The rumors will get louder into July, especially if Gray continues to perform - and Melvin knows he may not be able to stop the inevitable if and when it happens.
"Anybody can write an article and speculate that Sonny Gray's going to be traded," Melvin said. "That's just the way it is now, and you just have to put blinders on to that, and go out and do your thing."
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