As he prepares to make his official debut for the New York Yankees, newly acquired front-line pitcher Sonny Gray is full of excitement and reflection.
Gray, 27, wrote on The Players’ Tribune about his time with the Oakland Athletics and his journey to the Yankees, who made a deal for him at the MLB trade deadline.
“I was drafted by the A’s in 2011, came up through their minor league system, and then got called up in 2013 — and I’ve been playing for them ever since. As a professional, the Oakland A’s have been my entire baseball life” Gray said.
“Which makes it tough to say goodbye.
I built a lot of great relationships, over these last four years in Oakland, with a lot of great people — from Bob Melvin all the way down throughout the organization.
I’ll always be grateful for the trust that BoMel placed in me, and for the honest way that he treated me, both as a player and as a person. He’s someone who I felt like I could really talk to — about baseball and even beyond baseball, about life.
And at this point I would just consider him a friend. I’d consider a lot of people in Oakland friends — and those friendships are definitely some of the things that you’re going to miss the most, anytime a trade happens.”
Gray went on toe describe the feelings and thoughts he experienced upon learning that he was traded to the Yankees.
“As for me, I couldn’t be happier” Gray expressed.
“One of the baseball teams that really meant something to me growing up was the 2009 Yankees — the World Series winner, with CC and A.J. Burnett at the top of the rotation.
That was the year after I’d graduated high school, and had gotten drafted, but then decided to go to college — and it was right around the age where I was really trying to figure out if baseball was something that I could turn into a career.
And I just remember loving to watch that Yankees team, as they made their run that year, and being so impressed by them, and I guess kind of pumped up about baseball by them — just getting very caught up in it.
And so it’s pretty cool to look back on that time — and now think about how, eight years later, I got traded to the Yankees in the middle of a pennant race.”
Gray spoke about competing in a pennant race and his love for competition.
“The pennant race … that’s something I’m especially excited about. I’m not much for talking about myself — but if there’s one thing I could say as an introduction to Yankee fans, I think it would be this: I’m a competitor. I love to compete” Gray proclaimed.
“And when I get on the mound, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to compete, and I’m going to come at guys. I’m going to challenge guys, straight-up — with my best stuff against their best stuff.
And sometimes it’s going to work out, and sometimes it isn’t. But I think that’s just how my mentality is, especially being on the smaller side. It’s just how I was raised to play. And I think that’s what you can expect me to bring to New York. Both on my good and on my bad days — I’m going to compete all the same” Gray said.
Gray will make his first start for the Yankees on Thursday night
“Tonight’s my first start as a Yankee, and I’ve gotta say — I’m looking forward to it” Gray stated.
“The guys have been awesome since I arrived, and have welcomed me with open arms. And I know, just from having played against them earlier in the season, that I’m joining what’s a really good team to begin with: with a deep and talented pitching staff, and a deadly lineup that has no breaks in it.
This is a tough, tough group. So I’m just coming here to play my part.
But I’m excited — and I’ll be ready.”