Billy Beane's Decision to Deal Sonny Gray an Unusual One

And with barely an hour to spare and to the surprise of few, Sonny Gray has found his future in New York City.

Gray has been de-Athleticized as expected, arguably the most attractive get of Deadline Day and a piece who can help consolidate the Yankees' rotation not only for the rest of this season but for 2018 and 2019. Between him and Jaime Garcia, whom they lifted days ago, the Yankees now have reloaded a jittery pitching staff that could conceivably remain in place until decade's end.

And the A's haul? Need you ask? Prospects, more prospects. Outfielder Dustin Fowler, pitcher James Kaprielian and shortstop Jorge Mateo, to be specific, all go to Oakland for Gray, and the A's even throw in $1.5 million in international bonus pool money.

No A's fan will be surprised or enthused by this deal unless they are (a) the truest of true believers or (b) baseball fans who love players until they stop being prospects. But being used to and prepared for the A's M.O. has become the fan base's default position, as Billy Beane has done this routinely for years.

Gray is unusual because he was moved while under team control for another two years, which is why the Yankees coveted him so assiduously. Most general managers love controllable pitchers (the other notable example of that this year was Jose Quintana, who went from the moribund Chicago White Sox to the surging Cubs).

Moreover, the best Yankee prospects (most notably Clint Frazier) were not part of this deal, so the Yankees came away intact.

And the payoff for the A's will be deferred while Kaprielian and Fowler recover from injuries, while Mateo was just promoted to AA. In other words, this was not one of Beane's longer home runs at first glance, but nobody really expects those when Beane is in a seller's frame of mind.

Which, frankly, is more often than either he or his constituents want to experience. But as long as the A's plant their flag on the shifting sands of prospects rather than tried-and-true major leaguers, they will remain as they have been – donors, rather than receptors.

But hey, at least they moved Adam Rosales again, so happy days all around.

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