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Top five landing spots in free agency for Sonny Gray

Sonny Gray is entering free agency off the back of one of the finest seasons of his career, and could be in line for a big payday in free agency.

Sonny Gray of the Minnesota Twins pitches in the third inning during Game Three of the Division Series against the Houston Astros at Target Field on October 10, 2023 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

While Sonny Gray has played for four different teams over his 11-year MLB career, this offseason will be the 34-year-old’s first foray into free agency. Luckily for him, it should be a fruitful one, as he’s coming off a Cy Young-finalist season where he had a 2.79 ERA in 184 innings for the Twins. Now that he’s finally hitting the market, though, where might he end up?

Sonny Gray free agent landing spots

5. Minnesota Twins

Gray to the Twins seems like a no-brainer in a vacuum, but extenuating circumstance will make a reunion harder — as the team has already announced they expect to have a lower payroll in 2024. Gray had a 2.90 ERA in his two seasons with Minnesota and would immediately slot back into their rotation as, at worst, the No. 2 arm behind Pablo Lopez, but I can’t see the Twins being able to stay in the game financially.

4. New York Mets

Gray had two disastrous seasons in the Bronx with the Yankees, so it’s only right that he tries his luck in another borough. The Mets ditched Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer mid-season last year and are now looking for another quality arm to put behind Kodai Senga, which is where Gray would come in. Steve Cohen has already proven he’ll spend whatever’s necessary to win, but Gray would likely be a backup plan if the Mets can’t land one of the top-tier starters on the market.

3. Chicago Cubs

The Cubs got their manager in Craig Counsell, now they just need an ace to pair with him. Justin Steele (3.06 ERA) was a breakout star in 2023, but after him their rotation leaves a lot to be desired (and they just lost Marcus Stroman to free agency). Plus, Gray could serve as an innings-eater, which will allow Counsell to put less stress on relatively thin and inexperienced bullpen.

2. St. Louis Cardinals

While Gray makes sense for the Cubs, he might make even more sense for their main National League Central rival. St. Louis wants to put its 71-win season from 2023 in the rearview mirror, and there’s no better way to do that than by acquiring an ace who‘ll immediately become the top arm on this staff. Last season Miles Mikolas was the lone Cardinal to throw for than 130 innings, something Gray’s done in four of the last five 162-game seasons, and GM John Mozeliak has already said he plans on landing not just one but multiple starters.

1. Philadelphia Phillies

If the Phillies miss out on resigning ace Aaron Nola, then I think Gray becomes their top target. While he’s not the same kind of innings-eater as Nola — he has a 3.22 ERA in 670.1 innings since 2019; Nola has a 3.97 ERA in 853 innings — he’s an above-average pitcher who does a great job at limiting the longball. Gray won’t last long on the market once things start to heat up.