Minnesota Twins bolster starting rotation, acquire Sonny Gray from Cincinnati Reds

The Minnesota Twins took their first significant step toward restocking their starting pitching, acquiring right-hander Sonny Gray in a trade Sunday with the Cincinnati Reds.

The Reds included minor league right-hander Francis Peguero in the deal for Twins pitching prospect Chase Petty, who was Minnesota's first-round draft pick last year.

"We're excited about his future, but the ability to access someone like Sonny Gray, who we think pitches at the top of the rotation for anybody, it's very unique,'' Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said. "We think this is a guy who really establishes an anchor in our rotation, a guy that young players can look up to and someone we think is really going to lead us.''

Gray, 32, a two-time All-Star, went 7-9 with a 4.19 ERA and 155 strikeouts over 135⅓ innings in 26 starts last season, his third with the Reds. Over nine years in the majors with the Oakland Athletics, New York Yankees and Reds, Gray has a career record of 82-72 with a 3.61 ERA. Since 2014, he is tied for eighth among right-handers with 204 starts.

"He's got great stuff,'' Falvey said. "But beyond that, just the way he competes every time he goes on the mound, that just adds a level of pushing him up a notch in a rotation.''

In the final guaranteed season of the deal he signed with the Reds to complete a trade from the Yankees in 2019, Gray will make $10.17 million. The Twins hold a $12 million club option for 2023 that comes without a buyout. Gray was one of the most obvious and valuable trade chips for Cincinnati, coming off an 83-79 season.

Gray will slot right in at the top of Minnesota's rotation, which was ravaged last year by the trade of Jose Berrios and the elbow injury to Kenta Maeda that will keep him out for most or all of 2022. Michael Pineda became a free agent and could re-sign if the price is right.

Otherwise, behind Gray, the Twins have Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan coming off promising rookie seasons, Randy Dobnak recovering from an injury-spoiled 2021 and reclamation project Dylan Bundy, who was signed as a free agent right before the lockout.

The Reds have begun a bit of a reset, having already lost starting pitcher Wade Miley via waivers to the Chicago Cubs and traded catcher Tucker Barnhart.

"It is a loss in the rotation,'' general manager Nick Krall said. "We're going to look to fill that, whether it's internally or externally. We're still looking at the free-agent market. We're still looking at the trade market. We're still trying to run our offseason as we're going into spring training."

Peguero, 24, from the Dominican Republic, was signed as an international free agent by the Reds in 2017. He spent the 2021 season as a reliever for high-A affiliate Dayton, posting a 4.96 ERA in 28 appearances.

Petty, 18, was selected by the Twins with the 26th pick last summer out of Mainland Regional High School in Linwood, New Jersey. The right-hander appeared in two minor league games for the Twins' Rookie League team and had a 5.40 ERA in five innings pitched.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.