Sonny Gray, Twins Appear Destined for Divorce
The Minnesota Twins jumped out to an early 4-1 lead on Thursday night vs the Detroit Tigers but when the final out was recorded in the 9th inning, they left Target Field as 8-4 losers. Cy Young candidate, Sonny Gray, started on the mound but only lasted 4 innings (76 pitches) after getting a surprisingly early hook that sparked controversy.
Gray was struggling to throw strikes, especially in the 4th inning, when he threw 35 pitches and surrendered 3 of his 4 walks. Still, the veteran worked out of it and only gave up one run. Thus, he expected to take the mound again in the bottom of the 5th.
Sonny Gray, Rocco Baldelli dance in Twins dugout.
Instead, manager Rocco Baldelli approached Sonny in the dugout and ended his outing. As expected, the Twins’ #1 pitcher was not happy. He grabbed his hat and glove and tried to head for the clubhouse. Rocco wasn’t having that and danced back and forth a few times in order to block Gray from leaving the conversation.
After the loss, Rocco and Gray’s dugout discussion was top of the media’s mind. There was no postgame hostility nor was there any finger-pointing from either party. Gray knew why he was dismissed but clearly wants more trust from the coaching staff going forward, on nights when he doesn’t have his best stuff and is forced to fight through difficult innings.
Meanwhile, Baldelli shined a positive light on Gray’s unwillingness to give up the ball, reminding reporters that he wants that type of attitude from every pitcher on his staff. That it’s his job to make difficult decisions in heated moments. But the pitchers should always want to be on the mound.
Twins + Gray heading for a split
And let me be clear, I do not foresee any schisms or locker room divides stemming from last night’s exchange between Rocco Baldelli and Sonny Gray. I expect Sonny to come out firing bullets during his next start and Rocco to make future pitching decisions based on each individual performance.
What’s becoming obvious, however, is that Sonny Gray won’t be in a Minnesota Twins uniform next season. He’s in the final year of his contract and has never seen eye to eye with Rocco & Co on starter/bullpen management.
Judd Zulgad (SKOR North) posted a short video to Twitter on Friday, discussing an imminent divorce between the Twins and Gray. His colleague and local insider Darren Wolfson (KSTP, SKOR North) jumped into the replies and confirmed that the Twins’ front office has not had any extension talks with Gray or his agent. Doogie expects the Twins to submit a qualifying offer when the season is over “and go from there”.
Love me some Judd! With zero extension talks, always has trended this way. Extend the QO, go from there.— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) June 16, 2023
While this isn’t shocking news, given the type differences Sonny Gray and the Minnesota Twins have had in the past, But still, losing your best starter to free agency won’t make your team better. And where would the Twins be without Gray and the rest of their starting rotation this year? In trouble.
Hopefully something changes in the months to come, but as of now, these two sides appear on track for certain divorce.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan