When Sonny Gray was scratched from tonight’s start for the Sacramento River Cats, it was clear something was up. Either a trade was going down, and Gray was involved or being called up to replace someone who was, or perhaps the intensifying Biogenesis investigation was about to come to a head, and Gray was going to replace a suspended Bartolo Colon, or what actually appears to be the case, Gray is simply getting the call so the A’s can see what they have with him. In the second major call up in as many days, the Athletics officially announced that Sonny Gray would be joining the team in Pittsburgh tomorrow for the series finale, and Dan Straily was being sent down to make room for him.
For the Athletics, Sonny Gray may prove to be a vital piece of the puzzle as the team pushes its way towards the postseason. With the aforementioned investigation by MLB on the Biogenesis clinic and their clients, and the threat of 100 game suspensions hanging over everyone’s head, the Athletics’ best starter this year could vanish into thin air. Without Bartolo Colon, the A’s could find themselves in deep trouble. While the expectation that Gray would be able to step into the rotation and give the A’s the same quality innings Colon has is unrealistic, the hope would be that he would have shaken off any nerves about pitching in the big leagues by the time any suspension of Colon was handed down.
It’s unfortunate that Dan Straily was the roster casualty here because he’s had two really good starts in a row since being brought back from Triple A. Meanwhile Tommy Milone has been struggling all season with the longball, and a rotation that featured Straily in a more solidified role might be better than the current one. The demotion for Straily does not reflect upon his performance, as he really seems to have turned a corner and is trusting his own ability. He’ll be back shortly after the All Star Break.
The success of this team has been its ability to weather the storm of any adversity that has come its way. Injuries always come up, and key players are on the shelf for an extended period of time. The A’s have been prepared for such instances and have emerged on the other side a better team for it. The promotion of Sonny Gray is an extension of that strategy, the A’s know there is a chance Bartolo Colon could be taken away from them, and preparing the young Gray to step into his shoes shows the brilliance Billy Beane has shown us all in 2013.