Sonny Gray understands his name continues to come up in trade discussions, but he isn’t letting that distract him.
Gray, a 2015 All-Star and 2011 first-round selection, has spent all five of his major-league seasons in Oakland. But the righthanded starting pitcher has been connected to trade rumors among playoff contenders, including the Cubs, Astros and Yankees, as the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline approaches.
“I think it can be as easy as you want it to be or as hard as you want it to be,” said Gray, 27, who is 6-4 with a 3.66 ERA through 15 starts. “It hasn’t been bad for me. I’m just getting out there, ready to pitch. On my day to pitch, I’m ready and that’s kind of it.”
If it has been a distraction, Gray is handling it well. He’s posted a 4-1 record with a 1.62 ERA and 0.72 WHIP with 27 strikeouts in 33 1⁄3 innings over his last five starts.
“Every year the trade talks get more and more so you have to find a way to try not to focus your attention on that and just go out there and pitch,” Athletics manager Bob Melvin said. “He’s been around for a little while — so it’s not like he’s a rookie and having to deal with this — but it doesn’t look like at this point the distractions have been bothering him because he’s been pitching as well as he has in a couple of years at this point.”
While Gray said he hasn’t imagined himself as a member of the Yankees or any other team, he does have a certain fondness for New York. Gray’s an avid fan of Broadway — he saw Book of Mormon with Oakland catcher Josh Phegley during their off day — and has visited New York for his birthday with his wife to see a show.
“I’m just a huge fan of just Broadway shows and musicals in general,” Gray said. “I went to high school and grew up in theater classes. It’s interesting.”
Both Gray and Athletics first baseman Yonder Alonso recently have been connected to trade rumors involving the Yankees, who already have completed a major trade this week by strengthening their bullpen with David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle and acquiring third baseman Todd Frazier, who also can play first base.
Melvin, who spent 10 years as a player in the majors, said he hasn’t discussed the trade rumors with Gray that much.
“We joke about it a little bit but I don’t think it’s something I need to sit down and talk to him about,” Melvin said. “It’s just a part of the time of the year and when you’re good, people want you.”
Gray continues to focus on what made him a wanted pitcher — looking one start ahead — instead of a possible relocation.
“If that comes then I’ll have to address that and think of that when it comes but as of now, it hasn’t,” he said. “So there’s no reason for me to spend any time or energy because no one really knows what’s going on except for a few people. No one knows, so we’ll see.”