Perhaps, like me, you watched the Reds-Yankees trade talks regarding Sonny Gray develop with the same degree of attention you fix upon a television murmuring in a doctor’s waiting room. “What are you doing, Cincy?” you might have thought to yourself while searching for a magazine that’s not three months out of date. But wherever there are jump ropes in the air performing their intricate dance, Jerry Dipoto hovers nearby, eager to enter the fray.
The Sonny Gray deal may turn out to be a three-way trade, league sources tell ESPN. Seattle is sending center field prospect Josh Stowers to the Yankees, sources said, and Shed Long is expected to go to the Mariners.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 21, 2019
Shed Long is a 2B, and the Yankees have a logjam in the infield at virtually every level of the minors. What the Yankees really could use is an athletic center fielder who isn’t yet in the upper minors. The one area the Mariners seem to have some depth at in the minors is the outfield. The Mariners need infield prospects badly. Long also needs to be added to the 40-man, while Stowers doesn’t, and while the Mariners can easily find a slot for Long, the Yankees can not. So in retrospect, it isn’t an entirely surprising turn of events that the Mariners would get involved.
Shedric Bernard Long was a 2013 12th-round pick by the Reds who was originally a catcher and still maintains a fairly short (5’8”) but stout physique. He’s a bat-first 2B who doesn’t draw high marks for his athleticism at the keystone but has the offensive profile to make up for any defensive shortcomings. After a slow start to his pro career, the 23-year-old has started figuring things out at the plate over the past few seasons. He struggled initially when promoted to Double-A in 2017, but posted a wRC+ of 120 at the level this year. Long possesses solid plate discipline and will take his walks, but is also able to generate a surprising amount of power from the left side for his size; he posted an ISO of .231 before getting moved up from High-A, and .150 in Double-A this season in a park that ranks towards the bottom for hitter-friendly parks in the Southern League and especially suppresses lefty power).
Long was considered a top-10 prospect in the Reds organization by most sites and will reprise that role for Seattle, replacing Stowers. We at the site are very fond of Stowers and dad Clarence and will miss them both. Luckily, Shed Long comes with his own adorable dad, Shed Sr.
. @BlueWahoosBBall infielder Shed Long (@SLONG895) with a solo homer tonight against the Biscuits. His dad- Shed Sr. - was standing right beside me when it happened and gave a quick fist pump! @SLONG895 is a Jacksonville High School product! @MiLB pic.twitter.com/b8JsfsngcF— Stephen Gunter (@Stephen_Gunter) July 5, 2018
To make room for Long on the 40-man, the Mariners DFA’d Kaleb Cowart, because they are Kaleb Cowarts denying us the opportunity to witness our own two-way sensation. Seriously, though, ideally Cowart passes through waivers and the Mariners can add him back to help fill out a fairly thin bullpen corps.