Sonny Gray was honored as one of the top three pitchers in the American League this season, named a Cy Young Award finalist on Monday for the second time in his career.
Thirty members of the Baseball Writers Association of America voted on the award — two from each AL market — before the postseason began, and the winner will be announced on MLB Network during a show that begins at 5 p.m. CST on Nov. 15.
Toronto starter Kevin Gausman and New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole, the front-runner for the award, were also named finalists.
Gray, whom the Twins extended a qualifying offer to on Monday, was recognized for a season in which he did not miss a start, posting a 2.79 earned-run average across 184 innings. The starter was remarkably consistent, limiting opponents to three or fewer runs in all but three games.
He finished with a 5.3 bWAR (Wins Above Replacement per Baseball Reference) and was named the Twins’ Most Valuable Player. Gray is the first Twins pitcher since Kenta Maeda was the Cy Young runner up in 2020 to be named a finalist. The last Twin to win the award was Johan Santana in 2006.
The starter now looks ticketed for free agency, though the Twins have extended him the qualifying offer — a one-year deal worth $20.325 million for the 2024 season. Gray has until Nov. 14 to decide whether to accept or reject the deal. He is widely expected to decline the offer to seek a multi-year deal and test the waters of free agency, something that he has not yet done in his career.
Should Gray reject the qualifying offer, the Twins would be entitled to compensation in the form of a draft pick. If Gray’s new deal is worth more than $50 million, as expected, the Twins would receive an extra pick after the first round. If he inked a contract for less than $50 million, the Twins would receive a pick after the competitive balance round B (before the third round).
While Gray has expressed a desire to test free agency, president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said last month they would continue to have dialogue about a potential return.
“We have a ton of respect for him, for his agent and ultimately we’ll stay in contact with him. That process needs to play out to some degree. I’m really proud of what he accomplished over the last couple of years for us,” Falvey said last month. “I’m sure he’s going to be respected through this process by a whole host of clubs.”