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CC's health may affect timetable for Gray deal

MLB.com @BryanHoch

NEW YORK -- The Yankees have made no secret of their desire to trade Sonny Gray, but with CC Sabathia having endured a recent health scare, general manager Brian Cashman said on Friday that it is possible the club could delay making that move until Spring Training or the regular season.

"Our intention is to move Sonny Gray and relocate him when we get the proper return, in our estimation," Cashman said. "It'll happen this winter, it'll happen in the spring or it'll happen sometime during the season. The CC circumstance certainly has given us pause, because we want to make sure that we're covered and protected."

NEW YORK -- The Yankees have made no secret of their desire to trade Sonny Gray, but with CC Sabathia having endured a recent health scare, general manager Brian Cashman said on Friday that it is possible the club could delay making that move until Spring Training or the regular season.

"Our intention is to move Sonny Gray and relocate him when we get the proper return, in our estimation," Cashman said. "It'll happen this winter, it'll happen in the spring or it'll happen sometime during the season. The CC circumstance certainly has given us pause, because we want to make sure that we're covered and protected."

Sabathia had a stent inserted on Dec. 11 after a blockage was found in an artery leading to the hurler's heart. While the Yankees have said that they expect the 38-year-old Sabathia to report to Spring Training on time, Cashman has slowed negotiations concerning Gray until Sabathia clears an array of follow-up visits scheduled for this month.

"I think we are optimistic that the pending medical evaluations that he'll have here in January are going to be fruitful and beneficial and positive," Cashman said. "We're thankful for CC responding or reacting to the complaints he was having in such an intelligent way to make sure he got the care necessary, so there were no serious consequences."

Video: Gray involved in recent trade rumors this offseason

As currently constructed, the Yankees' rotation projects to feature Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, J.A. Happ and Sabathia, in some order. Should Sabathia be unavailable for the beginning of the regular season, Gray could be pressed into duty, an outcome that seemed unlikely a few weeks ago.

"The CC thing, when it developed, it slowed down my conversations because we had to see how this played out first," Cashman said. "Once he has these follow-up appointments, I'll be in a much better position to fully engage moving forward on the Sonny Gray conversations we've had, or continue to slow-walk it while we make sure that CC is taken care of health-wise."

The 29-year-old Gray was 11-9 with a 4.90 ERA in 30 games (23 starts) for New York in 2018, and is 15-16 with a 4.51 ERA since his acquisition from the A's in July 2017.

Cashman candidly said in October that he intended to trade Gray, who is eligible for free agency after 2019, believing that his performance would improve in another uniform.

Free-agent rumors

"I'm not pounding on Sonny Gray," Cashman said. "I'm just answering everybody's questions in the media, but sometimes people take it as a perceived [slight] that I'm piling on. No, I've been fully transparent with Sonny first and foremost, and with members of the media so they can communicate properly to our fan base."

Eleven teams are believed to have checked in on Gray, with a variety of packages involving Major and Minor League players having been fielded by the Yankees. A three-team trade involving the Braves and Rangers was explored, and the Yankees targeted several of the Reds' top prospects, including outfielder Taylor Trammell. The Brewers and Padres are also known to have interest.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

New York Yankees, Sonny Gray, CC Sabathia