The big addition this offseason, Sonny Gray, is going to be judged by his performance on the field at the end of the day. While he continues to remain undervalued by many with the kind of production he's going to provide, I think Cardinals fans are going to fall in love with his personality the more they get to know him.
Gray walked into the room with his son Gunnar, instantly stealing the show with their debates around a baseball card trade that his father was trying to convince him to make. Sonny is a family man, one of the driving factors to his choice to come to St. Louis. But don't mistake that family-first mentality for a guy who won't lead this club when it matters most.
Gray is a bulldog, a true competitor at heart. James Naile talked about the way Gray trains and prepares during their offseason workouts. He's the kind of guy who wants to win at everything, doesn't cut corners, and does whatever it takes to be the best that he can possibly be. One of the narratives around this team going into the offseason was filling the clubhouse with guys who are team-first with winning on their minds, and Gray certainly fits that profile as the new leader of the rotation.
One of the nuggets I found most interesting from our conversation with Gray was his dialogue with John Mozeliak when considering St. Louis. Gray was appreciative of Mozeliak's willingness to listen to him, ask him follow-up questions, and learn from Gray's experiences. Gray indicated that Mozeliak made some hires or changes based on things Gray asked about that the club did not have in place, showing both a level of leadership as well as progressive thinking that the club has been open to needing more of.
Gray's desire to continue to learn and grow as a player, his fiery personality that strives to be the best player on the field, and his leadership in that clubhouse have me excited to see him lead this Cardinals' staff this coming season.