It's not you, it's me.
The aftermath of the Sonny Gray and New York Yankees breakup revealed the right-hander has no explanation for what went wrong in New York. Whatever it was about the Bronx that made Gray pitch like a ghost of himself, rather than Oakland's All-Star ground-ball pitcher, served as a point of self-reflection for the 29-year-old.
"That's the question, isn't it?" Gray told reporters during a conference call on Tuesday when asked what went wrong. "I'm not going to lie. I felt comfortable taking the mound. I felt good. It just didn't work out. I don't know. I don't have an answer."
Yankees fans may not like to hear this, but Gray has the outlook of being an exponentially better pitcher after settling down in Cincinnati. His home and road splits from last season display sharper results when he stepped out of New York. Compare a 6.98 ERA in 15 appearances (11 starts) at home to a 3.17 ERA in 15 ERA appearances (12 starts) on the road.
The difference is glaring. And Gray is not one to sweep his problems under the carpet.
"It's no secret [last] year didn't go as good for me as you would like," Gray said on Tuesday's call. "But at the end of the day, I showed up every day and was ready to put in the work."
GM Brian Cashman made it clear it was his intention to trade Gray shortly after the Yankees' season ended in October, but after CC Sabathia had a heart procedure, Cashman put those talks on hold.
Yet, the whole process up until the completion of the trade still was a whirlwind for Gray.
"It was nuts," he said on MLB Network. "I'm not going to lie, it was crazy. ... Cash was very transparent with me throughout the process ... which was nice on his part and all I could ask for."
The Yankees picked up Gray from the A's on the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline in 2017. They gave up James Kaprielian and Jorge Mateo (both of whom were featured on Baseball Prospectus' Top 101 Prospects list of '17) and Dustin Fowler. The Bronx Bombers were all in on Gray. He was supposed to be something akin to what Justin Verlander was for the Astros -- a final piece of a championship puzzle, SNY's John Harper notes. So the loss of Gray might sting, but it will ache even more when Gray takes everything he learned from sitting on New York's sidelines to Cincinnati's spotlight.
"I honestly think you can go through some hardships at times and come out the other end better than you ever were," Gray said on Tuesday. "That's honestly how I feel. I learned a lot [last] year. … Unfortunately, I got to sit and watch a little more than I would have liked. I got to learn a lot, not only about baseball, but about myself and about what makes me tick."
The right-hander's one-plus year journey with the Yankees featured more downs than ups from which for Gray to learn. Gray went 4-7 on a 3.72 ERA with 59 strikeouts and 27 walks over 11 starts in 2017. The right-hander began the 2018 season 10-11 on a 5.56 ERA, and after no signs of improvement, despite consistent hard work, he was demoted to the bullpen in early August.
Through his comments on Tuesday, Gray proved he's learned from his mistakes. He acknowledged his failure with the Yankees, answered New York media's tough questions with poised and genuine responses, put in the work to improve for next season and moved forward with his new-found wisdom to sign a three-year, $30.5 million contract extension with the Reds.
"We really didn't see anything that was diminishing in terms of the velocity and spin rates and things like that," Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams said of Gray on the call. "From a physical standpoint, everything appears to be there. We think he's still -- at his age -- got plenty of upside. He shouldn't have any problem recapturing where he was."
If all Gray needs is new scenery and a fresh start, flashes of the former 2015 All-Star pitcher may again resurface in Cincinnati. He finished that season going 14-7 on a 2.73 ERA with 169 strikeouts, while pitching three complete games and two shutouts -- the highest of any American League pitcher in '15. Gray ranked third in AL Cy Young Award voting for that terrific season. He has the potential to pitch like he once did and starting again in a new city might just do the trick.
We may never know what went wrong in the Bronx. But we can revel in the fact that an always-authentic Gray is getting another shot to show us what he's got.