FORT MYERS, FLA. — The Twins last summer drafted teenager Chase Petty with the confidence they were acquiring a future Opening Day-caliber starting pitcher.

On Sunday, they moved that timetable way up.

Minnesota filled the gaping hole atop its pitching rotation but paid a steep price to do it, trading Petty to Cincinnati for veteran Sonny Gray, a two-time All-Star who has already started three season openers in his career. The Reds also included Francis Peguero, a 24-year-old Class A righthander, to complete the deal.

"We're excited about [Petty's] future. But the ability to access someone like Sonny Gray, who pitches at the top of the rotation for anybody, it's very unique," Twins President of Baseball Operations Derek Falvey said after refurbishing his team by pulling off his second major trade in two days. "This is a guy who really establishes an anchor in our rotation, a guy young players can look up to, and someone we think is really going to lead us. [His] makeup is off the charts, and the pitcher — what he's accomplished at the major-league level — is among the best in the game."

At his best, that's been true, though the Nashville native and Vanderbilt alum has experienced an up-and-down career. Gray posted ERAs of 2.67, 3.08 and 2.73 from 2013 to '15, his first three seasons after breaking in with the Athletics, and finished third in AL Cy Young voting in 2015. But though he has remained a consistent winner and enjoyed another All-Star season with Cincinnati in 2019, he never has regained that dominant form.

Still, the Twins have had interest in Gray for months, and were ecstatic, Falvey said, that the Reds were willing to reengage about trading the 32-year-old righthander once the lockout ended Thursday.

"Pitchers have some good outcomes, some bad outcomes, sometimes it's even just a bad stretch of time," Falvey said of Gray, who posted a 4.19 ERA for the Reds last season and struck out 155 hitters in 135 innings. "So we looked at really what he's done the last couple of years, and where his stuff is now. We think that's the pitcher he is, for sure."

Falvey said Gray, who was traded to the Yankees in 2017 and the Reds two years later, was caught by surprise by the move — he was preparing to catch a flight to Reds camp in Arizona when the phone rang — but happy to be coming to Minnesota. Like shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa, acquired from Texas on Saturday for catcher Mitch Garver and already in camp a day later, Gray told Falvey he is excited to start this new chapter.

Peguero is considered a potential bullpen option, having struck out 116 and walked only 21 in his four seasons since the Dominican righthander signed with Cincinnati in 2017.

Gray figures to assume the role of No. 1 pitcher in the Twins rotation, with Bailey Ober, Joe Ryan and Dylan Bundy behind him, along with possible contributions from Randy Dobnak or Lewis Thorpe. The Twins are also continuing to explore further trades or free-agent signings to give manager Rocco Baldelli even more options, Falvey said, but "this guy is as big a competitor as you're going to find. He's got great stuff. But beyond that, just the way he competes every time he goes on the mound, that just adds a level."

He's also a relative bargain, particularly for an accomplished starting pitcher. As part of a contract he signed with the Reds in 2019, Gray will earn $10.7 million this year — a base salary of $10 million plus recurring bonuses of $500,000 for finishing seventh in NL Cy Young voting in 2019, and $200,000 for making the All-Star Game that year. He also gets a $1 million bonus, paid by the Twins, for being traded. And the Twins now own an option for 2023 for $12 million, plus whatever performance bonuses he earns (for awards or innings pitched) this season.

That's less than $25 million over two seasons, should the Twins pick up his option, or less than most of baseball's best starting pitchers earn in one year. Of course, they also invested $2.6 million in Petty's bonus last summer, a sum that bought them five innings of pitching over two games against Red Sox rookies on a Fort Myers camp diamond last September, the lone appearances he made as a Twins employee.

Petty was an unusual choice for the Twins, who hadn't drafted a pitcher in the first round in six years, and hadn't used their first pick on a high-school pitcher since 1992. They were convinced to change that pattern by Petty's fastball, which routinely reached 100 mph, and a smooth delivery that overwhelmed high-school hitters — the same traits that compelled the Reds to insist on the teenager in order to relinquish Gray.

"He's done a good job while he was here. He's still growing. He's a good ways away from where he's going to be, just because of how young he is, but I have the utmost confidence he's going to reach his upside," Falvey said of Petty, who was "shocked" when the Twins informed him of the deal. "I'm going to [be a] big fan of his going forward, no question about it. I look forward to watching him over there."