Still reeling from the impact and utter shock of the Jose Quintana trade, Friday brought a little more information on yet another arm long rumored to be a Cubs target.
Sources: #Cubs continuing to show interest in Sonny Gray, even after Jose Quintana trade. One reason: Vacancy still remains in '18 rotation.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 14, 2017
This is interesting on several levels, not the least of which is the potential for the Cubs to drastically overhaul their starting rotation. But it’s a little curious that they’d make a move for a pitcher who Jon Morosi earlier reported would command a high offer. Especially when that pitcher doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to consistent health and performance.
Then again, Sonny Gray won’t turn 28 until the end of the season and even with arbitration increases to his current $3.575 million salary over the next two seasons, he’s a bargain. Think about it: two top-3 starters earning $20 million combined (at the most) in 2018 and 2019. That, my friends, would be nice.
Trouble is, the Cubs really went big on Quintana and might not have the juice left to pry Gray loose from Oakland. Which brings up the idea of how serious they really are about this whole thing.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 14, 2017
While Jeimer Candelario presents some nice value to a team in need of a corner infielder, the Cubs probably can’t cobble together a prospect-only deal for another pitcher. I mean, if all it took was a few non-top-100 guys, you’d have to figure they’d have wrapped this all up by now. That means probably having to part with someone from the 25-man roster, which has been a sticking point thus far.
In writing up the Quintana trade, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale included this little tidbit regarding talks between the Cubs and Tigers.
Cubs president Theo Epstein was determined to find a young, controllable pitcher, who can not only help them down this pennant stretch, but also the next few years. They recently tried to pry All-Star Michael Fulmer away from the Detroit Tigers, but the Tigers had no interest, unless they perhaps were willing to trade infielders Javy Baez and Ian Happ.
That makes sense from both sides, as Fulmer is a second-year pitcher with a great career outlook and moving Happ and Baez would signal that the Cubs were effectively punting on the season. But what if a Gray trade required only one of those two, maybe with Albert Almora Jr. in the mix as well?
Should be fun to follow all of this over the next couple weeks.