While it’s fun to think about the Cubs adding another front-line starter, the rumors of them continuing their pursuit of Sonny Gray were likely exaggerated. Patrick Mooney said those reports were probably meant to help drive up the price for the A’s starter and Peter Gammons wrote that the Cubs preferred Jose Quintana’s stability.
That price for Gray doesn’t seem to be coming down, either. With the Brewers, among others, rumored to have been in the hunt for the former White Sox ace, seeing him go to their division rival no doubt lit a fire under their collective rear end. The Astros, currently cruising to an easy division win, would also like to add impact pitching for a playoff run.
As USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports, these two teams are the favorites to land Gray by the deadline. The Brewers, however, might not have the appetite for speeding up their rebuild just yet.
“The Brewers still have to exercise caution, not thwarting their rebuild efforts because of their 4 ½-game lead over the Cubs,” Nightengale wrote. “If they didn’t believe that the cost of Quintana was worth surrendering their elite prospects, would they give up three of their top 20 like Brett Phillips, Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes for Gray?”
A fair question, to be sure, but Milwaukee could be pressed into action as they hear the Cubs’ footsteps behind them. Having Gray under control for the next two years would help them to compete in the future as well.
But the Astros are already further along in their development, much like the Cubs were last year. They’d likely be more inclined to add what they see as the final piece to a championship team. Based on “an informal survey of Major League Baseball executives and personnel,” Nightengale predicts that Gray will end up in Houston.
I wouldn’t count out the Yankees either, what with the recent loss of Michael Pineda to a UCL tear. They’ve got the prospects to do it and could really use the help in the rotation.
And with the Tigers and Rays unwilling to part with Michael Fulmer or Chris Archer, respectively, there’s really only one name at the top of everyone’s shopping list. Even with his inconsistent health and performance, Gray is a potential difference-maker, so keeping him in the AL is the ideal outcome for the Cubs.
There are sure to be other big moves as July draws to a close, but this is the biggest domino out there, particularly where the Cubs are concerned. Stay tuned.