The MLB trade deadline is just over two weeks away, and the Oakland A’s hold one of the most coveted prizes in pitcher Sonny Gray. The first big deal of the summer was completed on Thursday between the White Sox and Cubs, so let’s see what that means for Sonny’s market.
As a refresher, here’s more on which teams might be in on Sonny and what kind of return we hope the A’s might fetch.
Cubs acquire Quintana
The starting pitching market began to take shape this week, as the Cubs struck early to acquire Jose Quintana from the White Sox.
Quintana is somewhat comparable to Sonny overall — he’s never been as high-profile as Sonny was in 2015, but never as bad as Sonny was in 2016 either. Instead, he’s shown the health and consistency that Sonny has lacked, with four straight seasons of 200+ good innings and a fifth currently in the works. Quintana also has an extra year of team control and the bonus of being a lefty, while Sonny is a year younger, is having a slightly better 2017, and has a big playoff performance on his resume from 2013. The full deal:
- LHP Jose Quintana (avg. 4.5 WAR from 2013-16)
White Sox receive (prospects):
- OF Eloy Jimenez (Top 10 overall)
- RHP Dylan Cease (Top 100 overall)
- IF Bryant Flete
- 1B Matt Rose
That’s two Top 100 prospects, one of them in the Top 10. This is the kind of deal we here at Athletics Nation hope Oakland will get if they choose to deal Gray, and in fact Nico alluded to a Jimenez/Cease combo in his writeup (linked above). It’s nice to know that this is indeed where the market has started — whatever extra value Quintana had over Sonny, the latter could well match (or even exceed) now that he has less top-shelf competition (if any) remaining on the market.
a's in good spot with gray, only top SP on market now. besides gray, upper tier SP market is mostly maybes: cole, teheran, yu, hamels, lynn— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 14, 2017
Even better, the Quintana deal might not even have removed a suitor from the chase, because ...
The Cubs are still in on Sonny
The Cubs are “continuing to show interest in Sonny Gray, even after Jose Quintana trade,” via insiders Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal. They note that there is still room in Chicago’s 2018 rotation, given potential free agent losses like Jake Arrieta and John Lackey, so another big acquisition would make sense both now and beyond.
Leaving aside real-life availability and just speculating on what the Cubs might have left to offer, they’ve got one remaining Top 100 prospect (infielder Jeimer Candelario) as well as a couple of young outfielders who have already reached MLB (Ian Happ and Albert Almora).
But plenty of other teams want pitching too
Some of the other clubs who were in on Quintana:
- Astros (via Morosi)
- Braves (via Bob Nightengale, USA Today)
None of those names come as a surprise, as they have all been rumored to be looking for pitching help. And of course, their interest in Quintana doesn’t necessarily mean they want Sonny. But if you’re looking for likely destinations, that list is a good place to start.
Furthermore, Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle noted a few more teams who had scouts at Sonny’s start Friday, in addition to the aforementioned Astros and Yankees:
- Red Sox
- Blue Jays
Yankees lose Pineda
Michael Pineda has a partially torn UCL and might need Tommy John surgery, reports Jack Curry of YES. The Yankees were on the list of buyers even before this loss, and now they have even less pitching.
Sonny is on the mound as I post this, looking good once more. This story will continue to develop over the coming days, as the A’s yet again find themselves as major players in the trade deadline.