After getting Jose Quintana from the White Sox, Theo Epstein and Co. do not seem to be done making moves. The talks are they want to continue to revamp the starting pitching staff that sports a 4.69 ERA which is 8th highest in the National League. Getting Quintana was a big step and the next one is getting Kyle Hendricks back which is set to be soon, but will other trades me made?
It was reported by Jon Morosi that the Cubs were still interested in Athletics pitcher Sonny Gray even after making the Quintana deal. Gray has been a name linked to the Cubs for a while as another young pitcher that has experience. Gray (27) in 14 starts this year has a 3.72 ERA, 3.47 FIP, 1.16 WHIP, 79 Ks and 26 walks in 84.2 innings. Seems like a good fit but is it possible?
Since the Cubs traded Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease to the southside, they no longer have top-100 prospects in the farm system so keep that in mind. It would seem like the notable prospects to trade would be Jeimer Candilario, Mark Zagunis, Oscar De La Cruz or maybe Trevor Clifton, those right there are the top prospects left in the Cubs farm. There would also be a strong possibility that Oakland would at least ask about or even want some of the MLB talent on the Cubs like a Russell, Schwarber, Almora or Happ.
The Cubs are obviously so high on Schwarber that trading him seems very unlikely and it is hard to see him or Happ go. Russell or Almora may be more likely. The centerfield future is a bit unclear and Almora does not get the consistent playing time of the other young players despite making a lot of positive contributions the team. With Javy Baez being another loved asset by Theo and co. it could be more tempting to trade Russell and go with Baez and Happ up the middle in the future, not saying that is certain but it would not be surprising.
Also keep in mind there are other teams on Sonny Gray. The rival first place Brewers are reportedly in the mix especially after losing out on Jose Quintana and they have plenty of young assets both on the team and in the farm. Other teams seemingly interested in him include the Yankees who have lots of assets, the Jays, Red Sox and Astros as well looking for another starter also may make a run at him. With Quintana off the market he is probably the next biggest target on teams during the final stretch to the deadline.
It seems like Theo has gotten to the point where he knows this team is build to win now and that trades of farm assets have to be made to maintain contention. The Cubs rotation in 2016 vs what it will be next season will be almost all different outside Lester and Hendricks and good pitching is essential to success. If a good deal comes along, Theo may do it, but with these other teams in the mix he may either lose out or at least have driven up the price for rival teams like Milwaukee. I think the chances of getting him are not great but possible.