Yesterday morning, we were all pleasantly surprised to see the Cubs finally make the move for a young, cost-controlled starting pitcher that they’ve been teasing for a couple of years now.
Jose Quintana in this case, and there was much rejoicing.
It cost the team a pretty penny – the Cubs’ top two prospects, by most rankings – but the early reviews (including one from yours truly right here in this parenthetical) are calling it a win for both sides. After all, the Cubs needed help in the rotation immediately and then again after this season ends (John Lackey and Jake Arrieta will presumably leave via free agency).
But even if you’re penciling Mike Montgomery in for 32 starts next season – which is far from a guarantee at this point – the Cubs are still staring at a massive hole at the back of the rotation. Now, we always assumed, as Theo Epstein has suggested, that the team would add one starter at the trade deadline (check), and another via free agency this winter. But maybe that’s not exactly true. Maybe you need to get the starters you want when they’re available and worry about everything else later. Why do I say this?
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
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 14, 2017
Both Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal are reporting that the Cubs have continued to show interest in A’s starter Sonny Gray, even after completing a trade for Jose Quintana just one day ago. No one would argue the fact that this rotation could use Gray both now and in the future (and the Cubs have been connected to Gray for a couple of years now), but I don’t think any one reasonably expected the Cubs to keep their interest after their move yesterday. Yet here we are.
Real smoke sourced by some serious baseball writers.
The skeptics among you would be right to point out that the Milwaukee Brewers (who’d also had interest in Quintana before yesterday), were connected to Gray as recently as July 7. The Cubs’ interest, then, could be seen as an attempt to keep that price as high as possible.
On the other hand, this is a Cubs team that should be destined for the playoffs, both this season and for at least 3-4 more years to come, given their core group of players. Query whether they have the pieces to pull something like this off, but if they manage to make it work without hurting the Major League roster too much, this could be a really exciting move.
Let’s see what comes this month …
Oh, and for what’s it’s worth, the Cubs were previously connected to Sonny Gray earlier this summer, and at least one, two, three, and four more times since then. It sure seems like there could be something here.