As the Brewers have slumped while the Cubs (and Pirates) surged, I’ve been very interested to see what the Brewers would do on the trade market.
On the one hand, they are a surprising contender, perhaps a year or two earlier than they might have expected in their rebuild. They have massive prospect currency, and could easily land excellent pieces this trade season. A significant upgrade or two, particularly on the pitching side, could go a long way to giving them a real chance to make the playoffs.
On the other hand, they are not only slumping now, but no projection systems have the Brewers holding up down the stretch (let alone outpacing the Cubs, whom the system still like to win the Central comfortably). How aggressive should the Brewers really be in that context?
Well, whether because of the recent slump, because of the broader considerations, or because of the particulars of this pitcher, it sounds like they Brewers are no longer hot on one of their most frequently rumored trade targets:
Sources: #Brewers fading in Sonny Gray discussions.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 25, 2017
It’s become expected around the game that Gray will be dealt this year, given his health and performance (both up near the best they’ve been for him in a while), and the limited pool of available controllable starting pitchers. When Gray rumors have popped up over the past few weeks, the Brewers have consistently been identified as one of the most likely destinations (we talked about it as recently as yesterday).
If that’s no longer the case, the implications for the Cubs are two-fold. For one, it’s one less compelling trade destination for Gray, who has also been frequently attached to the Cubs in rumors, even after they acquired Jose Quintana.
More importantly, though, it could be a signal that the Brewers do not intend to be aggressive buyers. If that’s the case, the Cubs may find themselves the only aggressive buyers in the Central, which could even further position them for a postseason run.