Michael did a great job last week of getting me excited about the Cubs going out and trading for Rockies righty Jon Gray, and now I’m here to bring myself back down.
The thing is, if a controlled, hard-throwing, big-stuff starting pitcher gets you excited about a Cubs trade, well then, there are probably lots of other teams just as excited about the possibility.
Turns out, “a number of teams” are already asking the Rockies about Gray, according to GM Jeff Bridich. And where a number of teams come calling, the ask in trade is only going to go up:
I talked to some sources today who said that, yes, the #Rockies are getting "a lot" of interest about a trade for RHP Jon Gray. The Rockies would ask for a lot in return, likey prospects and an estabished pitcher.
Whether the Rox would make a deal remains a big question.
— Patrick Saunders (@psaundersdp) November 15, 2019
It maybe seem like a lot to ask for two years of a solid, but not spectacular, starting pitcher in his two final arb years. But you have to look at it from the Rockies’ perspective: Gray performed well enough in 2019, so it’s not like he’s a guy they’re trying to move on from. And if they have any hope whatsoever of competing in 2020 (when Charlie Blackmon might still produce and while Nolan Arenado is still in his prime), they can’t dump a guy like Gray just for prospects.
So, yeah, if they’re going to move him, it’s going to be because they got a replacement for him in the rotation – maybe a solid guy, but without as much upside? or a younger, cheaper guy without as much of a track record? – and they also got some nice prospects.
Are the Cubs the best trade partner in a deal like that? Well, unless the Rockies want Tyler Chatwood back (and the Cubs eat some salary), or unless the Rockies want to take a shot on a guy like Alec Mills, it’s hard to see how the Cubs are the best fit with respect to “replacing” Gray in the rotation. That’s not a surplus area for the Cubs, hence the interest in Gray in the first place. (Of course, lots of interested teams would have the same issue.)
As for prospects, well, sure. The Cubs have plenty of interesting prospects that could be used as pieces in a deal like this, so it’s not really worth speculating on precisely who could be involved. Despite what dingdongs who don’t follow the Cubs farm system closely might try to tell you, yes, the Cubs have plenty of interesting prospects that could round out a deal for a Gray-level player. That’s not an issue.
We’ll see if the Cubs wind up connected to Gray, given how perfectly he would seem to fit for their need in the rotation and their need to get creative (sigh) financially.
For more on why we dig Gray as a Cubs trade target, read Michael’s original piece if you missed it.