The Runner Sports

Where Will The A’s Trade Sonny Gray?

Many contenders this season are on the market looking for starting pitching. With the Oakland A’s out of contention, Sonny Gray might be able to command a big return. Not only is he rebounding from a rough 2016, he has significant team control remaining too. In any deal involving Gray, the A’s will likely look for young, big-league ready outfielders. Both these scenarios include outfielders who will contribute long term.

Milwaukee Brewers for OF Lewis Brinson, RHP Brandon Woodruff, OF Monte Harrison, RHP Jordan Yamamoto

The Brewers have taken the league by storm, leading the NL Central and exceeding all expectations. However, they lack a top of the rotation presence, and Sonny Gray would be a good fit with his postseason experience. Also, they have a surplus of outfield talent, lining up for a trade with Oakland.

Brinson would be the crown jewel of the deal. One of the best outfield prospects in the game, he has true five-tool potential with 30/30 seasons possibly in his future. However, Milwaukee already has a full outfield, making him a prime trade chip. He is hitting .339/.412/.573 in AAA and should make an impact immediately.

While Woodruff is currently sidelined with a hamstring injury, he is a big-league ready arm. Sitting anywhere between 90-95 with his power sinker, Woodruff is a groundball pitcher who can pick up Ks. Throw in his above average secondary stuff and command, and Woodruff is the complete package.

Former football stud Harrison chose baseball and $1.8 million signing bonus instead. He, along with Brinson, have the best tools in Milwaukee’s system. Harrison is raw, as evidenced by his 26.8% K-rate in A-ball, but he is constantly improving and making adjustments. Cutting down on strikeouts is easier said than done, but four 60-grade or better tools make him worth taking a chance on.

Yamamoto would be a throw in to complete the package. A short righty drafted out of a Hawaiian high school, he’s always had solid stuff. He picks up plenty of strikeouts, but he is finally putting it together for the first time in A-ball. He is a long shot and may be a reliever long term, but he has mid-rotation upside as well.

Related: Where Will The A’s Trade Yonder Alonso?

Chicago Cubs for OF Albert Almora, RHP Dylan Cease, OF Mark Zagunis, SS Isaac Paredes

The first thing that one will notice about this package is no Eloy Jimenez. While he is a dynamic talent, he is also quite a bit away from the majors. Instead, the Cubs will part with major league outfielder Albert Almora, along with a more well-rounded package of secondary pieces.

Almora is currently a platoon outfielder for the Cubs, but he could easily be an everyday outfielder. He has strong contact skills despite a low walk rate, and his defense grades out as plus in center field. He is holding his own with the bat right now, which is all he really needs to do as his defense will carry him to a long career.

Without Jimenez, the Cubs will need to add their second best prospect, right-hander Dylan Cease. He has posted otherworldly numbers in A-ball, with an incredible 12.9 K/9 as a starter. As that stat suggests, Cease has strong stuff, with a fastball that reaches 100 and a power curve that flashes plus. He will need to brush up on command as he moves up the ladder, but the upside is undeniable.

Zagunis is an outfielder in AAA who is big league ready but has no room for playing time. He’s a solid defender in the corners who can play center in a pinch, but the value truly lies in the bat. Zagunis is an on-base machine, reaching base at a .399 clip despite a .253 batting average, mostly resulting from a low BABIP. He can hit one out too, as evidenced by his 11 home runs this year.

At just 18 years old, Paredes has been one of the top players in the Midwest League. He is slashing .269/.354/.418 with 7 HRs despite being 3.2 years younger than league average. He’d be a pure upside play in this trade, but he plays a premium position while flashing some tools at the plate.

Final Thoughts

Both of these proposed packages are quite rich and would be difficult to part with for the opposing team. However, this is the reality of the market: demand is high for quality starting pitching, and supply is low. Gray is a prime chip in this year’s trade deadline, and if the A’s play their cards right, they could end up with a hefty haul.

Johnnie Teng

Johnnie Teng

From the Bay Area, Johnnie started sportswriting on his own blog at Baseball MTJAG before writing for TRS. He has a strong passion for the sport and aspires to grow and develop as a writer or work in baseball operations someday. Follow him on Twitter @hard90hustle
Johnnie Teng

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  • Drew Ring

    As a brewers fan… Hard NO. If the bidding is that high for Gray just pass. What small market team ever really gains much with giving up huge hauls for a player. Maybe if the Brewers were closer to making a four or five year run. Just because the Cubs are having a down year doesn’t mean we have to give up the farm. Replace Ray with Brinson and I’m all for it. Why Brinson isn’t starting over Broxton is beyond me at this point.