Milwaukee Brewers: Are They Eyeing Sonny Gray and Jose Quintana?

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 30: Sonny Gray
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 30: Sonny Gray /

As we head into the All Star Break, the Milwaukee Brewers have just been connected to two of the most sought after names on the Trade market, and it’s serious.

We just said yesterday that the Brewers would be unlikely to trade for a top player at any position because of the prospect price. Then, rumors start flying.

Jon Morosi of wrote this morning that the Milwaukee Brewers have been doing “background work” on Sonny Gray, Jose Quintana, and other impact starters. So what does this mean?

It means the Brewers believe they’re serious contenders to win the division and fend off the Chicago Cubs, they are going to need to add to their rotation. Zach Davies has been lucky this year and Matt Garza is inconsistent. Junior Guerra has lost his velocity and no one knows what’s going on there. Chase Anderson will be out until mid-August and the Brewers need a consistent #2 starter behind Jimmy Nelson.

It also wouldn’t hurt to get some guys with October experience into that rotation. That’s why Morosi also believes that J.A. Happ is on their radar. He has playoff experience and he’s a good fit, plus he’s left handed.

So David Stearns and the Milwaukee Brewers are looking at impact starters with team control. Both Quintana and Gray fit that bill.

Quintana has a set contract over the next three seasons, $8.85 MM next year with club options for $10 MM and $11 MM for 2019-2020.

Gray is earning a little over $3.5 million and will go through arbitration the next two years and become a free agent after 2019.

Trading for an impact starting pitcher will give Brewers fans memories of 2008 when CC Sabathia came to town, took the team to the playoffs, and then left. However, Gray and Quintana wouldn’t leave after this season is done, they’re here for 2-3 more years.

Quintana is 4-8 with a 4.45 ERA to start the year. He had an awful start to the season but has been doing better of late. Over the course of his last four starts, he has given up only five runs, while striking out 25 batters.

Meanwhile, Gray is 4-4 with a 4.00 ERA in 13 starts. There’s been talk of him being traded for the past three seasons, basically. The asking price may have dropped for him, giving the Brewers a chance to get him.

The Chicago White Sox are demanding a lot in return for the players they trade away, as shown by the happenings of last winter. Frankly, the White Sox demands may be too much for what David Stearns is willing to part with. They’ll likely ask for Lewis Brinson or Corey Ray and that could a deal-breaker. Not to mention they’d also like two to three other top tier prospects in return

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Gray could be had for less than Quintana, but he still won’t be cheap. An injury plagued 2016 has prevented him from being traded thus far. Perhaps a package containing Trent Clark or Isan Diaz as the headliner followed by Ryan Cordell/Brett Phillips and another top 30 prospect could entice the A’s enough to do the deal.

Honestly, Quintana would cost too much and he’s been a below average pitcher this season, giving no indication that he could help the Milwaukee Brewers in the stretch run this year. He’s playing too poorly to require the price the White Sox are asking.

Gray, meanwhile hasn’t been pitching great either, but his strikeouts are up and he’s getting more ground balls, while hitters are chasing his pitches more often than before.

Of Quintana and Gray, I would believe Sonny Gray would be the more likely candidate to actually be traded to Milwaukee, even though he has one less year of control that Quintana. Gray has been pitching better and even though he does have an injury history, he’ll cost less in terms of prospects than Quintana will.

Keep in mind, just because the Brewers are doing background work on these players doesn’t mean they’re actually coming to Milwaukee. These are just rumors and there will be plenty more flying around as we get closer to the deadline.

Next: Trade Deadline Preview

Stearns could be looking to make a big splash this year and put Milwaukee back on the map. Trading for an ace at the deadline would certainly do the trick.