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Milwaukee Brewers: Is there a fit for a Sonny Gray deal?

Matthew Dewoskin
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 20: Sonny Gray
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 20: Sonny Gray /
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Milwaukee Brewers Trade Target
Milwaukee Brewers Trade Target /

Jose Quintana has made only one start, but his impact is already felt in the Cubs rotation. If the Brewers make a deal for Sonny Gray, could he have a similar affect? The price for Quintana was very high, but what would a deal for Gray to the Milwaukee Brewers really look like?

What Would Sonny Gray Look Like In The Rotation?

Based on the raw numbers, Sonny Gray would be the third best starter on the Milwaukee Brewers after Chase Anderson returns. Gray’s 1.7 WAR is only slightly better than Matt Garza and his 1.6 WAR. The 8.40 K/9 and 2.76 BB/9 may sound nice, but he’s also saddled with a 3.72 ERA. Not terrible numbers, in fact he’s pitched better than his ERA and record indicate, but he’s not really a difference maker.

Adding Gray would allow the Milwaukee Brewers to move either Zach Davies or Brent Suter into the bullpen. The choice may not be as easy as it looks. Davies has been awful in Miller Park this season. Also, keeping Davies in the rotation with Gray would mean the Brewers have five righty starters. A playoff series with a lefty-heavy lineup such as Colorado or Arizona doesn’t favor an all right-handed rotation.

Gray also has a 3.11 ERA in the pitcher friendly Oakland Coliseum. On the road? Gray owns a 4.85 ERA with a .356 wOBA against. That wouldn’t play well in the hitter-friendly Miller Park at all.

Sonny Gray may come with a better pedigree than a few of the in house options, but he isn’t the best fit for Milwaukee.

How Much Would Gray Really Cost?

This is really the question, isn’t it? Quintana comes with three years of team control far below market cost for a top of the rotation starter, and the Cubs paid for it. Gray has two arbitration years left and will command a hefty raise. There’s also no guarantee that he’ll stay given the current market for pitching.

Gray also lacks Quintana’s reputation for durability. While Quintana has one of the cleanest injury histories among top level pitchers, Gray has spent time on the DL as recently as this season. The best predictor of future injury is past injury.

As far as the cost in actual prospects, the Milwaukee Brewers have a deep enough farm system to absorb the loss of a couple prospects. Dealing for Gray may even solve the outfield issues the Brewers will face in the next few years.

However, overpaying for Sonny Gray would set back the rebuild if the wrong players are dealt. Dealing Lewis Brinson or Corey Ray for a two-month rental makes zero sense for a team like the Brewers right now. Brinson and Ray have the potential to develop into difference makers who won’t be expensive for several years. The Brewers may not be able to compete with the Cubs in terms of payroll and dollars spent, but they can out-develop and out-scout them. Dealing one or two of the best players in the system would making competing in the future much more difficult.

Next: Why The Brewers Should Make A Deadline Deal

If Gray could be had for Trent Clark or Ryan Cordell-level prospects, it makes sense. Acquiring Gray for prospects at their level is unlikely unless the A’s panic. The Brewers should stay away unless the market for Gray dries up and Billy Beane is forced to take less. Adding Gray is unlikely to swing the race this season, but it could swing the division back to the Cubs for years if the Brewers’ top prospects are dealt.

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