The Rundown: Whither Sonny Gray, Gray Day in Another Way, J-Hey Saves the Day

It’s been fun to pine for Justin Verlander and Sonny Gray over the past few weeks, but the former is staying in Detroit barring a miracle and the latter appears to be headed for the Big Apple. In yet another epic Facebook post — can someone give this man a job already?! — Ken Rosenthal laid out all the reasons Gray to the the Yankees has to work out.

The Athletics view Sonny Gray one way. The Yankees view him another. But both teams need to complete this trade more than they care to admit, and the best guess is that it will happen.

I’m not buying that the Athletics will hold Gray and carry him into the winter; Gray currently is healthy, and his value might never be higher.

I’m also not buying that the Yankees can pivot to Lance Lynn or Jaime Garcia as a reasonable alternative; each is a potential free agent, and the Yankees need rotation help beyond this season.

The Cubs want Gray but do not appear to line up with the A’s, not after trading two of their top prospects for Jose Quintana.

Okay, I’m going to jump back in at this point for a little, “Well, yeah.” Here’s the thing, though: the A’s don’t actually appear to be asking for the top-top prospects in return for Gray. There was a report that they valued OF prospect Estevan Florial — No. 90 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 list — more than No. 27 Clint Frazier, but that has a higher spin rate than a Clayton Kershaw curveball.

There’s no way the Yankees were parting with either Frazier or former Cubs prospect Gleyber Torres, so pretending like that was even a thing is just silly. What’s kind of crazy, though, is just how reasonable the package Rosenthal put together is.

Acquiring Gray would enable the Yankees to avoid spending big on a Jake Arrieta or even an Alex Cobb; the Athletics, well aware of the bigger picture, want their return to reflect as much. They’re not asking for the Yankees’ best prospects. But is a package of say, Class-A outfielder Estevan Florial, Double-A infielder/outfielder Jorge Mateo and Double-A right-hander Zack Littell — a healthy scratch Saturday night, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post — too much to ask?

I mean, that sounds like something the Cubs could easily put together. Then again, you have to consider that his proposal is just that. You also need to think about how each team values the prospects in question and what other teams are offering. The Cubs don’t really have any high-ceiling position players left in the system and they have to develop an arm in the Epstoyer Era. Even after trading Dylan Cease, they still have several prospects who could become impact pitchers, but parting with them is not an easy thing.

Gray was scratched from today’s start, which basically assures that he’d be dealt. Any doubt of that was probably erased when he delivered the lineup card for Saturday evening’s game. The Cubs could still swoop in with their stealth mode, but it’s more likely we’ll see them pick up A.J. Ellis and an under-the-radar reliever.

Goodbye, friend

I went for a bike ride before Saturday’s game and stopped at a park a couple miles from my house to check in on trade rumors and see how our site traffic was going. And then I saw the news of John Arguello’s passing, which pretty much ruined the evening.

John was a great guy and he was such an exemplar for those of us who write about the Cubs or minor league prospects, or just for people in general. He was so easy-going and willing to offer a kind word or bit of sage advice. He took time to respond to tweets and comments on his blog posts with patience and respect.

In fact, John recently granted a request from our own Corey Freedman and Brendan Miller to join them on their Cubs Related podcast. He had to push the initial recording back due to health issues, but ended up joining them later. The fact that he would take that time in the midst of cancer treatments and while battling other health issues speaks volumes for who he was.

I don’t care if you’re a writer or a broadcaster or just a fan, you should strive to be a little more like John Arguello. Maybe that means helping someone out or just cutting them a little more slack and not jumping immediately to sarcasm and snide responses. I, for one, could follow John’s example a lot more closely in that regard.

More details to come, but I understand that there’s to be a gathering in John’s honor at Nisei Lounge this coming Friday at 7:30 CT. Even if you can’t make it, they’ll be broadcasting on FB Live.

Heyward’s big hit

It probably sounds incredibly trite and I hesitated even writing this, but I had just finished typing the previous section when Jason Heyward came to the plate in the 11th inning last night. I closed my eyes and offered up a brief prayer for John and his family and opened them to see the Cubs right fielder hammer a pitch into deep right-center for a game winning homer.

Thanks, John.

More news and notes

  • The Yankees and Twins are “deep in discussions” on a Jaime Garcia deal.
    • Because Garcia is a rental, the Yankees would still pursue Gray.
    • High-A RHP Zack Littell, the Yanks’ No. 22 prospect, is reportedly being discussed as the return.
  • The Rangers want to trade Yu Darvish, but the market seems to have gone cold for him as teams continue to prefer pitchers with lower price tags/more control.
    • We’ve reached the point of trade season where everyone is hunkered down and the reports have slowed.
    • No more posturing and haggling, at least not via the media, now it’s time to start doing business.
  • Upon being traded to the Orioles, Jeremy Hellickson was unable to report to Texas to join his new team because he was involved in a car accident on the way to the airport. He and his girlfriend avoided serious injury, but had to visit the ER.
  • As you may be aware, Cubs Insider is co-sponsoring this year’s John Baker Day event at Nisei Lounge. Last year’s inaugural event was a blast and it’s going to be bigger this time.
    • Space is limited to 100 attendees and half the tickets are already sold.
    • Among the other prizes being procured, we just got word that we’ll have a set of 4 tickets and 4 field passes, which includes a quick meet-and-greet with Joe Maddon (time permitting), for the Cubs game on August 28. Do you think that might fetch a nice donation?
  • In honor of our late friend, all proceeds from sales in the Cubs Insider shop will be donated to the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation to support cancer research.
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