The Cubs may not be done yet.
Just over 24 hours after the Cubs shocked the baseball world by trading for Jose Quintana, reports indicate Theo Epstein's front office still wants more young, controllable pitching:
Sources: #Cubs continuing to show interest in Sonny Gray, even after Jose Quintana trade. One reason: Vacancy still remains in '18 rotation.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 14, 2017
Sonny Gray won't turn 28 until November and is under team control through the 2019 season. The right-hander is 4-4 with a 4.00 ERA and 1.21 WHIP this season while striking out a career-high 8.5 batters per nine innings.
Gray burst onto the scene in 2013 as a 23-year-old, finding immediate success to the tune of a 33-20 record, 2.88 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 76 games (74 starts).
But his career took a major blow during an injury-plauged 2016 when he went 5-11 with a startling 5.69 ERA and 1.496 WHIP.
Gray's return to form this season has driven his trade stock up again and the Oakland A's have the next-worst record in the American League after the White Sox.
The Cubs do have a need for starting pitching in 2018 and beyond, as only Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks and now Quintana are under contract, though Mike Montgomery could retain a rotation spot.
The question of course comes to who the Cubs would have to give up. With their top two prospects (Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease) now in the Sox system, the Cubs do not have any prospects on Baseball America's Top 100 list.
MLB.com lists the Cubs' current Top 5 prospects as follows:
1. Jeimer Candelario - 3B/1B
2. Oscar de la Cruz - RHP
3. Mark Zagunis - OF
4. Trevor Clifton - RHP
5. Jose Albertos - RHP
Even if the Cubs traded three or four of those guys, would that be enough to secure the next 2.5 years of Gray? Candelario is close to being ready for the big leagues, but he is not a deal headliner the way Jimenez, Cease or Gleyber Torres (traded to the New York Yankees last summer for Aroldis Chapman) are.
So would the Cubs have to deal from their big-league stable of young players that includes Kyle Schwarber, Ian Happ, Javy Baez, Albert Almora and others?
Theo and Co. are just treating this like Pokemon now with young pitching talent: Gotta catch 'em all.
If the Cubs somehow pulled off that deal, here's what the 2018 could look like:
Not too shabby.