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Cubs trade target: Sonny Gray

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The Cubs are looking for starting pitching help. Could they find some in Oakland?

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Sonny Gray has been on Cubs fans’ radar for some time, and on the Cubs’, too. Did you know that back in the Jim Hendry era, the Cubs drafted Gray? They took him out of high school in the 27th round in 2008. He was committed to Vanderbilt, where he did wind up going, and he starred there, eventually being selected in the first round (18th overall) in 2011 by the Athletics.

That draft slot paid off for the A’s. Gray had good years in 2013, 2014 and 2015, and then the injury bug hit. A forearm injury ruined much of his 2016 season. In fact, that was suffered during his start against the Cubs last August 6, and he pitched just once more after that last season.

Then he suffered a lat injury in spring training this year and opened the year on the disabled list. He finally began his 2017 season May 2, and he’s had a number of very good outings, including last Sunday against the White Sox, throwing seven strong innings and allowing just one run. Here’s some video of his 11-strikeout performance against the Marlins on May 24:

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about Gray as a possible trade target — here’s what I wrote last November on this topic.

Gray is 27 and is arb-eligible in 2018. He’s making $3.575 million this year, so is likely going to be in the $6-$7 million range for next season. He’s under team control for two more years after this year.

With the Cubs looking for team-controllable starting pitching beyond 2017, Gray could be an attractive target. His health really is the major concern. If he’s healthy he surely could get back to the level at which he pitched in 2014 and 2015, which got him an All-Star nod in 2015, as well as a third-place Cy Young finish that year.

This article by Buster Olney at espn.com (from last month, but still relevant) goes through some of the pros and cons of trading for Gray.

As I’ve said before, I’m not great at putting together trade proposals, so I’ll let you do that. Would you trade for Gray before the deadline? If so, who would you send to the A’s?