The Braves are once again in the market for controllable starters, reports David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Atlanta was linked to names like Chris Archer, Jose Quintana and Sonny Gray last season and throughout the winter, and the Braves still have interest in that group of pitchers, according to O’Brien. While they’ve scouted Gray’s recent outings for the Athletics, it’s Archer and Quintana that sit atop Atlanta’s wish list, O’Brien continues. The White Sox, of course, are known to be open to moving Quintana, but there’s no guarantee that the Rays would even consider moving Archer. To the contrary, Tampa Bay is two games above .500 and currently sits just one game back of an American League Wild Card spot and three games back in the AL East. Archer currently holds a 3.88 ERA with 10.9 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and a 42.5 percent ground-ball rate through 104 1/3 innings, and he’s controllable through the 2021 season with just $33.7MM remaining on his contract following the 2017 campaign. It would presumably take a staggering package to even get the Rays to consider moving Archer, given the current state of their team.
A bit more on the trade market…
- Atlanta is far from the only team to scout Gray’s most recent starts. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that in addition to the Braves, the Cubs, Blue Jays and Mariners all had multiple scouts/execs on hand for Sunday’s start, and the Red Sox had a scout there as well. Slusser notes that some clubs have been scouting infielder Jed Lowrie as well, adding that it’s “all but certain” that the Athletics trade Lowrie before the non-waiver deadline. Boston is one team that’s likely to have interest in Lowrie, she adds.
- Yahoo’s Jeff Passan spoke to one source that said the Red Sox are “keen” for Gray, though they’re also considering aiming for a power-hitting third baseman and acquiring another reliever rather than bolstering the rotation. Stacking another arm alongside Joe Kelly and Craig Kimbrel at the back of the ’pen could give Boston a trio similar to the three-headed monster similar to the 2014 Royals (Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis, Greg Holland) or the 2016 Yankees (Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, Aroldis Chapman). That was the idea in acquiring Tyler Thornburg this past offseason, but Thornburg will mis the entire year due to thoracic outlet surgery. The Sox, could, however, get righty Carson Smith back, though it’s difficult to know exactly what to expect from him after losing a season and a half to Tommy John surgery.
- White Sox GM Rick Hahn spoke to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post about lefty Jose Quintana, acknowledging that he’s been involved in “various conversations” with other clubs and that the ChiSox are “very open-minded” about dealing him. It’s been reported previously that Quintana’s rough start may not have much of an adverse impact on his trade value, and that’s how Hahn is approaching talks. “For the guys with extended track records, I think that’s probably the most important factor in terms of determining their value as well as the contractual control and obligations going forward,” said Hahn. “…He’s the same guy. The same guy in terms of how he goes about his business.” Rough start aside, Quintana entered tonight’s game with a pristine 2.25 ERA and 24-to-8 K/BB ratio through 24 June innings, and he’s held the Yankees scoreless through six innings tonight as of this writing. Davidoff notes that the Yankees could very well look into rotation upgrades, speculating that Quintana and Gray will be among the names they explore.