MLB Rumors: Braves-Sonny Gray buzz, Cubs linked to ace, Astros poaching manager

  • The Astros are linked to a hot commodity in the managerial market.
  • Are the Chicago Cubs a viable candidate for this free-agent starting pitcher?
  • The Atlanta Braves have a viable free agency target in Sonny Gray.
Oct 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Sonny Gray (54) pitches
Oct 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Sonny Gray (54) pitches / Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
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Cubs linked to Phillies ace Aaron Nola this offseason

The Chicago Cubs entered a slump at the worst possible time -- at the end of the regular season as they were fighting for a playoff spot. Instead, they failed to clinch the final Wild Card spot by one game, losing it to the eventual National League Champions, the Arizona Diamondbacks.

This offseason, the Cubs watch outfielder Cody Bellinger hit free agency and will likely command a huge contract from interested teams. Not to mention, they will have to wait to see if starting pitcher Marcus Stroman opts into the contract. But could they be in the running for a pitcher to add to their rotation in 2024 and beyond?

Tim Kelly of Phillies Nation wrote about five trade candidates Philadelphia should consider if they lose ace Aaron Nola to free agency. Kelly mentioned the Cubs as a team that makes sense to sign Nola this offseason.

"The St. Louis Cardinals haven’t been shy about their interest in Nola, while the Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, San Francisco Giants, Baltimore Orioles, and Chicago Cubs are among the contenders who make sense as possible suitors for Nola," writes Kelly.

Nola is perhaps the most consistent starting pitcher available this offseason. Ever since being called up by the Phillies in 2015, Nola has shown to be a durable starting pitcher throughout his tenure and has been, for the most part, good.

This season, Nola struggled a bit, recording a 4.46 ERA, a 1.151 WHIP, a 12-9 record, 202 strikeouts, and 45 walks in 193.2 innings. Nola had a strong postseason with the Phillies during their run to the NLCS. In four starts, Nola recorded a 2.35 ERA, a 0.96 WHIP, a 3-1 win-loss record, 23 strikeouts, and four walks in 23.0 innings.

Adding Nola would be huge for the Cubs, but it's unknown how seriously they are in pursuing him. Besides, Nola will likely command a ton of interest from teams if he doesn't re-sign with the Phillies.