Many didn't expect the Brewers to contend this season, but here they are, sitting in first place by 4 1/2 games with two weeks until the trade deadline. While they certainly shouldn't aggressively deal some of their most coveted players from the upper levels of the minors, they should still look to improve the club. 

As such, it makes sense that they've been connected to A's starter Sonny Gray in trade rumors. Jon Heyman at FanRag notes that Brewers pitching coach Derek Johnson coached Gray at Vanderbilt and the two are very close. That doesn't mean the Brewers will present A's boss Billy Beane with the best package of prospects, but it's an interesting tidbit. 

The Brewers also have Chase Anderson on the disabled list for a while, so they could definitely use the starting pitching help. The Cubs sit at second in the NL Central and just got a huge outing from their newly-acquired pitcher Jose Quintana on Sunday. Perhaps it compels the Brewers to make a move, perhaps not. 

The Brewers aren't alone in Gray rumors, of course. We've also seen the Cubs, Astros, Yankees, Braves, Indians, Red Sox and Dodgers named among the teams interested in the services of Gray. 

Gray, 27, is 5-4 with a 3.72 ERA (112 ERA+), 1.16 WHIP and 79 strikeouts in 84 2/3 innings since returning from injury this season. In 2015, Gray was an All-Star and finished third in AL Cy Young voting, but he battled injuries and inconsistency last season. He's a free agent after 2018, so he's not a rental for this year.