Jayson Stark, Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi have each suggested that clubs could attempt to acquire Tom Gorzelanny from the Cubs. GM Jim Hendry is not shopping the left-hander now, but the Cubs won't have room for Gorzelanny as a starter if Carlos Zambrano pitches well in his return to the rotation tonight.
As long as Zambrano, Ted Lilly, Randy Wells, Ryan Dempster and Carlos Silva remain healthy, the rotation is set without Gorzelanny. You could make the argument that he is one of the team's top five starters, but he's in the 'pen for now after allowing five earned runs in two of his last three starts.
If the Cubs consider trading Gorzelanny, who turns 28 next month, they should be able to obtain a significant piece or two for him. Despite the pair of rough starts that preceded his move to the bullpen, Gorzelanny has been an improved pitcher since arriving in Chicago last July.
Gorzelanny is striking out more batters (9.3 K/9 vs. 5.9 K/9 with Pittsburgh) and walking fewer batters (3.3 BB/9 vs. 4.1 BB/9 with Pittsburgh) since joining the Cubs. Those improved ratios, and Gorzelanny's 3.66 ERA would compare well with any available starting pitcher this side of Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt.
But there's an important difference between Gorzelanny and other trade candidates like Lee, Oswalt, Kevin Millwood and Jake Westbrook. Every one of those starters earns at least ten times as much as the $800K Gorzelanny makes in 2010. That could give the Cubs more potential trade partners, since not every team can afford the salary of a veteran starter. And not only is Gorzelanny cheap, he doesn't hit free agency until after 2013. Unlike most starters we'll hear about in trade rumors, he's controllable and affordable.
Even though there's been lots of talk about Gorzelanny, there hasn't been a concrete rumor indicating that he's available. That may mean the Cubs keep Gorzelanny, but Hendry should be able to obtain good prospects or major league pieces in a trade if the Cubs decide to move him.