The Trade Market For Starting Pitching

The best starting pitcher available has already been traded, but quality arms are there for teams that are willing to pay for them. In some cases that will mean taking on salary, in others it will mean giving up prospects and in select cases it could mean both. Here's a look at some potentially available starters in the post-Cliff Lee market, sorted by 2010 salary:

  • Roy Oswalt, $15MM ($16MM in 2011, $2MM buyout or $16MM option in 2012) – Oswalt won't come cheap, as the Astros still appear to be asking for salary relief and prospects. So why would teams even consider him? Oswalt's 3.08 ERA, 8.4 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 probably have a lot to do with it. Few starters are more proven and few are having better seasons.
  • Ted Lilly, $12MM (free agent after 2010) – The left-hander should draw interest from teams, given his 4.08 ERA and 2.7 K/BB ratio. The Mets are interested and other clubs may pursue him, too. Lilly profiles as a Type A free agent, so the Cubs could obtain picks in the 2011 draft if he turns down their offer of arbitration.
  • Jake Westbrook, $11MM (free agent after 2010) – The Indians would presumably have to take on salary to move Westbrook, but he would likely clear waivers, so the Indians don't have to deal him immediately. Westbrook has a 4.75 ERA in 108 innings so far in 2010.
  • Ben Sheets, $10MM (free agent after 2010) – Sheets has recovered from a rough start, but his overall numbers (112.2 innings, 4.63 ERA, 6.6 K/9, 3.3 BB/9) are pedestrian. Like Westbrook, Sheets may clear waivers.
  • Dan Haren, $8.25MM ($29MM or more remaining after 2010) – Like Oswalt, Haren is pitching well and earning a considerable amount. His 4.36 ERA has been inflated by some bad luck on balls in play, but his strikeout (8.7 K/9) and walk (1.9 BB/9) rates remain good.
  • Fausto Carmona, $4.9MM ($6.1MM salary in 2011, followed by three club options) – Carmona is pitching well (3.64 ERA in 116.1 innings), but the Indians have lots of reasons to keep him.
  • Paul Maholm, $4.5MM ($6.5MM or more afterwards) – The 4.37 ERA is nice, but it's likely that teams would shy away, since Maholm has a substantial amount remaining on his contract.
  • Dave Bush, $4.2MM (free agent after 2010) – Bush could have appeal as an innings eater, though he's not going to dominate (4.14 ERA).
  • Edwin Jackson, $4.2MM (free agent after he earns $8.35MM in 2011) – Jackson even has command issues when he's throwing no-hitters, so teams may look for more predictable options.
  • Ricky Nolasco, $3.8MM (free agent after 2012) – The Marlins haven't made Nolasco available yet, but his 4.2 K/BB ratio stands out. He's under team control for a while, though he'll be getting raises every year his team offers arbitration.
  • Brett Myers, $3MM (mutual option after 2010) – Many teams will likely have interest in Myers. He has a 3.41 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9, he has pitched in playoff races before and has just $1.3MM remaining on his contract.
  • Jeremy Guthrie, $3MM (free agent after 2012) – The former first-rounder has a 4.77 ERA in 111.1 innings in Baltimore. The Padres have some interest.
  • Brian Bannister, $2.3MM (free agent after 2012) – Dayton Moore would presumably listen on Bannister, who has a 5.56 ERA with 5.3 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9.
  • Livan Hernandez, $900K (free agent after 2010) – Hernandez has struggled over the couse of the past month, but he still has a 3.37 ERA. He doesn't strike anybody out, but at that price, teams could be calling the Nationals.
  • Shaun Marcum ($850K) and Wade Davis ($400K) are a pair of cheap, controllable starters having productive seasons, but it would presumably take a lot to obtain either pitcher.
  • Free agents including Pedro Martinez, Braden Looper and Jarrod Washburn are still available.
  • We already examined the market for potentially available outfielders, catchers, first basemen, second basemen, third basemen and shortstops.


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