Every team needs starting pitching depth, but few teams have enough of it. Given the expected cost of free agent pitching, the few clubs with starters to spare will be popular in offseason trade talks. Yet the general managers of these pitching-rich teams must be careful, since depth can diminish quickly if injuries strike and players disappoint on the field.
So, earlier this month at the GM Meetings, I asked three general managers of teams with considerable young pitching to explain how they weigh the possibility of trades against the reality that you can never have enough pitching. Here are their thoughts:
Rays executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman
“The one thing that we’re very wary of is waking up one day and not being able to fill out a rotation in the American League East that can have a chance to pitch 170-220 innings [per starter].”
Braves GM Frank Wren
“We feel like our rotation is one of our strengths. In our rotation and our bullpen we’re basically returning everyone and we have some dynamic young pitchers that are one verge of being a part of our rotation or on our club, so we do have depth.
“I always cringe when people say you have too much pitching because you never have enough pitching. But you also have to look at your club honestly and say ‘where do we have pieces that we can deal from.’ I think our pitching will enable us to fill some of our needs if we want to move one or so of those guys. It’s something we’re open to; it’s not something we’re absolutely going to do.”
Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik
“You have to keep your options open. At this stage [on November 7th] people are feeling each other out, people are lining their ducks up in a row. All 30 clubs are doing this and everybody has their Christmas list if you will.”
The White Sox, Athletics, Dodgers, Reds and Mets are among the other teams that could consider trading starting pitchers to address other needs in the months ahead.