Trade Market For Starting Pitchers

Two prominent mid-rotation starters have already been dealt this month, with the Orioles acquiring Scott Feldman (and giving up another starter in Jake Arrieta) and the Dodgers picking up Ricky Nolasco.  The Red Sox, Indians, Rangers, Nationals, Diamondbacks, and Dodgers could be in the hunt for starting pitching, with other contenders potentially jumping in on the better names.  Let's see what the market offers as the July 31st trade deadline approaches.

Rentals

Matt Garza (Cubs), Tim Lincecum (Giants), Josh Johnson (Blue Jays), Phil Hughes (Yankees), Jason Marquis (Padres), Edinson Volquez (Padres), Erik Bedard (Astros), Aaron Harang (Mariners), Mike Pelfrey (Twins), Joe Saunders (Mariners)

These available starting pitchers will be free agents after the season.  Garza appears a lock to be dealt, and seems likely to command a top 50 prospect or equivalent young player as the centerpiece.  With over $7MM remaining at the deadline, trading Lincecum would be complicated.  Johnson and Hughes would likely generate solid interest on the market.

Controllable Starters

Yovani Gallardo (Brewers), Kyle Lohse (Brewers), Bud Norris (Astros), Joe Blanton (Angels), Kevin Correia (Twins), Lucas Harrell (Astros), Barry Zito (Giants), Kevin Slowey (Marlins), Carlos Villanueva (Cubs), John Danks (White Sox), Vance Worley (Twins), James McDonald (Pirates), Alfredo Aceves (Red Sox), Ricky Romero (Blue Jays)

All of these players can be controlled beyond 2013 given their contracts or arbitration status, not that teams would necessarily be thrilled by the prospect.  Gallardo and Norris seem to be the names to watch here.

Currently On The DL

Jake Peavy (White Sox), Jason Vargas (Angels)

Peavy is projected to return from a displaced rib fracture Saturday against the Braves, so he could make three starts to prove his health prior to the deadline.  He's under contract for next year, and would jump to the top of the short list of potential difference-makers.  Vargas had surgery to remove a blood clot in his left armpit and is expected to return before the deadline.

Other Possibilities

Cliff Lee (Phillies), James Shields (Royals), Ervin Santana (Royals), Jeremy Guthrie (Royals), R.A. Dickey (Blue Jays), Jeff Samardzija (Cubs)

These pitchers are not currently believed to be available, but it wouldn't be a total shock to see one of them traded this month.  Lee is the best pitcher named in this post, though he has no-trade protection and is owed more than $70MM through 2015.  The Royals probably are not inclined to gut their rotation, though it would make sense to entertain offers for Santana if they are beyond the value of a supplemental round draft pick, as he is eligible for free agency after the season.  Dickey and Samardzija are controllable beyond this year, but it would be silly for their teams not to listen.

For the large-salaried players such as Lincecum, Danks, and Zito, keep in mind that trades can happen in August as well if they clear waivers or are claimed.

Check out our other posts in the trade market series here.


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