Buster Olney says that Jose Contreras may be the best available starting pitcher at the moment, which speaks to how weak the market is. Olney lists the Cubs, Braves, Marlins, Indians, and Phillies as teams on hand to watch his six inning, five run performance Sunday night in Baltimore.
To call Contreras the best available indicates that Javier Vazquez is off the market. Contreras’s challengers still include Matt Morris, Dontrelle Willis, and Jason Jennings. If the Pirates were to inexplicably consider trading Ian Snell, he’d easily jump to the forefront. That he’s even available is a dubious rumor at this point.
As for Contreras, his junk might work over in the NL. Maybe that’s why four of the five teams watching his start reside in that league. Olney’s scout said he was working at 87-91, though he did touch 94 last night.
Contreras makes another $4MM this year, $10MM in ’08, and another $10MM in ’09. That shouldn’t scare off too many clubs. Maybe the Marlins. With a 2-4% chance at making the playoffs this year the Marlins would be acquiring Contreras more for 2008-09.