Thus far, we’ve already seen one prime target move, as Thatcher once again drew summer trade interest. There have also been several more minor deals involving lefties, including Chris Capuano, Jeff Francis, Nick Maronde, and Rich Hill.
Here’s who else could be available for pen work (and, in some cases, rotation depth) in the week to come:
- Doubront is an interesting player to watch given his long-term control and ability to throw in the pen or rotation. Of course, he has been unhappy with being moved out of a starting role in Boston, but clubs might like to slot him in the pen while also supplementing their starting depth (and possibly shifting him back to the rotation next year). He is just 26 and will be arb-eligible for the first time next year; that, combined with his buy-low status in a down year, could create a fairly diverse market (if Boston wants to move him).
- Unlike the Sox, the Rays now seem like they could be leaning against selling, and that would seem to remove McGee from consideration. If things change, though, McGee would be quite a desirable piece, as he is coming off a Super Two season in which he earned just $1.45MM and has dominated with a 1.40 ERA, 1.30 FIP, and 11.6 K/9 against 2.0 BB/9. Having slotted into the closer’s role of late, his counting stats will begin to drive up his arb price, but he’ll still be well underpaid compared to his abilities. That, of course, could leave Tampa uninterested in moving him.
- Dunn, likewise, will be building off of a $1.4MM salary in his first year of arbitration (though he was not a Super Two). He only sports a 4.10 ERA, but his 10.4 K/9 against 3.6 BB/9 seems attractive. Of course, the Marlins have indicated in the past that they value him rather highly, and it is far from clear that a contender would be willing to make a strong enough offer to obtain him.
- Rzepczynski, 28, has been solid, if unspectacular, and is earning a mangeable $1.38MM in his first season of arbitration. His inclusion on this list, though, is somewhat speculative, as Cleveland may hope to keep him for the stretch as well as next season.
- Downs has struggled with Houston this season (5.04 ERA), but he’s held left-handed hitters to an impressive .213/.280/.313 batting line in his career and is controlled through 2018. That control might be appealing to the Astros, but GM Jeff Luhnow has shown a willingness to listen on the majority of his players in recent years.
Andrew Miller and Craig Breslow (Red Sox), Brian Duensing (Twins), Tony Sipp (Astros), Neal Cotts (Rangers), Dana Eveland (Mets), Antonio Bastardo (Phillies), James Russell and Wesley Wright (Cubs), Oliver Perez (D’backs)
This group includes some fairly high-quality rental options, but Miller appears to be the prize of the class at this point. He has been dominant (2.31 ERA, 1.73 FIP, 14.5 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9), and his pure rental status makes him seem fairly likely to be dealt. Boston looks likely to sell after a recent slide, and Miller should draw enough suitors to drive up a decent return.
Bastardo and Russell have been among the more consistent lefties in the game in recent years, and both come with one more year of team control through arbitration. Duensing, Cotts, Eveland, Sipp, Wright, and Perez have all had solid seasons and should be available for relatively little in return. Breslow has struggled, but has a fairly strong track record and could be a cheap add for a team that believes in him. (He also comes with a $4MM option for next year, though it is somewhat difficult to see a scenario where that gets picked up.)