Let’s get this out of the way: Yu Darvish will be the best rental arm available, if he is marketed. But all indications are the Rangers won’t do that, barring a total collapse over the next ten days.
Assuming that Darvish isn’t within reach, teams with interest in renting a rotation piece will be looking at a decidedly less accomplished group of starters. (And no, I don’t consider Johnny Cueto a pure rental, even if he is still likely to opt out of his contract.) Here are the best such hurlers that seem reasonably likely to be available (in alphabetical order). Which do you think is the top target?
- Trevor Cahill, Padres: Like the other members of the Friars’ staff, the 29-year-old is quite affordable. He’s also sitting on a 3.14 ERA with 11.1 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 through ten starts on the year, though he did miss time due to injury.
- Jhoulys Chacin, Padres: Chacin has been rather effective, with a 4.33 ERA thus far, and has also racked up 108 frames. He is also throwing as hard as ever with a 92 mph average fastball.
- Marco Estrada, Blue Jays: The results have been terrible, but Estrada has struck out 9.9 opposing hitters per nine and could represent quite an intriguing turnaround candidate.
- Scott Feldman, Reds: He’s hurt now, but had been quietly providing solid innings, as he has for most of his career. If he’s able to bounce back quickly from the DL, Feldman could be valued for his steadiness.
- Jaime Garcia, Braves: He’s earning a healthy $12MM salary, and has had his ups and downs, but has been quite good at times in the not-so-distant past.
- Jeremy Hellickson, Phillies: Hellickson was failing to get strikeouts for much of the year, but has ramped things up of late. He also has allowed 11 earned in his past 30 1/3 innings.
- Derek Holland, White Sox: It’s tough to sugarcoat Holland’s struggles since the calendar flipped to June, but he was carrying a 2.37 ERA to that point and has still mixed in some productive outings since.
- Francisco Liriano, Blue Jays: Likewise, Liriano has not produced results. But he’s still bringing 93 from the left side and can miss bats; perhaps an organization with some ideas on how to get him back to form could take a shot on the enigmatic southpaw.
Which pitcher do you prefer? (Link for mobile users.)