In a companion piece to yesterdays look at potential hitters who could be on the trade block, Jon Heyman of SI.com lists the top 40 potential pitchers who could switch uniforms by the trade deadline. Here are his first ten, check out the other 30 pitchers on the list here.
1. Heath Bell, Padres RP. Word seems to be that Bell, who will be a free-agent at year’s end, is willing to give the Padres a significant discount, maybe to the point of accepting a three-year deal for $25 million or so. But even that might be steep for cash-strapped San Diego. So the Padres are starting to consider outside trade offers now. A trade seems very likely by the deadline, as the Padres are now starting to talk to teams. He certainly has cooperated with 19 saves and a .213 batting average against, making him one of the more sought after pitchers in a market full of mediocrity. The Rangers, who need a righty reliever, and the Yankees, who have lost Joba Chamberlain and for the time being Rafael Soriano, are possibilities to acquire Bell as a shutdown set-up man. Other teams likely to have an interest include the Cardinals, Red Sox (who made the successful Adrian Gonzalez deal with the Pads) and Tigers, with the White Sox and Phillies outside possibilities.
2. Francisco Rodriguez, Mets RP. The vesting options for $17.5 million with 55 game finishes makes things dicey. And even if he doesn’t qualify for the vesting option, he has an $11.5-million salary and $3.5 million buyout for 2012. The Mets are extremely likely to move the still-productive closer, but the one big question is whether any team looking for a closer will take him with that option alive. The Rangers and Yankees are possibilities for him, too, and because those teams would need him as a set-up man they seem like real possibilities. Even though he now throws in the low 90s, he’s still mostly effective, saving 19 of 21 tries so far (though he does have a 1.44 WHIP, so any team that gets him should be prepared for some interesting innings).
3. Wandy Rodriguez, Astros SP. The solid lefty has put together an excellent first half (5-3, 2.88 ERA) and has a history of being a better second-half pitcher. His $34-million, three-year contract may be a plus to some, a minus to others. Also, incoming owner Jim Crane throws another monkey wrench into things. But depending on which other pitchers may be available, Rodriguez could look pretty good by comparison.
4. Derek Lowe, Braves SP. With a deep rotation and some excellent young starters, there’s an outside chance the Braves would move him. Very consistent veteran starter isn’t having his best beginning (3-5, 4.10) and the real issue is that $15 million salary through 2012, which would severely limit the interest after the Yankees.
5. Hiroki Kuroda, Dodgers SP. It’s probably premature to consider any of the L.A. pitchers yet. But if the Dodgers slip further, there’s a treasure trove of veteran pitchers, starting with Kuroda, whose expiring contract may actually be seen as a plus. Very solid pitcher (5-8, 3.07 ERA this year).
6. Ted Lilly, Dodgers SP. Gutsy lefthander who gets a lot out of his ability and would draw interest if available. Having his typical year (5-6, 4.26), and his $33 million, three-year deal is fair.
7. Jason Marquis, Nationals SP. He was a washout his first-year in Washington but is back to his usual solid performance and is 7-2 with a 3.86 ERA in the final year of his deal (his $7.5 million salary is livable). He’s useful as a back-of-the-rotation starter.
8. Mike Adams, Padres RP. Other teams are saying Adams could be available despite his second-straight dominating season (0.63 WHIP in ’11, 1.76 ERA in ’10). Unlike Bell, he does have another year to go before he can be a free agent. The Padres are said to be rethinking the wisdom of having a bullpen that is by far the strength of such a low-budget team. His $2.535-million salary is a bargain for anyone.
9. John Danks, White Sox SP. With six viable starters, the White Sox might consider trading one — though Edwin Jackson, who’s a free agent after the year, may be most likely to go. Danks, up to 3-8 with a 4.29 ERA after a painfully slow start, could be an outside possibility in that there appears to be no hope of a multiyear deal getting done with him based on early talks.
10. Livan Hernandez, Nationals SP. The man can pitch, which is why his summer trade is almost an annual event. He won’t light up the radar gun, but he continues to produce, even this year when he’s had some off-field controversy. His 4-8 record and 3.97 ERA is typical.
Read the rest of Heyman’s article here.