Chicago White Sox: Where Will Gavin Floyd Go?
Bottom Line: The Sox have a logjam of starting pitchers, and somebody likely needs to go. Danks, Peavy and Sale are all shoo-ins for the rotation, and Kenny Williams really likes the upside of the sinker-baller Zach Stewart.
So, who's left in the cold? Mr. Gavin Floyd.
Most likely, it will be Floyd for the sole reason that he has trade value. The only other starter the Sox could conceivably deal would be Peavy. Unfortunately, there's not a dumb enough GM in baseball that will pay him roughly $17 million for a year of DL visits and 6.0 IP/4.0 ERA outings.
Back to Floyd. The guy has developed nicely from a fringe first-round bust to an above-average major league pitcher. He should send Don Cooper a nice gift when all is said and done for reviving his career. If not for Coop, Floyd might be pitching in Japan or coaching little league.
Floyd's best pitch is his deuce. When it's dropping, he's a borderline two starter for any contender. Like any pitch, Uncle Charlie comes and goes at his leisure. During Floyd's tenure with the White Sox, he has definitely improved as a competitor, learning how to claw through a game without his top-notch stuff.
Realistically, the White Sox would be inclined to take a package of two or three solid prospects for the hurler. If I were Williams, I would look for a control pitcher and outfield prospect as my prize.
Unfortunately or fortunately (depending on your opinion), I'm not running the organization.
You might be wondering what the market is for a 29-year-old right-hander who has maintained a respectable 4.18 ERA in the American League earning a reasonable $7 million for this upcoming season. Well, I'm about to tell you.
The Baltimore Orioles
This destination might sound as a bit of a shocker, but it's not as far-fetched as it sounds.
The Orioles' pitching staff from top to bottom is shaky to say the least, evident by last year's 4.89 team ERA. Currently, the O's only three sure-fires in the starting rotation are Jeremy Guthrie, Zach Britton and Jake Arrieta. Brian Matusz, a former top pitching prospect, had an abysmal season, making many people worry that he could be a flop.
Wouldn't infusing a veteran righty into a rotation of young hopefuls be a good idea? I think so.
Floyd can provide the O's starting rotation with some much-needed experience, as well as a sense of reliability.
For those questioning whether or not Floyd can survive in hitter-friendly Camden Yards, keep in mind that he was effective at cozy U.S Cellular Field—another hitter's haven.
At $7 million for the upcoming season, his contract shouldn't be much of a deterrent for his acquisition. The White Sox can expect a decent package from the O's, perhaps including the likes of RHP Dan Klein or OF Xavier Avery.
Adding in the fact that Floyd's from Annapolis and can be a hometown favorite, you've got a pretty good fit.
The Colorado Rockies
If I were to describe Colorado pitching in one word, naturally I would use "rocky."
Entering the 2012 campaign, the Rockies' projected starting rotation includes Jhoulys Chacin, Jason Hammel, Drew Pomeranz, Alex White and Tyler Chatwood. That group of youngsters (excluding Hammel) posts a world of potential but very little experience.
Enter Gavin Floyd.
For one of these young starting pitchers, and perhaps an minor league pitcher or corner-infielder, Floyd can be a member of the Colorado Rockies.
I don't know much about the physics of the curveball in high altitude, but I've heard Sox TV fanatic Hawk Harrelson rave about Floyd's deuce during spring training in Arizona. There's altitude in Arizona, isn't there?
The NL West is always up for grabs, so why not risk taking a chance on Floyd? Colorado has the hitting to be compete in the division. Why not improve the pitching?
If I were Kenny Williams, I'd definitely call up Colorado GM Dan O'Dowd once he realizes that going with all youngsters might be a bad idea.
The Toronto Blue Jays
The Kenny Williams-Alex Anthopoulos relationship might be the most fascinating in all of baseball. They've traded like five times over the course in the last eight months! That's got to be some sort of record.
One of the two must feel like they can severely rip the other off. To this point, AA is portrayed as some type of GM guru who has made a killing robbing the not-so-genius Williams. Time will tell.
I don't see another move between Chicago and Toronto going down, but then again, maybe Williams forgot there are 28 other teams he can contact.
Nonetheless, a trade between the clubs for Floyd would make some sense. If the Blue Jays want any chance of competing with the Yankees and the Red Sox, they need some proven major league pitching. My guess is that Brett Cecil and Dustin McGowan don't necessarily excite Blue Jays fans to flock to the Rogers Centre.
Over the last three seasons, Floyd has posted pretty solid stats against the AL East (8-4), struggling only against these Jays. For Floyd's sake, I hope the mantra "if you can't beat em', play for em'" comes true.
If I were Williams, I'd look to pry Kyle Drabek and a young hitter off AA's hands. Too bad, Anthopoulos will probably counter with David Wells and Williams will accept.
The Kansas City Royals
I know that inter-division trades rarely happen, but this could potentially make sense for both parties. The Royals are loaded with young talent, boasting the likes of Eric Hosmer, Alcides Escobar, Billy Butler, Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain. Not to mention, Alex Gordon finally figured out how to play baseball.
They just don't have a lick of pitching. Until they come up with some type of intimidating presence on the mound, they'll continue to enjoy the cellar of baseball's weakest division.
There's no doubt about it: the team can rake with the best of them. Sox fans, what do our beloved White Sox need? Some semblance of young, consistent offensive production.
Kansas City has enough young studs where they can afford to take a risk on a guy like Floyd, who knows how to pitch in the American League.
I'm not saying Kansas City will be willing to give up Hosmer or even Mike Montgomery, but they have plenty of guys in the minors that the Sox would love to have. Realistic options include C Cameron Gallagher, RHP Jake Odorizzi and RHP Yordano Ventura.
Now, both teams just need to realize that this match is a win-win situation and overcome the stigma of trading with division rivals. Why can't everyone just get along?
The Boston Red Sox
The last and most realistic stop on our Gavin Floyd circus trip heads to lovely Fenway Park: home of the Boston Red Sox.
After Theo Epstein bolted for Chicago and Terry Francona dashed for TV, the Red Sox named Ben Cherington as their new GM and subsequently hired Bobby Valentine to be their next manager.
That's what happens when you blow a massive wild card lead and miss the playoffs for two years in a row in Boston.
From a player standpoint, the team let Papelbon walk (good riddance, he's so overrated) and sign for $50 million in Philly and haven't really done much to shore up their starting rotation.
Meanwhile, the Bronx Town Bombers have solidified their pitching staff by signing Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year deal and stealing Michael Pineda from Seattle. Needless to say, Boston's got work to do.
Word's out that Boston is aggressively pursuing SPs Roy Oswalt and Edwin Jackson. But if they deem those two pitchers' demands too deep for their pockets, they should pursue Floyd and his $7 million salary (with a $9.5 million cub option for 2013).
For the Carmines, Gavin can just pitch and not have to worry about being an ace. Additionally, he'll match up with more back-of-the-line starters, boosting his number of wins. Seems like a good fit to me.
From the other Sox's perspective, Boston's got enough minor league pizazz to entice Kenny Williams. Any combination of OF Brandon Jacobs, C Blake Swilhart, LHP Felix Doubront and SS Jose Iglesias should get a deal done.
What Will End Up Happening?
If Jackson or Oswalt sign with Boston, Floyd is going to stay with the White Sox for the time being.
The second a contending team loses one of its starting pitchers to injury in spring training, you can count on Williams trying to shop the 6"6 right-hander. Keep in mind that extra starting pitching is a luxury, and his reasonable salary makes him easy to keep.
But if the right offer comes along, Williams would be a fool not to take it.
Baseball America consistently ranks the White Sox at the bottom when it comes to minor league systems. Trading Floyd for above-average prospects would be a good start for an organization that direly needs a complete minor league overhaul.
So, for now, Sox fans, wait and see, and maybe Gavin will be pitching against us, whether it's in a Red Sox, Blue Jays, Orioles, Royals, Rockies or any other uniform.