MLB Trade Rumors: Updating Best Suitors for Market's Top 10 Starting Pitchers
On Sunday afternoon, Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Roy Halladay was forced to leave in the second inning in Philly's game against the St. Louis Cardinals with what was termed as tightness in the back of his right shoulder.
Halladay is scheduled to see a doctor on Tuesday for further examination, and Phillies fans are certainly worried about the health of their own Doc.
The Phillies had been surging of late, getting back above .500 and sitting just five games out of first place in the NL East.
In addition, worries run rampant in the city of San Francisco as well.
Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum got lit up by the Miami Marlins on Friday night, allowing six runs on six hits in just 5.2 innings. Lincecum's recent effort puts him at 2-5 with a 6.41 ERA for the season, and folks in San Francisco are starting to wonder if something is physically wrong with the two-time Cy Young Award winner as well.
Lincecum denies anything is wrong, saying that one bad inning spoils his efforts each time out.
“If I could just eliminate that one bad inning, wherever it falls, that’s the big thing,” Lincecum said. “It has to do with being focused and being locked in on every pitch against hitters like that.”
The Giants and Phillies are just two possible playoff teams who have pitchers either performing poorly or suffering from health issues, so they could possibly joining several other teams who will be on the hunt for arms that can help for the playoff push.
Here is an updated list of suitors for 10 pitchers who will potentially be available before the trade deadline.
10. Jonathan Sanchez: Kansas City Royals
While there have been no specific rumors linking Kansas City Royals pitcher Jonathan Sanchez to any team at this point, it stands to reason that the Royals will at some point entertain offers for their struggling southpaw.
Sanchez has been on the disabled list dealing with a biceps injury and is scheduled to make a rehab start for Triple-A Omaha on Tuesday. At 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA in six starts thus far, Sanchez has been nowhere close to the pitcher that the Royals expected when they acquired him from the San Francisco Giants for outfielder Melky Cabrera during the offseason.
Potential Suitors: Los Angeles Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds
The Reds hold a 1.5 over the Cardinals in the NL Central, and Sanchez would give added depth to the back end of the rotation. Same with the Dodgers, who threaten to make the NL West a one-horse race at this point. Sanchez would only cost about $2.1 million if dealt at or near the trade deadline, so expense will not be a concern.
Not to mention that he's probably better off in the National League at this point.
9. Erik Bedard: Pittsburgh Pirates
On Sunday afternoon, Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Erik Bedard received some rare support, and he threw a gem against the Chicago Cubs, allowing just two hits in six innings in winning his third game of the season.
Bedard's 3.12 ERA and 3-5 record certainly indicates Pittsburgh's inability to support its pitching staff, and while the Bucs are just four games off the pace in the NL Central, their impotent offense continues to haunt them and will likely be their downfall as the season progresses.
Bedard is on a one-year deal with Pittsburgh, and considering their penchant for being sellers at the deadline, Bedard will be a hot topic of conversation for several teams
Boston Red Sox: Bedard is a known commodity to Boston, going 1-2 with a 4.03 ERA in eight starts at the end of last season. GM Ben Cherington could very well be monitoring Bedard closely.
San Francisco Giants: With Tim Lincecum's recent struggles, could Bedard be added to the Giants for added depth?
8. Gavin Floyd: Chicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox are riding a hot streak, winning nine of their last 10 games and sitting just a half-game off the pace set by the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central.
If the White Sox continue their inspired play, then the current roster isn't nearly as vulnerable to trade options. However, if the White Sox come crashing back down to earth, there will be teams calling about starting pitcher Gavin Floyd.
Floyd was the subject of several trade rumors this offseason, with the Toronto Blue Jays showing interest as late as March. The Boston Red Sox showed interest in the right-hander earlier in the offseason as well.
Toronto Blue Jays: The Blue Jays are hovering at the .500 mark right now; however, if they're anywhere near the hunt for the playoffs come late July, especially with the added wild-card slot, GM Alex Anthopoulos could very well re-visit talks with Chicago regarding Floyd.
7. Jason Vargas: Seattle Mariners
In 11 starts thus far in 2012, Seattle Mariners left-hander Jason Vargas has been excellent, with a 5-4 record and 3.39 ERA. Unfortunately for Vargas, his team is likely going nowhere this year, and he could easily fall victim to the same fate as former teammates Doug Fister and Michael Pineda.
The M's have a stable of young arms led by the trio of Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker and James Paxton, and dealing Vargas could net GM Jack Zduriencik another nice return. Vargas has one year of arbitration eligibility left, so his cost to other teams isn't necessarily prohibitive.
Detroit Tigers: Vargas drew interest from the Tigers last season in addition to Fister, and considering the poor starts of pitchers Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer, it's entirely possible that GM Dave Dombrowski could turn to the Northwest once again.
6. Joe Saunders: Arizona Diamondbacks
The Arizona Diamondbacks brought left-hander Joe Saunders back to the desert on a one-year, $6 million deal. However, with the plethora of top-tier pitching prospects in the D-Backs' system, it seemed pretty clear at the time that Saunders was acting as a bridge to those particular pitchers (Trevor Bauer, Tyler Skaggs et al).
Saunders has been consistent thus far—a 3-3 record and 3.79 ERA in nine starts—and with the Diamondbacks currently 10.5 games back of the Dodgers in the NL West and four games under .500, it stands to reason that GM Kevin Towers will entertain offers for Saunders.
Miami Marlins: The Marlins are keeping pace with the Washington Nationals, just 3.5 games off the pace. Adding Saunders as a late-season rental could make sense.
Cincinnati Reds: Could Saunders be an option to replace the struggling Mike Leake?
Baltimore Orioles: Yes, Baltimore could actually be buying! This is not a typo.
5. Ryan Dempster: Chicago Cubs
As a veteran with over 10 years of service in MLB and in his ninth season with the Chicago Cubs, starting pitcher Ryan Dempster holds complete veto power over any trade scenarios. However, is there a fit out there for Dempster that just might cause him to approve a deal?
Consider Dempster's numbers. When looking at any pitcher with eight starts and a 2.13 ERA, it would be safe to assume that pitcher would have a winning record, right? Not poor Ryan—he has yet to even win a game in 2012.
Think of what he could have done if he had some decent support.
Miami Marlins, Cleveland Indians, Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox: Every single one of these teams would be greatly benefited with the addition of Dempster. He has already sold his house in Chicago, so it's likely a veto of a trade won't be in the cards, especially if he has a chance to pitch for a pennant contender.
4. Matt Garza: Chicago Cubs
Much like teammate Ryan Dempster, Chicago Cubs pitcher Matt Garza could be had as well—if the Cubs don't lock him up to an extension first.
The Cubs are reportedly keen on doing just that rather than trading him, so his placement on this list would be a moot point if he and the Cubs can come to an agreement. At just 28 years of age, there is plenty left in the tank, and Garza would be a piece around which the Cubs could build upon.
Boston Red Sox: Garza would certainly fit in nicely in Boston, especially with his experience in the AL East while with the Tampa Bay Rays. With Daisuke Matsuzaka possibly coming off the books next season, there could be room to sign Garza.
Detroit Tigers: Tigers owner Mike Ilitch could very well be all-in for a Tigers run this season, so money likely won't be a problem for Garza and the Tigers.
3. Wandy Rodriguez: Houston Astros
With a 4-4 record and 2.14 ERA in 10 starts, the rumor mill hasn't cooled much regarding potential suitors for Houston Astros starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez.
New York Yankees: Rodriguez has never won more than 11 games, but that would certainly change in the Bronx.
Los Angeles Angels: The Angels are surging, Albert Pujols is heating up and the addition of Rodriguez would give the Halos an even scarier rotation with him on board.
2. Zack Greinke: Milwaukee Brewers
Much like Matt Garza earlier in this presentation, the Milwaukee Brewers would love to sign star pitcher Zack Greinke to a long-term extension. However, if talks break down, or if the Brewers change gears and decide to rebuild, Greinke could bring a nice return.
Toronto Blue Jays: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports said recently that the Jays could be players for Greinke; however, that would seem to fly in the face of recent history. Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has clearly preferred to build via trade rather than through expensive long-term contracts.
Atlanta Braves: With Tim Hudson getting a bit older and prone to injury, could Greinke be a fit in Atlanta? ESPN's Jim Bowden recently listed the Braves as a team who might have interest, but it seems unlikely given the plethora of pitching talent knocking on the door to the majors.
New York Yankees: Seriously, can the Yankees ever be counted out when it comes to spending, despite what Hal Steinbrenner says?
1. Jake Peavy: Chicago White Sox
At 6-1 with a 3.07 ERA in 10 starts, Jake Peavy is once again pitching like an ace. Unfortunately, it might be for a team that will consider dealing him.
The rumors have certainly been flying regarding Peavy's status in Chicago with the White Sox, and while they're flying high right now (nine wins in last 10 games), Peavy is fully aware that his time in Chicago might not be long if the team is out of contention by the trade deadline.
Toronto Blue Jays: It falls against the face of what Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos normally does; however, adding Peavy to the rotation, along with Ricky Romero and the emerging Brandon Morrow, would instantly make the Blue Jays a force in the American League.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle. Follow Doug on Twitter, @Sports_A_Holic.