MLB Trade Deadline: Cole Hamels and 4 Others Who Could Bolster a Rotation

Stephen Sheehan@@StephenPSheehanCorrespondent IJune 18, 2012

MLB Trade Deadline: Cole Hamels and 4 Others Who Could Bolster a Rotation

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    As the days dwindle to the MLB trade deadline, teams will be searching left and right for starting pitching. Luckily for them, some top flight pitchers, including Cole Hamels, are on deck. 

    Although the price tag will be high for a World Series champion like Hamels, there are several other quality starters who could be on the move this summer. 

    With teams always in need of pitching help, let's take a look at five starters who could fortify a team's rotation for the second half of the season. 

Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies

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    Since he made it to the big leagues in 2006, all Cole Hamels has done is win 83 games and put together one of the most dominant postseason runs in leading the Philadelphia Phillies to a World Series title in 2008.

    Despite becoming one of the best lefties in the game, the 17th overall pick in 2002 is set to become a free agent after this season.

    The two-time All-Star has shown tremendous improvement throughout his career but has often been overshadowed by his two Cy Young Award-winning teammates Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.

    However, with over $95 million tied up in its top two starters (not including both players’ vesting options) the Phillies may not have the financial flexibility to lock up Hamels to a long-term deal.

    If Philadelphia continues to dwell at the bottom of the National League East, Hamels could be available to the right bidder, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.

Zack Greinke, Milwaukee Brewers

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    Zack Greinke has been a tantalizing, but sometimes frustrating player since he was taken ahead of stars like Prince Fielder, Cole Hamels and Matt Cain.

    The talented righty has overcome anxiety issues which threatened to derail his career and emerged as one of the better starters in the National League. 

    In 2009, Greinke strung together one of the best seasons of all time in capturing the AL Cy Young Award. At just 25 years old, the former Kansas City Royal won 16 games and struck out 242 batters while posting a minuscule 2.16 ERA.

    Since he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers, Greinke has continued to pitch well.

    This season, he’s already 7-2 with a 2.96 ERA for the fourth-place Brewers.

    Unless the Brewers can climb out of the cellar in the competitive NL Central, it might be wise to move Greinke for a good package of prospects. 

Ryan Dempster, Chicago Cubs

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    After becoming a full-time starter again in 2008, Ryan Dempster has quietly been one of the more consistent and underrated pitchers in the National League.

    Over the past four seasons, the 15-year veteran has averaged about 13 wins, 205 innings, 190 strikeouts and a 3.82 ERA.

    Although he only has a 3-3 record this year, Dempster ranks second in the National League with a sparkling 2.11 ERA.

    With the Chicago Cubs off to another terrible start, Dempster could be a solid addition to a team in search of an innings-eating starter.

    According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, Dempster is likely to be moved within the next two weeks, and the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers appear to be early candidates for his services. 

Matt Garza, Chicago Cubs

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    Like his teammate, Matt Garza is another Chicago Cub who could bolster a contender’s rotation in the second half of the season.

    The 6’4” right-hander certainly has the arm talent to be a good No. 2 or No. 3 starter, but his lack of maturity has prevented him from realizing his immense potential.

    Despite possessing a solid array of pitches, the former Tampa Bay Ray has never won more than 15 games in a season and has an underwhelming 54-59 career record.

    When examining his other numbers, Garza proves to be an above average starter. In 994.2 innings pitched, he has a solid 3.85 ERA and has started at least 30 games in four straight seasons.

    At 28 years old, and without a long-term deal, Garza could be a solid buy-low candidate for a contending team. 

Brandon McCarthy, Oakland Athletics

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    Once touted as a big-time prospect, Brandon McCarthy has mostly disappointed in the big leagues.

    However, the Oakland Athletics’ top starter finally started putting things together last season, finishing 9-9 with a 3.32 ERA.

    In 2012, the towering righty has gone 5-3 with a superb 2.79 ERA.

    For teams who can’t afford the high price tags of Cole Hamels or Zack Greinke, McCarthy could be a nice fallback option.

    Although he hasn’t been the picture of durability throughout his career, McCarthy could be a valuable low-cost addition for a team looking to fill a spot in its rotation.