Where are the top landing spots for the best remaining MLB pitchers reportedly on the market?
The MLB’s Tuesday trade deadline is rapidly approaching and teams are, as usual, hurrying to try to make short or long-term fixes to their ball clubs. Teams are made and broken with late July deals of this kind.
Due to the new collective bargaining agreement, recent changes in trade deadline rules have altered the way teams are approaching this year’s deadline. Teams are less willing to take on “rental players” due to those changes which specify that teams will not receive draft-pick compensation for acquiring those players.
Let’s take a look at the big name pitchers who are reportedly on the trade market and where they will likely end up, if anywhere, before Tuesday’s deadline.
Josh Johnson, SP, Miami Marlins
Johnson has a favorable contract situation and has a vast amount of potential working in his favor. He’s a very desired commodity, one of the best potential targets for clubs looking to improve the middle-to-bottom of their rotation. His ceiling is certainly much higher, but with his inconsistent play, especially on the road this season, is he worth the risk?
That’s the question teams are asking themselves right now as the Marlins continue to desire a hefty ransom in exchange for the right-hander.
Top Landing Spot: Texas Rangers: With the Angels adding Zack Greinke to their rotation, the Rangers need to make a move in order to keep pace. The Rangers are reportedly interested and engaged in talks, but not fully committed to the idea of surrendering the asking price due to concerns about Johnson. Also, they don’t need to hoard prospects when they are ready to compete and win a World Series NOW.
Most Likely Landing Spot: Miami Marlins: The Marlins are asking way too much for their ace in a down year. If they are willing to get more flexible, something may catch fire. However, as it sits right now, don’t be surprised
Matt Garza, SP, Chicago Cubs
Matt Garza may have been shutdown until after the trade deadline, but that hasn’t stopped the speculation and rumors about where the Chicago Cubs right-hander will end up.
MRI shows fluid still in Garza's triceps. Won't pitch until after trade deadline.— Doug Padilla (@ESPNChiCubs) July 27, 2012
According to Jon Heyman, CBS Sports baseball insider, the Cubs are reportedly looking to move the starting pitcher after breaking off contract extension talks this past spring. The timing of Garza’s injury may have stalled the Cubs ability to move him before Tuesday’s deadline, but they certainly are not going to stop there.
Heyman also said the team will more than likely continue to pursue trade options into the winter if they cannot move him now.
Top Landing Spot: Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers need to upgrade their starting rotation as they begin to make a push for the postseason. As buyers right now, they may be able to cut a deal to get Garza cheaper due to the injury that has him sidelined until after the trade deadline. However, the Cubs may be willing to wait until winter in order to get full value for Garza.
Most Likely Landing Spot: Chicago Cubs: The Dodgers are buying right now and may be able to lure Garza away from Chicago for the right price. However, due to his injury, the Cubs may be stuck and unable to move him as desired.
James Shields, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
Shields told media that his recent struggles haven’t been attributed to the mental effects of trade speculation and rumors that have surrounded the right-hander.
Rays manager Joe Maddon said, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, he doesn’t think the Rays will move Shields before the deadline.
"All this conjecture does occur, and there's reasons why they're pointing at James. But I still believe in my heart of hearts that it's not going to happen, and it's going to move on and we're going to be normal and he's going to pitch like he can over the last two months of the season."
At the same time, if Shields doesn’t recover from this slump he is in, this may be the most opportune time for them to benefit from dealing their former ace.
Top Landing Spot: Atlanta Braves: The Braves are interested in Shields and are currently in position to make some noise in the NL pennant race. They’ve got young pitching talent that Tampa desires and would be ideal trade partners. They need to do something in order to maintain pace with the other wild-card hopefuls: Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals and L.A. Dodgers. All of those teams are looking to improve at the trade deadline and the Braves are no different.
Most Likely Landing Spot: Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays will likely hold onto Shields and hope he turns the corner and returns to his former self down the stretch. The team is currently in the running for a wild-card berth and selling now, especially a talent like Shields, would signal giving up by general manager Andrew Friedman.
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