“Which MLB teams have pitching depth to trade?” is sort of a trick question. If you ask any general manager in the league, they’ll tell you that you can never have enough pitching depth.
And they’re not lying. The average number of starting pitchers used by each team in 2012 was 10. The Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants were in the best shape with their starting fives making 161 and 160 starts, respectively.
Both teams won their division by a wide margin, but what if the division races were closer and a starting pitcher or two had to spend time on the disabled list? The Reds would be counting on the likes of Todd Redmond, while the Giants probably would’ve gone with Eric Hacker or Yusmeiro Petit.
So, as the Giants and Reds proved, a team can still succeed with only five very good starting pitchers. That team just better hope that all five can stay healthy, which is such a long shot these days.
The St. Louis Cardinals, for example, appeared to have more than enough pitching depth coming into spring training. But once news broke that Chris Carpenter would miss the season with reoccurring nerve irritation in his shoulder, this was no longer the case.
In regard to minor league pitching depth, they have a lot in common with the other teams in baseball. Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha are close, while Joe Kelly and Shelby Miller have already arrived.
But with the current state of the roster, only one of Kelly and Miller would be available in Triple-A and no other pitchers on that Triple-A roster would have any big league experience or are considered to be major league ready. Since Jaime Garcia’s shoulder woes from 2012 could always reoccur—he avoided surgery for a small tear with rest and rehab—it’s no surprise that they’re looking to add another starter:
Cards are asking about a SS as well as P. Interested in Lucas Harrell and Bud Norris of Astros— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) March 16, 2013
With all that said, there are still a handful of teams with sufficient starting pitching depth, giving them leverage in any trade with a pitching-starved team that might overpay to get one of their extra arms.