The 2012 San Francisco Giants were able to overcome the drastic decline of two-time Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum, winning their second World Series title in three seasons. But not only has Lincecum continued to struggle in 2013, whatever he has seems to be rubbing off on the rest of the staff.
In 48 total starts (not including Cain's start on Thursday), Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong and Barry Zito—four-fifths of last year's rotation—have combined on a 4.91 ERA in 48 starts. Only 42 percent of those have been quality starts while they've allowed five earned runs or more 31 percent of the time. So in a nutshell, that quartet has turned into the bad version of Tim Lincecum.
Current No. 5 starter, 30-year-old journeyman Chad Gaudin, has given the team back-to-back quality starts in place of Vogelsong, who is on the disabled list with a fractured hand that could keep him out of action for two more months. It's been a much-needed shot in the arm for a pitching staff that didn't appear to have much depth outside of the starting five.
But even if you think Gaudin can keep this up with any sort of regularity, it doesn't change the fact that the rest of the rotation is not pitching anywhere near the level necessary to win the NL West once again. General manager Brian Sabean has plenty of success adding position players and relievers to his 25-man roster at the trade deadline. For the first time in a while, he'll probably be looking for a starting pitcher.
Here are five starting pitchers that Sabean could try to acquire and what it might take to acquire them.