Predicting Each MLB Team's Starting Rotation After Trade Deadline

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYFeatured ColumnistJuly 22, 2013

Predicting Each MLB Team's Starting Rotation After Trade Deadline

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    Nine days.

    The countdown to MLB's non-waiver trade deadline has reached single digits, and with that, general managers around the league are scrambling to make moves that put their teams in a better position to contend, if not in 2013, then in 2014 and beyond.

    While it's become cliche to say that pitching wins championships, there's some truth there, and multiple contenders are on the hunt to bolster their starting rotations for the stretch run.

    Yet there are only a limited number of established starters available on the market, each one coming with a significant cost—both in terms of money and the prospects it would take to acquire them—that quickly eliminates many would-be suitors from the equation.

    But make no mistake about it, some well-known pitchers will be wearing a different uniform by the time August 1 rolls around.

    Here's a look at what I think your favorite team's starting rotation is going to look like after the trade deadline.

    *Players who are currently injured and are not expected back until sometime in August were not included in their teams' respective rotation, though some are mentioned.

    *New additions are in bold.

    *All statistics courtesy of and current through games of July 21.

Baltimore Orioles

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    Predicted Starting Rotation

    Wei-Yin ChenL
    Jason HammelR
    Chris TillmanR
    Miguel GonzalezR
    Scott FeldmanR


    While many Orioles fans hoped that the team's acquisition of Scott Feldman from the Cubs earlier this month would be followed up by another move at the deadline, that's simply not going to happen.

    There's no room left in the team's budget to add anymore salary, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, so this is the rotation that the Orioles will count on to keep them in games—and the playoff picture—down the stretch.

    The recently acquired Feldman has looked good in two of his three starts, and if he's able to give the Orioles a performance along the lines of what the team got from Joe Saunders last season—a 3.63 ERA and 1.28 WHIP—it should be more than enough to help the team win some games.

    If there's a weak link in the group it's veteran Jason Hammel, who has allowed at least four earned runs in 10 of his 19 starts and struggled to keep the ball in the park. Since May 5, Hammel has pitched to a 5.92 ERA and 1.53 WHIP, allowing the opposition to post an OPS of .850.

Boston Red Sox

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    Predicted Starting Rotation

    Jon LesterL
    Ryan DempsterR
    John LackeyR
    Jake PeavyR
    Felix Doubront L


    Per Rob Bradford of, Clay Buchholz is preparing to go see the legendary Dr. James Andrews. While that doesn't necessarily mean that his season is over, it's the kind of news that doesn't fill you with warm, fuzzy thoughts if you're a Red Sox fan.

    Or if you're GM Ben Chernington, who goes out and acquires Jake Peavy from the White Sox for a package that includes SS Deven Marrero and RHP Anthony Ranaudo to ensure that the rotation remains solid.

    Sure, Boston has a plethora of young pitching to call upon in Buchholz's absence, but that group is inexperienced and, with a few exceptions, never stepped foot on a major league mound.

    Down the stretch in a pennant race isn't the time to give any of them a shot.

    Peavy gives the team another experienced, veteran arm to count on, capable of delivering a quality outing whenever he takes the ball. More importantly, Peavy serves as insurance against the worst-case scenario with Buchholz.

    If the prognosis is that Buchholz needs season-ending surgery—which at this point would likely cost him part of next season as well—the Red Sox would still have Peavy in the mix, as the veteran is signed through the 2014 season with a $15 million team option in 2015.

New York Yankees

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    Predicted Starting Rotation

    CC SabathiaL
    Hiroki KurodaR
    Andy PettitteL
    Ivan NovaR
    Michael PinedaR


    Gone from the rotation is the once-untouchable Phil Hughes, traded to Seattle in exchange for 1B/OF Mike Morse, which creates a spot for former Mariners starter Michael Pineda to make his debut in pinstripes.

    Pineda, who was absolutely dominant in the first half of the 2011 season, earning a spot on the AL All-Star team before fading down the stretch, could provide the jolt of life that the Yankees' rotation needs.

    Outside of Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova, New York's starters, specifically CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte, have been mediocre at best: 

    Rest of Rotation4.571.332.467.51

    Hughes, a free agent after the season who was unlikely to be retained by the team, had been shopped around as part of a package that included reliever Joba Chamberlain and catching prospect J.R. Murphy to no avail.

    Brian Cashman makes the wise decision and breaks the trio up to acquire Morse, who fills the team's need for an inexpensive right-handed bat with power.

Tampa Bay Rays

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    Predicted Starting Rotation

    David PriceL
    Jeremy Hellickson R
    Matt MooreL
    Roberto HernandezR
    Chris ArcherR


    Few teams in baseball have the kind of pitching depth that Tampa Bay does. GM Andrew Friedman uses that depth to bolster the team's lineup, sending RHP Alex Colome and a lesser arm to Minnesota in exchange for Justin Morneau. 

    While the roughly $6 million that Morneau is still due this year would seem to be a sticking point for the financially-strapped Rays, by including a top prospect like Colome, Friedman is able to convince the Twins to pick up the bulk of that remaining salary.

    Moving Colome doesn't change that depth, as Tampa Bay has five capable starters in the rotation already, with Alex Cobb (concussion) potentially returning in early August to reinforce the unit.

Toronto Blue Jays

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    Predicted Starting Rotation

    R.A. DickeyR
    Mark BuehrleL
    Esmil RogersR
    Josh JohnsonR
    Todd RedmondR


    With all due respect to Esmil Rogers, that he's the ace of a starting rotation that includes Mark Buehrle, R.A. Dickey and Josh Johnson shows just how badly things have gone for Toronto this season.

    That's why it makes no sense for the Blue Jays to go out and acquire another starting pitcher—not after the team traded away a bunch of its best pitching prospects before the season and certainly not with how the standings look, with Toronto needing to leap over multiple teams to have a shot at a playoff spot.

    It also makes no sense for the team to trade Josh Johnson, who only last year was one of the hottest names on the rumor mill as the trade deadline approached before Miami ultimately decided to keep him. With his value as low as it ever was, there's no way the team would get close to a fair return.

    Brandon Morrow, who has been out since the end of May with tightness in his forearm, is expected back sometime after the trade deadline and could provide some immediate relief to a disappointing group.

Chicago White Sox

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    Predicted Starting Rotation

    Chris SaleL
    Jose QuintanaL
    Dylan Axelrod R
    John Danks L
    Hector SantiagoL


    Jake Peavy is the most attractive pitcher on the market, not only because of his resume, but because he's under team control through the 2015 season, with the last year being a team option.

    While multiple teams come calling, GM Rick Hahn ultimately decides to trade Peavy to Boston for a terrific three-player package that includes a future member of the rotation, RHP Anthony Ranaudo, and the team's shortstop of the future, Deven Marrero.

    Even with the team in rebuilding mode, the offers the White Sox receive for John Danks and Hector Santiago fall well below expectations, and the decision is ultimately made to keep them in the fold.

Cleveland Indians

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    Predicted Starting Rotation

    Justin Masterson R
    Ubaldo JimenezR
    Zach McAllisterR
    Corey Kluber R
    Scott KazmirL


    Despite having a shaky rotation that could very well undermine the team's hopes of returning to the playoffs for the first time since 2007, Cleveland isn't going to move one of its top prospects for a rental.

    While the team certainly has interest in Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo, it doesn't have the high-end pitching prospects that Milwaukee is looking for to pull off a deal. Not to mention that the Indians are on Gallardo's no-trade list.

    Options like San Diego's Jason Marquis and Edinson Volquez aren't necessarily upgrades over what Cleveland already has, and with Zach McAllister expected back right around the trade deadline, the Indians stand pat and hope that his return gives the rotation the boost that it needs.

    Danny Salazar could also figure into the team's post-deadline rotation, as the 23-year-old right-hander was very impressive in his major league debut earlier this month against Toronto, tossing six innings of two-hit, one-run ball while striking out seven. 

Detroit Tigers

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    Predicted Starting Rotation

    Justin VerlanderR
    Max Scherzer R
    Anibal SanchezR
    Doug Fister R
    Rick Porcello R


    No changes are coming to Detroit's rotation, which, despite Justin Verlander's struggles, has been one of the 10 best in baseball this season. 

Kansas City Royals

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    Predicted Starting Rotation

    James ShieldsR
    Jeremy GuthrieR
    Ervin SantanaR
    Wade DavisR
    Bruce ChenL


    Kansas City isn't going to listen to offers for Ervin Santana, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. You can't blame GM Dayton Moore for taking that stance, despite the team's slide in the standings.

    Santana, acquired in one of the more lopsided trades this past winter in exchange for career minor league reliever Brandon Sisk, has been fantastic, leading the team's revamped rotation in both ERA (3.18) and WHIP (1.07).

Minnesota Twins

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    Predicted Starting Rotation

    Kevin CorreiaR
    Scott DiamondL
    Samuel DedunoR
    Kyle GibsonR
    Alex ColomeR


    Alex Colome arrives from Tampa Bay in exchange for Justin Morneau, replacing Mike Pelfrey, who is traded to Colorado for a mid-level prospect. Minnesota's future rotation begins to take shape, with Colome and Kyle Gibson the foundation.

    Plenty of teams call on Kevin Correia, but the Twins don't hear a package they like and keep the veteran, who is signed for 2014 at a very budget-friendly $5.5 million.

Houston Astros

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    Predicted Starting Rotation

    Jordan Lyles R
    Erik Bedard L
    Dallas Keuchel L
    Jarred CosartR
    Brad PeacockR


    After fielding multiple offers from a number of teams, Houston trades Bud Norris to San Francisco for RHPs Martin Agosta and Clayton Blackburn. While both are still about a year away from making an impact in the big leagues, they are young, controllable arms that fit into the rotation the Astros are trying to build.

    Jarred Cosart and Brad Peacock return from the minor leagues to finish out the season for the Astros, picking up valuable experience that will help them as full-time members of the major league rotation in 2014.

Los Angeles Angels

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    Predicted Starting Rotation

    Jered WeaverR
    C.J. WilsonL
    Joe BlantonR
    Tommy HansonR
    Jerome WilliamsR


    The Angels are a mess, and that includes the starting rotation. But after spending nearly a half-billion dollars to sign Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton over the past two years, there's no room to add significant salary to the payroll in the form of a quality starting pitcher.

    Even if the team could afford to add salary, the farm system lacks the kind of high-upside prospects that are typically required to add such a piece.

Oakland Athletics

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    Predicted Starting Rotation

    Jarrod ParkerR
    Tommy MiloneL
    Bartolo ColonR
    A.J. GriffinR
    Dan StrailyR


    The performance that the A's have gotten from their rotation is one of the biggest reasons that Oakland (57-41) has the fifth-best record in all of baseball.

    With no reason to mess with the current mix of starters or the team's depth at the position, GM Billy Beane has a rather uneventful few days leading up to the deadline.

    Should Oakland need another starter, however, the team has options internally to fill the spot.

    Sonny Gray is waiting in the wings after a fantastic two-game relief stint while Brett Anderson, the team's Opening Day starter, is making progress in his return from a stress fracture in his right foot. When he does finally get back on the hill, he'll replace Dan Straily at the back end of the rotation.

Seattle Mariners

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    Predicted Starting Rotation

    Felix HernandezR
    Hisashi Iwakuma R
    Joe SaundersL
    Phil HughesR
    Aaron HarangR


    Seattle's front office and coaching staff are feeling the pressure this season, as changes could be coming if the team doesn't show some progress after seeing its win total increase each of the past three seasons, with 75 in 2012.

    Currently, the team is on a 74-win pace. That's not progress.

    With that in mind, GM Jack Zduriencik moves one of his veteran bats, 1B/OF Mike Morse, to the Yankees in exchange for Phil Hughes, a free agent after the season that the team was likely going to have interest in anyway. 

    Hughes has appeared in five games at Safeco (three starts), going 4-0 with a 0.82 ERA and 0.96 WHIP over 22 innings, walking seven and striking out 18. 

    The deal gives the Mariners roughly two months to see if Hughes is a long-term fit for Seattle, and it allows them to continue to take things slow and steady with top prospect Taijuan Walker, who almost assuredly will be called up when rosters expand in September.

    While teams call about both Aaron Harang and Joe Saunders, the return that the Mariners would receive for either veteran starter wouldn't help the team win games this year, so the Mariners decide to hang onto the pair.

Texas Rangers

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    Predicted Starting Rotation

    Yu DarvishR
    Derek HollandL
    Matt GarzaR
    Alexi OgandoR
    Martin PerezL


    After what seems like forever, the deal to bring Matt Garza to Texas is completed, with the Rangers sending a package of three prospects, including 3B Mike Olt, to Chicago.

    While he's the best pitcher available at the deadline, that doesn't mean that he's a front-of-the-rotation guy. There's no question that the 29-year-old is an injury risk, having missed significant time both this year and last—and the Rangers have multiple pitchers dealing with injury as it is.

    That said, Garza is solid and has been part of American League pennant races before, having spent 2008 through 2010 with Tampa Bay. That experience makes him a great fit behind Yu Darvish and Derek Holland, giving skipper Ron Washington a third reliable starter to lean on.

    The rest of the rotation remains in flux with multiple players, including rookie Martin Perez, the seemingly always-injured Alexi Ogando and Colby Lewis, who is currently working his way back from elbow surgery last July.


    The Rangers acquired Cubs' starting pitcher Matt Garza on Monday, July 22.

Atlanta Braves

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    Predicted Starting Rotation

    Tim HudsonR
    Paul Maholm L
    Kris Medlen R
    Mike MinorL
    Julio Teheran R


    Atlanta's starting rotation has been one of the best in baseball this season, with only Philadelphia (62) and Detroit (61) getting more quality starts out of their groups than Atlanta (59). Clearly, the Braves don't need another starter, but they're getting one, as Brandon Beachy is getting close to returning.

    Beachy was one of the best pitchers in baseball last season before injuring his elbow in June and undergoing Tommy John surgery. With the quality of the Braves' rotation, the team doesn't need Beachy to rejoin the rotation right away.

    The best move for Atlanta—and Beachy—would be to use him out of the bullpen for the rest of the 2013 season. If you remember, Kris Medlen was used as a reliever during the first half of 2012 as he worked back into form after the same procedure.

    Not only would such a move limit the wear and tear that Beachy would put on his surgically repaired elbow, it would also bolster a bullpen that lost Eric O'Flaherty and Jonny Venters for the season.

Miami Marlins

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    Predicted Starting Rotation

    Jose FernandezR
    Jacob TurnerR
    Nathan Eovaldi R
    Henderson AlvarezR
    Kevin Slowey R


    Kevin Slowey would seem to be a likely trade candidate, but it makes no sense for Miami to move him. He'll be arbitration-eligible after this season, and given his $750,000 salary, he isn't going to receive a budget-busting raise.

    With Ricky Nolasco no longer around and none of the team's other four starters over the age of 23, keeping a veteran in the mix is important, even if he is, at best, an average major league starter.

New York Mets

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    Predicted Starting Rotation

    Matt HarveyR
    Jeremy HefnerR
    Dillon GeeR
    Zack WheelerR
    Carlos TorresR


    Trading Jeremy Hefner is something that the Mets consider, but realizing that he's not going to bring back enough of a significant value in a trade, Sandy Alderson opts to keep the 27-year-old, who is under team control through 2018 and could occupy a back-of-the-rotation role for years at a minimal cost.

    The potential late-August return of Jonathon Niese, out since mid-June with a partially torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder, is a big deal, not only because a healthy Niese is a very good pitcher, but with both Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler working under strict innings limits, Niese is needed to pick up some of the slack.

Philadelphia Phillies

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    Predicted Starting Rotation

    Cole HamelsL
    Cliff LeeL
    Kyle KendrickR
    Jonathan Pettibone R
    John Lannan L


    Despite being no better than a .500 team with a flawed roster and an aging core, the Phillies refuse to trade Cliff Lee while his value is at its highest—a wise decision in the short term but one that, in the not-so-distant future, will be viewed as a costly missed opportunity to rebuild the club on the fly.

Washington Nationals

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    Predicted Starting Rotation

    Stephen Strasburg R
    Gio GonzalezL
    Jordan Zimmermann R
    Dan HarenR
    Taylor JordanR


    After Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez, Washington's rotation has issues.

    Jordan Zimmermann has pitched through a painful neck injury for months, Taylor Jordan is on an innings limit and Dan Haren has been, well, terrible. Clearly, reinforcements are needed.

    But GM Mike Rizzo is a realist, and while his team is still technically in the hunt for a playoff spot, he realizes that the odds of the club making a run to the postseason are fading fast. With that, he decides to not trade prospects that could be part of the future for a short-term fix at the back of the rotation.

    While it's a wildly unpopular decision among fans, Rizzo's decision to roll with the starters the team currently has is the correct one to make.

Chicago Cubs

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    Predicted Starting Rotation

    Jeff Samardzija R
    Edwin JacksonL
    Travis WoodR
    Carlos VillanuevaR
    Jake ArrietaR


    After playing hardball with Texas for weeks, the Cubs finally agree on a deal that sends Matt Garza to the Rangers for a package that includes 3B Mike Olt and RHP Neil Ramirez, the latter not making an impact in the major leagues until next season.

    In Garza's place steps Jake Arrieta, acquired from Baltimore earlier in July as part of the trade that sent Scott Feldman to the Orioles. Also on the horizon is Scott Baker, who hasn't thrown a major league pitch in over a year after undergoing Tommy John surgery, though he won't make his Cubs debut until late August.

Cincinnati Reds

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    Predicted Starting Rotation

    Mat LatosR
    Bronson ArroyoR
    Homer BaileyR
    Mike LeakeR
    Tony CingraniL


    Cincinnati's rotation has been one of the best in baseball this season—a pretty remarkable feat considering that the team's best starter, Johnny Cueto, has made three stops on the disabled list and been out of action since the end of June with tightness in his right lat.

    While Tony Cingrani has done a great job filling in for the team's injured ace, getting a healthy Cueto back at some point in August will be as big a move as the Reds could make to bolster the group.

Milwaukee Brewers

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    Predicted Starting Rotation

    Yovani Gallardo R
    Kyle Lohse R
    Wily PeraltaR
    Tom Gorzelanny L
    Donovan HandR


    While there has been much speculation as to Yovani Gallardo's future in Milwaukee, GM Doug Melvin comes to the realization that trading an asset when its value is at its lowest is never a wise choice and keeps the team's struggling ace.

    The fifth spot in the rotation will continue to be a revolving door for the rest of the season, with RHPs Marco Estrada, Alfredo Figaro and Mark Rogers all figuring into the mix once they return from their respective injuries that have kept them sidelined for chunks of the season.

Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Predicted Starting Rotation

    A.J. BurnettR
    Jeff LockeL
    Francisco LirianoL
    Gerrit ColeR
    Charlie MortonR


    Pittsburgh's starting rotation has been as good as any in baseball this season, with the lowest ERA (3.31) and batting average against (.234) in MLB.

    There's no reason for the team to even look at making any changes to the group, which has reinforcements coming at some point in August with the eventual returns of RHP James McDonald and LHP Wandy Rodriguez. 

    Seeing as how the Pirates are going to be cautious with Gerrit Cole,  it wouldn't be at all surprising to see him shifted to the bullpen to limit his innings once Rodriguez is ready to return to action sometime in August.

St. Louis Cardinals

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    Predicted Starting Rotation

    Adam WainwrightR
    Lance LynnR
    Shelby MillerR
    Jake WestbrookR
    Joe KellyR


    With the deepest farm system in baseball and a need at the back end of the rotation, the Cardinals have been linked to multiple starting pitchers on the rumor mill.

    Yet GM John Mozeliak isn't about to move his top prospects for anything other than a young, controllable front-of-the-rotation arm, and that pitcher simply isn't available. 

    So the Cardinals roll along with the same rotation that has gotten them this far, hoping that Chris Carpenter can return to the fold at some point in August and help the team at the back end of the rotation.

    Prospects Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha also figure to make some starts for the club down the stretch.

Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Predicted Starting Rotation

    Ian KennedyR
    Wade Miley L
    Patrick CorbinL
    Randall DelgadoR
    Brandon McCarthyR


    Arizona GM Kevin Towers kicks the tires on a handful of starting pitchers leading up to the trade deadline, but he is unable to find a deal that he likes, so Arizona's rotation remains largely unchanged.

    Brandon McCarthy, on the disabled list since the end of May with a shoulder injury, rejoins the rotation right around the trade deadline, while Trevor Cahill, out since the beginning of July with a hip injury, returns to action shortly thereafter.

    Top prospect Archie Bradley won't figure into the mix until rosters expand in September.

Colorado Rockies

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    Predicted Starting Rotation

    Jhoulys Chacin R
    Jorge De La RosaL
    Tyler Chatwood R
    Juan Nicasio R
    Mike PelfreyR


    Colorado won't trade its best prospects to rent a starting pitcher for a few months, but it's able to acquire Mike Pelfrey from Minnesota for a mid-level pitching prospect.

    While Pelfrey is far from a front-of-the-rotation arm, the 29-year-old has pitched better than his numbers show, and he keeps the ball on the ground—a key ingredient to any pitcher having success at Coors Field.

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Predicted Starting Rotation

    Clayton Kershaw L
    Zack Greinke R
    Hyun-Jin Ryu L
    Ricky Nolasco R
    Chris Capuano L


    While the Dodgers check in on multiple starting pitchers leading up to the deadline, the team ultimately decides against pulling the trigger on a deal, instead focusing on the bullpen and acquiring Milwaukee's Francisco Rodriguez to shore up the ninth inning.

    Both Stephen Fife (shoulder) and Ted Lilly (neck) will return to the fold at some point in August, giving the Dodgers options at the No. 5 spot in the rotation should Chris Capuano continue to deliver mediocre outings. 

San Diego Padres

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    Predicted Starting Rotation

    Edinson Volquez R
    Eric Stults L
    Andrew Cashner R
    Tyson RossR
    Anthony BassR


    The team tries to trade Edinson Volquez but can't find a team willing to offer anything of value for him, so he stays put. Jason Marquis would have been the team's best trade chip, but as the veteran is on the disabled list until after the trade deadline, he also remains in sunny San Diego.

    Needing to fill two spots in the rotation, the Padres call up Anthony Bass and Tyson Ross, having no real expectations of success—only that the pair will eat some innings for the club.

    It's all about 2014 for San Diego, when the rotation figures to include current members Eric Stults and Andrew Cashner, along with three injured arms: Casey Kelly, Cory Luebke and Joe Wieland.

San Francisco Giants

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    Predicted Starting Rotation

    Matt CainR
    Madison Bumgarner L
    Tim LincecumR
    Barry ZitoL
    Bud NorrisR


    While some view San Francisco's acquisition of Houston's Bud Norris as a sign that the defending World Series champions are making a run at a playoff spot, that's only partially correct.

    By trading a pair of pitching prospects to Houston—RHPs Martin Agosta and Clayton Blackburn—the Giants not only shore up the rotation for the rest of this season, but have a pitcher in place for 2014 as well, when both Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito could be playing elsewhere.

    Lincecum, who has been the subject of rampant trade speculation, doesn't get traded, as the Giants view him as a high-end starter and expect a return commensurate for such a commodity.