We sit just two weeks in front of the Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline, which occurs on July 31. Already, we have seen one ace (Cliff Lee) get dealt to a new team, and there are several more arms that could be traded before 4:00 pm on the 31st.
And tonight, all of those pitchers are on the mound for their current teams. Could this be the last starts for their respective clubs? Will these starts act as auditions? Only time will tell.
The 34-year-old was the first of the rumored pitchers to throw today. He struck out 10 Phillies in seven innings, picking up a no-decision. It was a nice rebound outing after two dismal appearances, allowing a combined 14 earned runs in those games. His ERA is now just a tick over 4.00, and he could be a very serviceable lefty for any rotation.
The Mets are rumored to be very interested in Lilly, as the trading cost probably would not be as high as that of some of the other arms for sale. He is at the end of a four-year contract he had signed with the Cubs, and he does possess a no-trade clause. But with the Cubs falling out of contention, Lilly's days on the North Side could be drawing to a close.
Brett Myers' tenure in Houston may be short-lived. After enjoying several seasons of success in Philadelphia, Myers signed a 1-year, $5.1 million contract to pitch for the Astros, and he's done a commendable job. Coming into tonight's action, the soon-to-be 30-year-old has a 6-6 record and a 3.41 ERA.
He takes on the Pirates tonight, and clubs like the Mets, Yankees, and perhaps even the White Sox will be paying close attention. Of course, Myers' teammate Roy Oswalt is also highly rumored to be changing addresses by the end of July as the Astros continue to struggle in the NL Central.
Perhaps the most talented member of this list, Dan Haren can easily be an ace on just about any staff. In 2008, Haren, currently a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks, was the second part of a dominant 1-2 punch, along with Brandon Webb. But Webb has not thrown a pitch since Opening Day last season, and the D-Backs currently sit in last place in the NL West, 17.5 games off the pace.
Haren is having somewhat of a down year (as are most of the Diamondbacks). He comes into play tonight at a 7-7 clip and a 4.36 ERA. His 147 hits allowed are the most given up in the league.
But he has a track record of being a very reliable starter, and for a pitcher, he is a really good hitter. Therefore, teams in the National League will be taking a close look at Haren's start against the Padres tonight. His current contract expires at the end of the 2012 season.
He's owed $29 million guaranteed, with a $15.5 million club option for 2013. He'll be 30 years old two months from tomorrow, and his trade value is going to be very high. But like they say, in order to get something, you have to give something.
A certain Comeback Player of the Year candidate, Jake Westbrook looks like a new pitcher after missing the entire 2009 season following reconstructive right elbow surgery last June. Whatever those surgeons did, it sure did the trick. He comes into his start against the Tigers with a 5-5 record and a 4.75 ERA. But pitching for the lowly Indians, he's bound to have less-than-stellar numbers.
Westbrook will turn 33 in September and will be a free agent at the end of the season. He should be a cheap buy for a team looking for a bottom part of the rotation piece, like the Mets, Braves, or Dodgers.