As the trade deadline approaches, Minnesota Twins fans are hoping the team adds another arm to the rotation to help push the Twins to an AL Central division title and beyond.
It was about this time last year when the Twins added Carl Pavano to the rotation. Pavano has emerged as the ace of the rotation with a 12-6 record and 3.26 ERA.
The Twins, typically bargain shoppers, don't appear to be in the sweepstakes for Roy Oswalt, Ted Lilly, or Dan Haren, the most mentioned pitchers in current trade rumors.
Looking to the rosters of potential sellers, here's a list of the top candidates that the Twins should consider.
The criteria used to rank these pitchers included salary, contract situation, and 2010 performance.
Brian Bannister leads the Royals starters in wins with seven.
He also leads the team in losses with nine.
The 29-year-old Bannister may benefit in a change of scenery.
Four of his five major league seasons has been spent with the bottom-dwelling Royals.
His stats are only a slight improvement over Nick Blackburn, and though the Twins might find his $2.3 million salary attractive, he will be a free agent next season and may not be worth renting for the second half of 2010.
Flying slightly under most teams' radars, Paul Maholm could be a nice addition for the Twins.
Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey, and Blackburn are nearly carbon copies of each other.
Adding another left-hander to the rotation would be a great complement to Francisco Liriano.
The 28-year-old is in his sixth season with the Pirates.
Maholm is currently 6-8 with a 4.13 ERA—better than that of every Twins starter except Pavano and Liriano.
He averages less than one home run per nine innings pitched, and a $5 million salary is not out of reach for the Twins.
The Pirates are currently in the NL Central basement.
A trade for Dan Haren may be out of reach for the Twins, but perhaps the Diamondbacks would be willing to part with Rodrigo Lopez.
This is the right-hander's first year with Arizona, and at 34 he may be too old to be a part of a rebuilding program.
With only a $650,000 salary he may be a steal if the Twins could package one of their current starters who are all six to eight years younger.
With an ERA of 4.58 and a WHIP of 1.32, Lopez is an improvement to the bottom end of the rotation.
Yes! That Carlos Silva!
According to reports, the Twins are listed on Ted Lilly's no-trade clause of his contract.
If the Cubs are looking to rebuild, they might be willing to trade Silva.
Silva, in his ninth season, and first with the Cubs, was signed as a free agent after two very unproductive years in Seattle.
He currently leads the Cubs in wins with a 9-4 record and a 3.86 ERA.
The 31-year-old Silva appears to be on pace to have one of his best seasons since 2004, his first with the Twins when he went 14-8 with a 4.21 ERA.
Silva having spent four seasons pitching for Rick Anderson and Ron Gardenhire could be an advantage for the Twins.
He was known as an innings-eater for the Twins when he averaged 193 innings a season.
The downside would be his $12.75 million salary. This is almost three times what the Twins were paying him in 2007.
The odds of the Cleveland Indians trading their ace are pretty low, unless the price is right.
Fausto Carmona currently leads the Indians with a 10-7 record and 3.51 ERA.
At only 26 years old, this could be a great addition, not only for this year, but for several years.
Carmona is under contract through 2011, with three club options for 2012, 2013, and 2014.
The question is, would the Indians be willing to trade another decent starter to a division rival?
The Roy Oswalt trade appears to be stalled, never mind that with a $25 million salary, the Twins were probably never in the mix for his services.
Factoring in his $3.1 million salary, Brett Myers may be the best starter this year for the Astros.
At 29 years old, Myers is only three years Oswalt's junior.
A free agent at the end of the season, Myers could be a decent rental player, with an opportunity to sign to a long-term contract.
He compares favorably with the Twins staff, currently with a 7-6 record for the fifth-place Astros.
One thing to be considered for potentially signing him to an extension is after nine seasons in the National League, would he welcome a trade to the American League?
Adding the 2009 Cy Young Award winner would be a great addition to the Twins staff.
In order for the Royals to trade the 26-year-old Zack Greinke to Minnesota, the return would have to be substantial.
In his seventh season as part of the Kansas City rotation, the Royals have never finished better than third in the division.
Would they part with their ace as part of an annual rebuilding project?
As the third starter in the Twins rotation, would a change of scenery propel Greinke to excel?
Signed through 2012, adding Greinke to the starting rotation could be just what the Twins need to separate themselves from the Tigers and White Sox and get them past the divisional round of the playoffs.