According to New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman, the Bombers' search for rotation help is being impaired by a lack of decent options.
"Nobody's available," he said this week. "Nobody of value, anyway."
It's possible, albeit unlikely, that there aren't any teams actively shopping their best starting pitchers. But I have a very hard time believing the Yankees couldn't bag a decent starter if they made a good offer.
Here's a list of 10 starting pitchers for whom the Yankees could try to swing a deal.
We've heard conflicting reports over the past few days about Liriano and Minnesota's willingness to deal him.
Whether or not they've actually engaged the Twins in trade talks, it's safe to assume that the Yankees would love to bring him aboard.
For the Twins, selling their ace could mean losing the AL Central this year, so it would take a substantial return to make this worth their while.
Still, such a deal would certainly be possible.
In the wake of reports that the Giants are frustrated with Zito and he may lose his rotation spot in 2011, it's safe to assume he's on the trading block.
He's no longer an ace, but Zito is a good bet to throw close to 200 innings with an ERA in the low-4.00 range.
That kind of production isn't glamorous, but it's valuable.
San Francisco would probably give him away to any team that would take on the $65 million left on his contract.
Spending that kind of money wouldn't be any trouble for New York.
Silva rebounded from a miserable 2009 season to go 10-6 with a 4.22 ERA (3.75 FIP) in 21 starts with the Cubs last year.
After a fight with Aramis Ramirez in the dugout yesterday, you can bet the Cubs would love send him away, a la Michael Barrett.
The Yankees could take advantage of Chicago's desperation here and acquire a decent starter for a bargain price.
The White Sox have a surplus of pitching, and the $37 million Buerhle is owed through 2012 seems like a lot after they gave out long-term deals to Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko this winter.
In all likelihood, Buehrle will still be in Chicago on Opening Day.
But there's always a chance he could be dealt, and the Yankees would certainly be interested.
Ever since the Phillies signed Cliff Lee, Blanton's name has been popping up in trade rumors—not because Philadelphia doesn't want him, but because in this rotation, he may be the best fifth starter in recent memory.
The Phillies could probably find better uses for the $21 million Blanton will earn over the next two years.
A solid arm would mean a lot more to New York than it does for Philadelphia.
Several teams have called about Carmona this winter after he threw 210.1 innings with a 3.77 ERA in 2010. The Indians aren't looking to move him, but he'd surely be available for the right offer.
He's under team control through 2014, which means it would be easy to justify trading the good young prospects that would be necessary to get him.
Jeremy Guthrie may never live up to his once-storied potential, but he's emerged as a solid starter with the Orioles, throwing nearly 800 innings and posting sub-4.00 ERAs thrice in four years.
Baltimore isn't going to be rising in the standings anytime soon, and Guthrie would mean more to a contending team—say, the Yankees—than he does to the O's.
Let's say Liriano really isn't available when the Yankees call.
Cashman wouldn't have to hang up the phone just yet—he could inquire about someone else.
Minnesota has six starters battling it out for spots in the rotation this spring, and the decision would get a lot easier if they traded Baker.
He wouldn't be an ace for the Yankees, but he'd give New York close to 200 innings of above-average pitching from the middle of the rotation.
When the Brewers overpaid for Wolf last winter, it was because they had no solid starters to fill in their rotation behind Yovani Gallardo.
Now, with Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum in the mix, Wolf's presence is less important—especially since he still has $20.5 million left on his contract.
Over the last three seasons, Wolf has a 3.89 ERA in 620.1 innings of work.
A guy like that would surely interest the Yankees.
Last season was a lost year for Marquis, who missed most of the season to injury and posted a 6.60 ERA when he pitched.
But he's just one year removed from posting a 4.04 ERA while pitching in Coors Field, and his career 4.56 ERA shows that he's at least an average pitcher who could give New York some rotation stability.
This one is a bit of a stretch and it wouldn't happen until after the Yankees had gotten the chance to extensively scout Marquis, but it's certainly food for thought.