MLB Trade Rumors: Ranking the 20 Best Pitchers Who Will Be Available
The list of available impact bats may be few, especially after the trade of Carlos Beltran to the San Francisco Giants, but there remain several impact arms that are available before this Sunday.
Edwin Jackson and Jason Frasor both had to be removed from this list with their trades, but there is no shortage of pitchers who were easily selected to step in and fill their spots.
Trying to rank these pitchers proved a little difficult when taking into consideration their value based on length of contract, age, performance this season and where they may fit with a new team. So, I decided to visit Baseball Prospectus and let them handle the ranking for me.
I would have slotted a few of these pitchers a little higher than others, but here is the order they wound up ranked, based on their value-over-replacement-player (VORP).
I expect there to be several differing opinions regarding how you would rank these pitchers, and which pitchers you may substitute out in favor of another pitcher. Please feel free to use the comment section to do so.
20. Chad Qualls
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Chad Qualls is one of many San Diego pitchers who is currently on the trade market and available for the right price.
For the season, Qualls is 4-5 with a 3.44 ERA in 50 appearances. He has struck out 26 batters and walked 13 in 49.2 innings pitched.
Qualls, 32 years old, will be a free agent following this season.
19. Kerry Wood
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Kerry Wood has gone 1-5 with a 3.45 ERA in 33 appearances for the Chicago Cubs in 2011.
The right hander has struck out 29 batters and walked 18 batters in 31 innings pitched.
Wood, 34 years old, is a free agent following this season.
Wood has a no-trade clause and does not intend to approve any trade that is proposed to him, making it highly unlikely he will be moved prior to the trade deadline, despite the Cubs' willingness to listen to offers for him.
18. Grant Balfour
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Grant Balfour has pitched well for Oakland, going 4-1 with a 1.98 ERA in 41 appearances.
He has struck out 42 batters while walking just 16 in 41 total innings.
The 33-year-old is signed through 2012, adding value for the A's in a trade since his acquiring team will keep him under club control beyond the remainder of this season.
The Texas Rangers are rumored to be interested in his services, although the A's may not be interested in dealing him.
17. Andrew Bailey
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Andrew Bailey has gone 0-2 with a 2.25 ERA after starting the season on the disabled list for the Oakland Athletics.
In 20 total appearances, Bailey has saved 12 games and struck out 21 batters in 20 innings pitched.
He remains under club control through 2014, making him extremely valuable in a trade.
The A's have made it clear they would need to be "overwhelmed" to move Bailey, however that has not deterred the Rangers' interest in his service.
16. Huston Street
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Huston Street has a 1-3 record with 27 saves and a 3.52 ERA in 48 total appearances for the Colorado Rockies this season.
He has struck out 43 batters and walked just seven in 46 innings pitched.
The 27-year-old pitcher is signed through 2012, giving the Rockies leverage in any potential trade as Street does not represent a rental player for a buying contender.
The trade-rumor site MLBTraderumors.com has stated that teams have inquired about Street, but there have yet to be any specific rumors regarding the closer.
15. Craig Breslow
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Craig Breslow, 0-2 with a 3.22 ERA in 44 total appearances, has struck out 31 batters while walking just 12 in 36.1 innings pitched this season.
Breslow, 30 years old, is arbitration eligible this offseason and will remain under team control through the 2013 season.
Breslow represents one of the top affordable lefty options for a contender to add to their bullpen.
MLBTraderumors.com has reported that the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees each have some level of interest in the A's lefty.
14. Heath Bell
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Honestly, I think Baseball Prospectus' stats may have this part of the ranking wrong. Heath Bell is definitely far better than the 14th-best option available...
Bell is 2-3 with 29 saves and a 2.40 ERA in 42 appearances so far this season. He has 31 strikeouts and 16 walks in 41.1 total innings pitched.
The 33-year-old closer is a free agent after this season.
The Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals appear to be the top suitors for Bell at this point.
13. Brad Ziegler
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Brad Ziegler has a 3-1 record and a 1.70 ERA in 41 appearances for the Oakland A's.
He has struck out 28 batters and walked 11 in 37 total innings pitched.
The underarm pitcher is under team control until the 2014 season.
According to Susan Slusser of The San Francisco Chronicle, Billy Beane's requests for Ziegler are reasonable, perhaps making him the most likely A's pitcher to be dealt.
12. Jason Vargas
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Jason Vargas is 6-9 with a 4.09 ERA for the Seattle Mariners in 21 games started this season.
He has struck out 86 batters and walked 38 in 134.1 total innings pitched.
The 28-year-old is under team control through 2013.
MLBTraderumors.com has noted that the Detroit Tigers are interested in the Seattle lefty.
11. Mike Adams
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Another ranking that I am pretty confident Baseball Prospectus' stats system got wrong. Mike Adams is arguably the best reliever available before the trade deadline. I'd have had him higher up, but I decided to leave things how they fell in their rankings...
Adams is 3-1 with a 1.15 ERA in 47 appearances for the San Diego Padres. He has struck out 48 batters and walked just nine in 47 total innings pitched.
Adams is arbitration eligible this offseason before becoming a free agent following the 2012 season.
The Padres would need to be "overwhelmed" to move him, but that hasn't stopped his name from popping up in trade rumors.
CBSSports.com's Scott Miller reported, via Twitter, that the Padres do not seem willing to trade Adams at this point.
10. Derek Lowe
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Derek Lowe has gone 6-8 with a 4.49 ERA in 22 games started for the Atlanta Braves this season.
Lowe has struck out 84 batters while walking 45 in 124.1 innings pitched.
The 38-year-old righty is signed through next season.
It currently appears as if the Braves will choose to hold onto Lowe rather than flip him for potential offensive help as they contend for the Wild Card down the stretch.
9. Wade Davis
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Wade Davis, who finished fourth in Rookie of the Year voting last season, is currently 7-7 with a 4.46 ERA for the Tampa Bay Rays in 18 games started.
He has struck out 50 and walked 38 batters in his 109 innings pitched so far this season.
He remains under club control through 2015 and is just 25 years old.
According to MLB Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, the Rays are willing to listen to offers for Davis.
8. Erik Bedard
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Erik Bedard could be a popular target if he has a good outing Friday evening against the Rays in his last start before the trade deadline.
Bedard is 4-6 with a 3.00 ERA in 15 games started for the Mariners this season.
He has struck out 85 batters and walked 26 in 90 innings pitched.
Bedard, 32 years old, is signed only through the end of this season.
Although it remains a possibility that Bedard could re-sign with the Mariners, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports has reported that the Yankees and Mariners will have scouts in attendance for his next start.
7. Doug Fister
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Doug Fister is another Mariner pitcher who is drawing interest before the deadline.
Fister is 3-12 but has a low 3.33 ERA in 21 games started this season.
He has struck out 89 batters and walked 32 in 146 innings pitched.
Fister, 27 years old, is under club control through 2015, making him extremely attractive compared to some other pitchers who would represent only rentals.
6. John Danks
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John Danks is 4-8 for the season with a 3.79 ERA in 17 games started.
Danks has struck out 81 batters while walking 32 in 107 total innings pitched.
The 26-year-old lefty is arbitration eligible in 2012 before becoming a free agent.
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweeted that Danks is available.
5. Jonathan Sanchez
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Jonathan Sanchez is 4-5 with a 3.81 ERA for the reigning World Champion Giants this season in 16 starts before going on the disabled list.
He had struck out 92 batters while walking 59 in 89.2 innings pitched.
The 28-year-old lefty is under club control next season before reaching free agency for the first time in his career.
Hearing his name in trade rumors is no new thing for Sanchez, as his name has circulated the rumor mills the past few seasons.
His name has been listed on MLBTraderumors.com as a player who could potentially find a new home this season, although no specific rumors regarding him are currently circulating.
4. Wandy Rodriguez
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Wandy Rodriguez has managed to put together a 6-7 record and a 3.60 ERA for the Major League-worst Houston Astros this season.
He has made a total of 18 starts, recording 100 strike outs and just 37 walks in 115 total innings pitched.
The 32-year-old lefty is signed through 2013 with a team option for 2014.
The Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees have emerged as potential suitors for Rodriguez, according to MLBTraderumors.com.
3. Hiroki Kuroda
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Hiroki Kuroda has a 6-13 record with a 3.11 ERA so far this season for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Kuroda has made 21 starts and recorded 103 strike outs while walking just 36 batters in 133 total innings pitched.
The 36-year-old righty from Japan is under team control through 2013 before reaching free agency.
The Detroit Tigers appear to be his top suitor, although it remains unlikely that they will meet the Dodgers' asking price. The Dodgers are said to be asking for a "significant piece" in return.
2. Gavin Floyd
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Gavin Floyd has a record of 8-9 with a 4.11 ERA in 19 games started this season for the Chicago White Sox.
Floyd has struck out 90 batters while walking 31 in 127 innings pitched this year.
The 28-year-old righty will remain under club control for 2012 before becoming a free agent at the end of next season.
1. Ubaldo Jimenez
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Ubaldo Jimenez is, without a doubt, the biggest prize on the trade market as far as pitchers are concerned.
Overall for the season, Jimenez is 6-9 with a 4.20 ERA in 20 starts.
His stats are drastically better pitching away from Coors Field in Denver, though. In away starts, Jimenez is 3-4 with a 2.83 ERA. His K/9 rate at home is 7.4 compared to 9.7 on the road.
For the season, he has struck out 116 batters and walked 47 in 122 total innings.
There has been no shortage of teams that have checked in on the Rockies ace in hopes that his success away from Coors Field will carry over to his new home if he is traded.
The 27-year-old righty is signed to a very team-friendly deal through 2012 with team options for 2013 and 2014.
The New York Yankees appear to be the favorite to trade for him, according to MLBTraderumors.com, although the Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati Reds, Washington Nationals and Toronto Blue Jays have all also been linked to him at some point over the past month.