MLB Trade Rumors: 5 Offseason Targets for Teams Losing out on Ubaldo Jimenez
So Ubaldo Jimenez is now a member of the Cleveland Indians, leaving many teams in need of a starting pitcher without the prize they desired.
While waiver deadline deals can be worked out until August 31st, teams who lost out on the Jimenez sweepstakes will be in the market for a starting pitcher this offseason.
A few quality starters may become available on the trade market, and teams in need might jump at the opportunity to acquire one.
Some of the available starters have actually had a better track record that Jimenez.
Here are five starting pitchers that teams failing to acquire Jimenez may target this offseason.
5. Paul Maholm, LHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
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If the Pittsburgh Pirates weren’t hanging on the fringe of contention, Paul Maholm would be long gone.
The supposed ace of the staff has pitched in tough luck all year but has actually pitched quite well.
Maholm has a $9.75 million option on the table for 2012. The Pirates may choose to exercise that option but then explore trade opportunities—most likely having to eat some of the salary.
He’s a perfect middle-of-the-rotation guy, whose value is increased from being left-handed.
He may not be Ubaldo Jimenez, but he could be an impact player for a team next year.
4. James Shields, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays
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James Shields’ name was whispered at this year’s trade deadline as a potential fit for several contenders.
However, the Tampa Bay Rays could not find a suitable deal.
This offseason though, the Rays may be inclined to pull the trigger.
Shields is set to make $7 million in 2012 if the Rays exercise his option, and he’ll make $21 million the next two seasons if his 2013 and 2014 options kick in.
The Rays could look to shed this payroll and continue to develop their young prospects—a process that has worked well for the team over the past few years.
Shields is a front-of-the-rotation starter who would be a nice alternative to Ubaldo Jimenez.
3. Ryan Dempster, RHP, Chicago Cubs
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The 35-year-old Ryan Dempster isn’t as effective as he once was as evidenced by his 4.87 ERA.
But Dempster has proven he can be a durable member of the rotation. He’s made at least 31 starts each of the past three seasons and is well on his way to that mark this year.
In an attempt to make a play at Albert Pujols, the Chicago Cubs may look to clear as much payroll as possible.
Dempster has a $14 million player option on the table. Most likely, he will exercise that, but the Cubs can still try to move him.
Dempster is a very similar case to Ubaldo Jimenez in that both had one stellar season and a few decent ones in their careers.
2. Felix Hernandez, RHP, Seattle Mariners
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As much as Seattle Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik keeps saying that he will not move Felix Hernandez, this offseason may be a prime time to move him.
King Felix is due for an $8.5 million increase and will make upwards of $19.5 million in 2013 and 2014.
This is an exorbitant amount of money for the Mariners, who might be better off trading Hernandez for several major league ready prospects that can contribute immediately.
Zduriencik would likely ask for a team’s top two prospects at least as well as other young talented players.
With some good young players like Michael Pineda and Dustin Ackley on the rise, the Mariners may decide to keep Hernandez.
However, there will be teams—especially those that missed out on Ubaldo Jimenez—lining up for his services.
1. Chris Carpenter, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
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All of a sudden, Chris Carpenter is 37.
After a few injury-plagued seasons, he’s put together three solid seasons. However, his tenure in St. Louis may be winding down.
Though every team would love having two aces, Carpenter may become expendable once Adam Wainwright returns next year.
With Albert Pujols willing to test the waters of free agency, the Cardinals must spend wisely if they plan on retaining arguably the best hitter in the game.
Carpenter has a $15 million club option on the table, and rather than letting him just walk, the team could get some value in return if it chooses to sign him and then deal him.
With Ubaldo Jimenez off the market, Carpenter could be one of the most viable starting pitching options available.