MLB Trade Talk: 5 Teams Who Could Show Interest in Gio Gonzalez
That means Oakland will entertain calls for Gio Gonzalez, their 25-year-old southpaw.
Gonzalez went 16-12 with a 3.12 and 1.32 WHIP in 2011, and Oakland might actually pull the trigger on a deal because he is arbitration eligible this offseason.
The following are five possible landing spots for Gonzalez.
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees accomplished their No. 1 goal of the offseason—retain CC Sabathia.
Even with Sabathia anchoring the rotation, however, the Yankees could still be on the prowl for another starter.
AJ Burnett and Phil Hughes have left the front office unconfident in their abilities, Freddy Garcia faded down the stretch, and Bartolo Colon will not be re-signed.
Other than Sabathia, Ivan Nova is the closest resemblance to reliable in the Yankees rotation.
If the Yankees can't land one of the few decent pitching options on the market, they could definitely show interest in Gonzalez.
You'd have to think that almost any Yankee pitching prospect—with the exceptions of Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances—would be available.
New York Mets
Once again, Mike Pelfrey delivered an underwhelming season, and the remainder of the New York Mets rotation didn't pick up the slack.
RA Dickey led Mets starters with a 3.28 ERA, but the knuckleballer battled inconsistency all season.
The Mets would definitely like to add another arm this offseason, but with so much competition for the few above-average starters on the free-agent market, they might be better suited pursuing a trade.
Johan Santana will be the team's ace in 2012, but Jonathan Niese is the rotation's next-best southpaw. As a No. 2 or No. 3 starter, Gio Gonzalez would offer another reliable left arm.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays already have a formidable pitching rotation anchored by David Price and James Shields, but they have the prospects the Oakland Athletics would likely seek in a deal for Gio Gonzalez.
Obviously, Matt Moore isn't available, but the Rays have several other highly-rated pitching prospects, including Chris Archer and Alex Colome.
If Tampa and Oakland reach a deal for Gonzalez, imagine the Rays' 2012 rotation: Price, Shields, Gonzalez, Jeremy Hellickson and Moore.
On paper, that would be the AL's best.
If you don't think the Baltimore Orioles need to bolster their starting rotation, you're sadly mistaken.
No Orioles starter had a sub-4.00 ERA in 2011; Jeremy Guthrie led the rotation with a 4.33 ERA.
Zach Britton was ephemerally the sole bright spot, but he posted a 6.25 ERA over the season's final four months.
Baltimore has several prospects that could be traded for Gio Gonzalez, who could help stabilize the rotation.
The Orioles would be hesitant to trade top 50 prospect Manny Machado, but most other prospects would probably be available.
Kansas City Royals
Bruce Chen is a free agent, and a few teams have already shown serious interest.
If the Kansas City Royals can't re-sign Chen, their most successful starter of 2011, they will be even more desperate for starting pitching.
The Royals have a very solid lineup, but ineffective pitching doomed them to a 71-91 2011. Only Chen posted a sub-4.00 ERA, and in their fleeting search for decent pitching, the Royals started 11 different pitchers.
Gio Gonzalez could certainly strengthen the Kansas City rotation.
With Eric Hosmer ahead of him, Clint Robinson—MLB.com's No. 7-rated first base prospect—could be a prime candidate to be traded. Billy Beane would have to listen to a deal involving the prospect.