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MLB Trade Rumors: Re-Ranking Top 20 Pitchers Available This Winter

Robert KnapelCorrespondent IDecember 13, 2011

MLB Trade Rumors: Re-Ranking Top 20 Pitchers Available This Winter

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    A number of pitchers have already been traded this winter and the biggest highlight so far has been the Trevor Cahill deal. There are a number of other pitchers that could be dealt this winter.

    Throughout the offseason, a number of pitchers have popped up on the trade market. Some of these pitchers are back-of-the-rotation guys, others are top-of-the-rotation guys, and others are closers.

    The following is a ranking of the best pitchers that could be traded this winter.

20) Mike Pelfrey

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    Just because the New York Mets tendered a contract to Mike Pelfrey this winter does not mean that he will be pitching in Queens next season. The team is listening to offers for him.

    Pelfrey has struggled at times and has failed to reach his potential. He could still be a serviceable back-of-the-rotation pitcher for whoever acquires him.

19) Carlos Zambrano

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    There is still a lot of uncertainty about the Carlos Zambrano situation in Chicago. The Cubs might be leaning towards keeping him, but if they get an offer for him they could take it.

    The Kansas City Royals have some interest in Zambrano and may continue to try to pursue a deal with the Cubs.

18) Jake Westbrook

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    Jake Westbrook had a decent year for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011 and he picked up a World Series ring with the team. However, the Cardinals could trade Westbrook this winter.

    While the Cardinals are exploring deals involving Westbrook, GM Jon Mozeliak thinks that Westbrook will remain in St. Louis.

17) Brett Myers

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    There is potentially going to be a fire sale in Houston this winter. If it does occur, Brett Myers may be on his way out the door.

    The Astros are willing to eat some money if the deal Myers. He would provide a veteran presence to the team that acquires him.

16) Wandy Rodriguez

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    While the Houston Astros are willing to include money in any deal involving Brett Myers, that is not the case with Wandy Rodriguez.

    This greatly diminishes the value that the Astros could get back for Rodriguez. In fact, it may prevent them from being able to move him.

15) Kyle Lohse

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    Kyle Lohse had one of the best seasons of his career in 2011. However, he has had an up and down career and the Cardinals do not know what to expect out of him in the future.

    St. Louis will put Lohse on the market and see what other teams are willing to offer for him. They do not expect to be able to get enough value back in order to move him.

14) Jeremy Guthrie

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    The Baltimore Orioles are open for business this winter and teams have been inquiring on a number of their players. The one that has been drawing a lot of interest from around the league is starter Jeremy Guthrie.

    Guthrie has had a number of good seasons but it has not been reflected in his record. He would benefit greatly from a move out of Baltimore.

13) Wade Davis

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    The Tampa Bay Rays have a problem that many teams would love to have. They have extra starting pitchers and can deal one.

    Wade Davis is one of the pitchers that the Rays are considering dealing. They could get a decent return if they deal Davis.

12) Gavin Floyd

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    After a great season in 2008, Gavin Floyd was not able to repeat the same level of success. However, he has still been a solid middle-of-the-rotation pitcher.

    The Chicago White Sox have already had meetings with teams about Floyd. He could be dealt this winter.

11) Brandon League

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    Brandon League has successfully made the transition into the closers role for the Seattle Mariners. As a result, other teams are interested in him.

    The Los Angeles Angels have expressed an interest in League. If they can trade for him, it would be the icing on top of their offseason.

10) Jon Niese

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    Young starters do not come on the trade market that often. Jon Niese is just 25 years old and he already has two full seasons of major league experience under his belt.

    The New York Mets have already begun listening to offers for Niese. However, they have not found anything that interests them yet.

9) Ricky Nolasco

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    Ricky Nolasco had one year of brilliance with the Florida Marlins but he has not been as good since. Nolasco is still a good pitcher.

    Although Nolasco was not previously on the trade market, Jon Heyman specified that the Marlins could look to deal Nolasco after they signed a free agent pitcher. Since Mark Buehrle is now a Marlin, Nolasco could be dealt.

8) John Danks

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    John Danks is another young starter that is available on the trade market this winter. He could be a team's prize acquisition this winter.

    The Chicago White Sox have no reservations about moving John Danks if they find the right offer. They have met with the Boston Red Sox to discuss Floyd.

7) Jacob Turner

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    Jacob Turner is not technically on the trade market, but that does not mean that he will not be dealt this winter. Turner is one of the most promising young pitching prospects in baseball.

    The Detroit Tigers have an interested in Gio Gonzalez and Turner's name has come up in the trade talks with the Oakland Athletics.

6) Andrew Bailey

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    Elite closers are hard to find, so it should come as no surprise that teams are lining up to try to trade for Andrew Bailey.

    The Oakland Athletics feel that they will eventually be able to move Bailey this winter.

5) Jair Jurrjens

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    With a number of young pitching prospects that are ready to break into the major leagues, the Atlanta Braves are trying to open up spots in their starting rotation.

    One solution for this may be trading Jair Jurrjens. The Colorado Rockies are just one of the teams that has expressed an interest in Jurrjens this winter.

4) Matt Garza

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    Matt Garza showed improvement after he was dealt from the Tampa Bay Rays to the Chicago Cubs. He moved into the upper echelon of National League starting pitchers.

    The Chicago Cubs are open to moving Garza now. The Texas Rangers have spoken with the Cubs about Garza, but the two sides have not been able to come to a deal.

3) Gio Gonzalez

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    Gio Gonzalez is the best pitcher that will realistically be dealt this winter. The Oakland Athletics have explored moving him all winter.

    Now that some of the top starters on the free agent market have signed, teams that missed out are trying to turn their attention to Gonzalez.

2) Jeremy Hellickson

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    Jeremy Hellickson has emerged as one of the best young starting pitchers in baseball. He was the 2011 American League Rookie of the Year.

    It is rare that a pitcher this young and talented comes on the trade market. The Tampa Bay Rays are listening to offers on him, but they will need a massive return to move him.

1) James Shields

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    Another pitcher that the Tampa Bay Rays are listening to offers for is James Shields. Just as with Hellickson, the Rays want a big return for Shields.

    He was one of the best pitchers in baseball in 2011 and he finished third in the American League Cy Young voting.

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