The Rockies are in the market for a pitcher. At least, that’s what the GM is saying. This means it’s time for some trade speculation — wild, unfounded speculation. In fact, I’ve decided to turn this weekend into a Blake Street summit about how to improve this team. Today, we are talking pitchers. Tomorrow, I’ve got a real special little surprise. Well, it’s not really that special, but hopefully it will be interesting.
Yesterday, Jon Heyman wrote a piece for SI breaking down the pitchers that might become available as the trade deadline approaches. It’s a lengthy list and Heyman is a man in the know, so I figure it’s a great place to start for the purposes of this discussion.
To begin with, I’m not even going to bother discussing relievers. Trading for a big name reliever doesn’t fit the Rockies model, and, as I said yesterday, they don’t need any help in the pen. The focus here will be on starters. Based on the names Heyman mentioned in his article, I’ve picked my top five. However, if you want to make a case for one of the other guys on the list, I’d love to hear from you.
Through 800 plus innings at the big league level, John Danks has been a solid major league pitcher capable of accumulating innings — nothing more. Of course, he’s also just twenty-six. He’s a durable lefty that can throw strikes. Typically, guys like that have very long careers. He’s not going to replace DLR, but he would be a nice addition to the staff.
If the Rockies traded for Danks, they would have his services for the rest of this year and next year. Although, they would have to go through the arbitration process with him this off-season. He is certainly worth the look. However, the White Sox are much more likely to trade another pitcher, who we will get to in a moment.
I don’t know why the Braves would trade Lowe during a playoff push, but Heyman seems to think it’s possible. He’s old and won’t ever dominant anyone, but Derek is solid. Currently, his FIP 3.59 and he’s always around 200 innings at the end of every season. Plus, he’s a veteran with a ton of playoff experience.
Kuroda is the same age as Derek Lowe, but he doesn’t have the same kind of experience. However, when he healthy he’s a better pitcher than Lowe. Oddly, Kuroda is one of the few pitchers you’ll ever find who’s ERA is actually reflective of how he has pitched. Over his career, his ERA and FIP are almost the exact same — 3.52.
There are a couple of problems. One, he’s never thrown over 200 innings in a season, and, at his age, you have to question his durability. And two, he’s overpaid at $12 million a season and he’s arbitration eligible before 2012. That’s probably going to get expensive.
I put Rodriquez at two, but he’s not far behind one this season. This has more to do with his contract than anything, but I’ll get to that in a second. Out of every one on this list, Wandy is going to be the closest replacement to De La Rosa. He is a lefty with a nice assortment of stuff, though he lacks DLR’s devastating change. Not to say he doesn’t have a change-up, but it’s nowhere near DLR’s. Still, he’s solid. This season his FIP is 3.74 and it’s been under 4.00 in each of the last three seasons.
Wandy is locked up through 2013 with a 2014 team option that becomes compulsory based on his performance. This year he is making $7 million. That’s acceptable. However, next season that figure bumps up to $10 million and then up to $13 million in 2013 and 2014 if that year vests. Oh yeah, and he’s thirty-two. I’m not a big fan of making that kind of commitment.
Currently, Jackson is sporting a 4.47 ERA and I’m hoping that the White Sox still evaluate baseball like it’s 1982. Edwin has been very solid this year — much better than most realize. His FIP is a very respectable 3.21 and he’s sporting a 2.1 WAR right now. Out of all these pitchers, he projects as the best pitcher for the rest of the season.
Also, there is no commitment with Jackson. He is an outright free agent at the end of the season. This means that the White Sox are going to be more willing to move him, and, if he walks from the Rockies, they will get a compensation pick — ideally a first rounder. In a perfect world, they would be able to replace whatever they give up for him.