Yesterday, I discussed the holes created in the Braves rotation, whether it’s due to injury, performance, or both. Today, I will discuss and analyze all the possible starting pitchers available on other teams that will likely to be looking to rebuild. There are quite a few teams already well out of postseason contention, so there will be a lot of pitchers to discuss.
The most talked about team with quality pitching available is the Chicago Cubs. Ryan Dempster has posted the best results so far, a 2.11 ERA in 81 IP. He has been fairly lucky, with his peripherals rounding out to a 3.24 FIP and 3.66 SIERA. He was essentially matching Brandon Beachy in both results and performance. The catch with Dempster is that he is owed $14M this year, which would result in about $5-6M for a typical July trade. If his ERA the rest of the year would align between his FIP and SIERA, he would provide 1-2 WAR.
Matt Garza is the popular choice among one of our writers and one of the few that would be more than just a two-month rental. He has a $9.5M salary for this year, which would leave the Braves with $3-4M to pay, and is eligible for a fourth year of arbitration, which would likely land him around $12-13M next year. He has a 4.07 ERA, 4.05 FIP, and 3.35 SIERA, so he would be likely to perform around the same level as Dempster. He would also require much more compensation, since he has the extra year of team control.
The Houston Astros are also all-but-out of the playoff race, leaving Wandy Rodriguez available. He has a tidy 3.29 ERA, but with a 4.16 FIP and 3.98 SIERA. This is not a good fit for the Braves, since his guaranteed contract is through 2013, and with a trade, his $14M team option becomes a player option, all but guaranteeing exercising it. No thank you…
The San Diego Padres have the worst record in the majors, and they may have a decent starter available. Clayton Richard has a 3.94 ERA, 4.19 FIP, and a 3.99 SIERA, so he’s even a notch below Rodriguez, and the Braves aren’t looking for multi-year average starters. The Minnesota Twins and Colorado Rockies are also well out of it, but pitching has been their problem, so no one is doing well enough to be traded.
We could reunite with an old stalwart Kevin Millwood. Seattle is 10 games under .500, and it is quite unlikely that a 37-year-old reclamation project is in their future plans. Millwood has a 3.69 ERA, 3.36 FIP, and 4.15 SIERA for the season. If money is a problem, this is a good solution, due to his $1M salary for this year.
The last team, who isn’t quite out of the race yet, has three starters approaching free agency. The Milwaukee Brewers could trade any combination of Zack Greinke, Randy Wolf, and Shaun Marcum if they fade throughout the next month. Greinke is clearly the best of the group, and one of the best in the game, posting a 3.10 ERA, 2.01 FIP, and a 2.52 SIERA. I think it would take a Sabathia-type package to get him, and there’s no guarantee of signing him long-term, so this can probably be ruled out.
Marcum has posted a FIP and SIERA just below 4.00, but he just missed his last start due to elbow tightness, so if that is lingering, his name can be thrown out. Wolf has struggled this year, with a 5.11 ERA, 4.45 FIP, and a 4.66 SIERA. The other problem is the $3-4M due the rest of the year and a $1.5M buyout, making his cost much worse than his production.
It has been published that the Braves have scouted Garza, so that indicates there should be some money available. If the asking price for Garza is too high, Dempster should also be in the realm of possibility. Millwood is a very low-risk replacement who would likely cost very little to get. Personally, I think Dempster is the best target for the Braves, but who do you think is the best fit?