Mandatory Credit: David Banks-US PRESSWIRE

Trade Options For a Starter


Mandatory Credit: David Banks-US PRESSWIRE

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?

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  • FredOwens

    I don’t like Dempster at all, not because of his salary or his pitching. His salary could be easily accepted if he continued to perform and he’s an ideal innings eater, number two starter doesn’t panic, has been a closer in the past and is a superb person. I like him but, he’s 35 will want a multi year deal, we would get no compensation (as I understand the new agreement) for him even if we made a qualifying offer under the new CBA. Mostly however he’s not an ACE.  Unless you believe Tommy Hanson will emerge as a losing streak stopping mound commanding pitcher ready to pitch games 1 4 and 7 (I don’t) the position of Ace is what we need to fill. Griencke ha snot shown the mental toughness for the role, ask the Brewers. The obvious ACE is Garza, he has the stuff and the experience and is I think extendable. The off the grid pitcher I like but who may be too pricey is Brandon McCarthy.
    McCarthy isn’t a known stud like Garza and his heater isn’t as hot and he isn;t teh post season experienced obvious Ace. However he has the chops for it and might relish getting into a race.
    They are remarkably similar – fastball speed aside – in the way they pitch and the movement on those pitches.
    He fits the Braves traditional mold (pre-mcdufuss at pitching coach) and might be just good enough to push is over the top,  He’s also 28 and young enough to lead the rotation supported by Huddy’s experience and allow Tommy, randall, julio and the rest to grow without so much pressure.

  • leetro

     @FredOwens I don’t know how you can say Garza is an “ace” while Greinke isn’t.  I will say that Dempster isn’t a top 20 pitcher either, but Garza is not as good as Greinke.  Plus, I don’t want to deal with Garza’s blowups at teammates (though he can blow a gasket at Fredi if he’d like.)  Greinke is the only pitcher available that I would consider ace quality, unless you’d want to sneak Cole Hamels into the mix.McCarthy has had a Beachy-type season, stranding runners at an abnormally high rate.  He really hasn’t had ace numbers outside of the ERA, so I wouldn’t call him a stopper.  He rebuilt his career after study sabermetrics, so I’d be all for him on the team, but he won’t outpitch Kershaw or Strasburg twice in a series.

  • FredOwens

     @leetro Garza isn’t Randy Johnson but he’s the closest to an ACES out there. Ask the Brewers if Greincke was their ace, they’ll say no. Garza’s post season era 3.48 WHIP 1.290 against CWS,Boston, Philly and Texas, much tougher lineups that the ones Greincke’s faced to earn his 6.48 ERA and WHIP of 1.629 against the cards and DBacks. Greincke has great stuff but is notoriously fragile.
    McCarthy isn’t my choice but he’s the kind of signing the Braves make and has been a much better pitcher in Oakland. He threw 171 innings last year and just came back from the DL but is on pace to do it again this year. He’s a solid two but has more consistent stuff than anyone other than Huddy in our rotation and he’s affordable.
    Hamels. Greincke, Marcum all the top echelon guys who might have been on the radar last year are off it this year because of the change to the FA rules; no draft pick for a rental essentially so giving up 4 prospects for Greincke would be flushing them down the toilet in October even with a “qualifying offer.”
    Garza and McCarthy are more realistic knowing FW’s distaste for giving up any prospect. Clayton Richard is probably available from the Padres and not too expensive so he’s possible as well because of an arb year in  2013.  he’s a good lefty and they’re number 1 now but his FIP is 4.19 so again not really a go out and stop them guy like Garza CAN be. Almost everyone else is in the race or don;t have a pitcher I’d want that they’d part with.
    Garza’s volatility doesn’t bother me. I think he can be an ACE given the chance, now if we could dump McDufus and get Leo for the rest of the year  I’d like that chance better