Here’s something that probably won’t be a surprise: starting pitching looks like it’s going to cost a lot on the trade market this year.
We saw this already when Jeff Samardzija was traded to the Oakland Athletics, with the Chicago Cubs getting multiple top prospects in return, highlighted by one of the best prospects in the game, Addison Russell. Based on the current rumored asking prices, it doesn’t look like the remaining pitchers on the market will come cheap.
**The Rays have been one of the hottest teams in baseball, and while they’re still under .500, they’re technically just a few games out of .500. This means David Price is almost certainly off the table, thus driving up the value for everyone else who might be available. If Price does become available, then the asking price will probably be insane.
**The Rockies wanted Kevin Gausman from the Orioles for Jorge de la Rosa, according to Jon Heyman. That’s the 33-year-old Jorge de la Rosa who has only pitched more than 130 innings twice in his career, and who currently has a 4.19 ERA in 116 innings for the Rockies, with a 4.11 xFIP that suggests things won’t be getting better. You can be the proud owner of this back of the rotation starter making the remainder of his $11 M salary, and heading to free agency in the off-season, all for the low price of one of the most promising young starting pitching prospects in the game.
**The Padres want Ian Clarkin and Eric Jagielo for Ian Kennedy, but the Yankees don’t want to pay that price, also according to Heyman. If that’s the price for Kennedy, then it might not be too bad from a rankings perspective. Clarkin and Jagielo can’t be found on any of the big pre-season top 100 lists, or mid-season top 50s. Baseball America had them ranked 7th and 5th in the Yankees system, coming into the year. However, there’s a lot of potential upside here, as both were first rounders last year. Both players received 55 potential and high risk ratings from BA. The Pirates had two players with that rating: Josh Bell and Harold Ramirez. JaCoby Jones was given a 55, but also an extreme rating. Bell may have moved beyond those rankings, but it’s also possible that one of the Yankees prospects (Clarkin, most likely) has also improved his stock. While this potential price for Kennedy seems reasonable, it also might not be complete. Heyman says the Padres need to be overwhelmed to move Kennedy.
**Jayson Stark says that Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels aren’t likely to be dealt. In regards to Hamels, he says that this is due to a price “that no one would possibly give up.” We heard earlier about how the Pirates don’t like the 2015 player option for A.J. Burnett. Stark says that the Orioles have lukewarm interest in Burnett, while the Yankees said “no thanks.”
**The Cubs want to trade Edwin Jackson. He does have a 3.95 xFIP, which suggests he’ll be better than his 5.61 ERA. However, his ERA is constantly worse than his xFIP, and he’s making $11 M a year through the 2016 season. Even if he does start putting up results closer to the advanced metrics going forward, I don’t think $11 M a year plus trading prospects to get him is worth it for his production.
Just to recap, if you want a top pitcher, be prepared to give up the farm. If you want a back of the rotation starter, be prepared to pay a price that you’d think would be reserved only for a top of the rotation guy. Kennedy seems like he could be the best value on the market, but with the Padres looking to be overwhelmed, it’s very possible that he could end up being over-priced.
For the Pirates, the most important thing in the final two months might be a healthy Gerrit Cole and having Francisco Liriano pitch the way he has been pitching in his last two starts. It seems that if they want outside help, the cost will either be a lot for something they already have, or way too much for an upgrade that might not be worth the massive price.
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