Checking In On Some AL Central PitchersPosted: May 31, 2011
As the calendar turns to June, General Managers all over baseball start glossing over their major league and minor league rosters looking for players who they can trade and parts of their team that they want to fortify to make a late season run. Brian Cashman is no exception to this as he will certainly be surveying the trading market for starting pitching.
Sure the Yankees starting rotation has held up through the first two months of the season posting a 3.86 ERA as a whole while striking more than twice as many hitters as it walks, but there can always be an improvement. No one knows how much longer Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia are going to last. They are pitching well right now, but as more teams see them, better scouting reports will be produced on them forcing them to make adjustments.
So who could Cashman pull the trigger for? Well, let’s take a look at the American League Central. The standings in this division are almost completely backwards. The Indians are in first while the Twins are in dead last. The two teams we will take a look at are the White Sox (8.5 GB) and the Twins (14.5 GB).
Let’s start with the ChiSox. I can see the Yankees trading for either John Danks or mark Buehrle. Edwin Jackson is another who could be traded, but I don’t think the Yankees will trade for him for two reasons. First of all, he has a very high walk rate and is still maturing as a pitcher when they need someone who can jump in and help them right away. Also, the Bombers only have one lefty starter and that is CC Sabathia so it wouldn’t hurt to add another just to help balance things out.
Everyone knows who Mark Buehrle is from his behind the back and between the legs throws the first and the no-hitters, but he could be a very good fit in New York. He’s been effective for his entire career in the American League, he’s pitched on the big stage, he doesn’t walk a lot of hitter, and his contract is up after this year so he would just be a rental. So far in 2011 he is 4-4 with a 3.63 FIP. Buehrle could be a very good fit here.
John Danks is the other Chicago starter worth looking at. At 26, he is more of an under-the-radar guy, but has a track record. However, this year, he has been pretty bad. His strikeouts per nine innings have dropped by more than one while walks per nine innings have increased.
He is 0-8 with a 4.84 FIP and is still trying to get into a rhythm. This is weird year though for Danks because in every year from 2008-2010 he posted an ERA below four and right now his is above five. Maybe it’s just temporary dip, but it should lower his trade value.
Now on to the Twins. There is one pitcher that has been discussed for a few months now and he is Francisco Liriano. Liriano is a young lefty who is under team control through 2012 and has a good track record. However, like Danks, he has struggled this year as his peripherals have dramatically worsened.
His BABIP is still low which means the stuff is still there, but he isn’t locating the way he used to and is walking more than three more per nine innings in 2011. He could be a good fit though if could show signs of bouncing back because this has decreased his trade value. Also, Minnesota has shown some interest in lower tier prospects like Eduardo Nunez and Ivan Nova, both of which I would definitely part with.
So these are just some options in the American League Central. There even more pitchers worth a look in the National League. Maybe I’ll set another post aside for those guys. The one thing you have to remember about the three south paws above is that they are not worth the Killer B’s or the big three catchers, but some lower level prospects. It will be interesting to see if Cashman actually looks into these options.