Now that the first domino has fallen on trade deadline day with the Boston Red Sox reportedly trading Jon Lester to the Oakland Athletics, teams that lost out on the ace left-handed pitcher are opting for Plan B.
There is still a solid crop of hurlers that could be available to teams prior to Thursday’s 4 p.m. ET non-waiver trade deadline.
The Philadelphia Phillies could be the busiest on this day as they are shopping starters Cliff Lee and A.J. Burnett and perhaps Cole Hamels.
They are discussed below along with two other pitchers who might be on the move Thursday to a division leader or playoff contender in what is a heavy sellers’ market.
Record: 11-7 (22 starts through July 30)
Innings: 163 2/3
Contract status: Still owed about $4.75 million US this season on $14 million deal. Also arbitration eligible for the final time in 2015.
The price for the Tampa Bay Rays left-hander reportedly has been raised this week. But for a team like the Los Angeles Dodgers, who already boast Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu, the addition of one of the best pitchers in the game would make them a huge World Series threat. Price, 27, has appeared in nine playoff games (four starts) and has one victory with a 5.06 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and .271 batting average against.
Record: 6-5 (19 starts)
Innings: 130 1/3
Contract status: Locked up through 2019.
It’s believed the Philadelphia Phillies recently talked Hamels with the Los Angeles Dodgers and were asking for their top prospects, outfielder Joc Pederson, shortstop Corey Seager and pitcher Julio Urias. The Phillies reportedly are telling teams it wants three top-tier youngsters and another mid-level prospect for Hamels, who has pitched more than 200 innings in five seasons. He has been at the top of his game of late, yielding a 1.58 ERA since June 1. The 30-year-old left-hander has won seven of 13 post-season games with a 3.09 ERA, fanning 77 in 81 2/3 innings.
Record: 4-5 (12 starts)
Innings: 78 2/3
Contract status: Signed through 2015 season with team option for 2016.
The word is the Philadelphia Phillies want significant prospects in return for the 35-year-old Lee. It’s believed they would absorb part of Lee’s contract in a trade in exchange for the right prospects. Lee is guaranteed roughly $48 million through the end of the 2015 season. He didn’t fare well in his first two starts after returning from an elbow injury, allowing 21 hits and nine runs in 10 2/3 innings. He could be an August trade candidate as he is expected to clear waivers. Lee is 7-3 in 11 playoff starts with a 2.52 ERA, three complete games and 89 strikeouts in 82 innings.
Record: 8-9 (22 starts)
Innings: 135 1/3
Contract status: One arbitration year remaining.
The right-hander is on track for his most productive season since 2011 with Arizona (21-4, 2.88 with 198 strikeouts in 222 innings. But his trade value might have taken a bit of a hit when he was scratched from Monday’s scheduled start due to a strained left oblique (rib cage) muscle. However, there is talk of him being ready to pitch this weekend. Kennedy has pitched at least seven innings in six of 22 starts. He has a 4.26 ERA in two playoff starts.
Record: 6-10 (23 starts)
Innings: 149 2/3
Contract status: Owed about $2.5 million US rest of this season, with $12.75 million player option for 2015.
For weeks, Burnett’s name has been linked to Pittsburgh, where he pitched last season and thrived with 10 wins and a 3.30 ERA to go with 209 strikeouts in 191 innings. What might stand in the way of a return to the Pirates is Burnett’s likely $12.75 million US player option for next season. Burnett, 37, has also not stood out come playoff time as evidenced by his ugly 6.37 ERA in eight starts that includes his two-inning stinker (seven earned runs) for Pittsburgh last year.