Currently, the Kansas City Royals sit at 29-35 and 5 games out of 1st place in the American League Central. If they can continue streaking, could they actually become buyers at the trade deadline?
Royals fans are all too used to the same story at the trade deadline every year. Let’s see what assets we have that other contending teams might want and see if we can turn those into anything useful for the future. Is it possible, that with the way the Royals have played since ending their 12 game losing streak in April, that they could actually become buyers at the deadline this year? One can only hope. And barring any injuries to position players, the primary need will be Starting Pitching. So as we sit about 6 weeks away from the trade deadline, let’s examine what starting pitchers might be available for the Royals to pursue.
Cole Hamels (Phillies)-The Philadelphia Phillies are currently 9 games out of first place in the National League East. Hamels is a free agent after this season, and all signs point to the Phils not being able to re-sign him. Assuming they don’t agree to an extension before the deadline, and that the Phillies don’t right the ship, you can bet they will be listening to offers.
Zack Greinke (Brewers)-Same situation as above. Milwaukee is 8.5 games out of first place, Greinke is a free agent, and the chances of the Brewers re-signing him are very slim. If they don’t right their own ship, they will be looking to trade him for a similar package of prospects that they traded away to get him from the Royals.
Shaun Marcum (Brewers)-Again, if the Brewers aren’t in contention, they will be looking to move Marcum, who is also a free agent at the end of 2012 and a Kansas City native as well.
Brandon McCarthy (Athletics)-McCarthy is having another very solid season, and will be a free agent after this season. And the Oakland Athletics are going nowhere in 2012, so it would be shocking to see him finish the season in an A’s uniform.
Francisco Liriano (Twins)-While it is not likely the Minnesota Twins would be willing to trade Liriano to a division rival like the Royals, he is also the guy on this list that would command the least in return. There is no denying his ability, so he would be worth a gamble for the Royals or another team in need of starting pitching for the stretch run.
Wandy Rodriguez (Astros)-The Astros are trying to rebuild, and though Rodriguez is signed through 2013, they don’t figure to be contending until after that. So he will likely be made available at this year’s deadline. The left-hander would be a solid addition to the Royals staff not only this year, but next year as well if they could land him.
Ryan Dempster (Cubs)-Dempster has pitched very well this season, but the Chicago Cubs are the worst team in baseball and Dempster will be a free agent after the 2012 season. It is highly unlikely the rebuilding Cubs would be willing to invest in a multi-year deal with the 35 year-old Dempster, so he is bound to be made available.
Matt Garza (Cubs)-Garza will be arbitration-eligible after this season, and a free agent after the 2013 season. Like the Astros, the Cubs don’t figure to be competitive until long after 2013, so they might as well move him while he has value.
So as you can see, there should be no shortage of capable starting pitchers available at the deadline. And the Royals have no shortage of desirable prospects to deal away. It would sure be nice to have the shoe on the other foot for a change.