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Three Post-Waiver Trade Targets: Pitchers

Posted By Jack Moore On August 3, 2012 @ 4:37 pm In 2012 Trade Deadline,Athletics,Brewers,Red Sox | 23 Comments

Dave Cameron already covered the best and most obvious candidate in Cliff Lee here. Here are three more pitchers who could get moved as a post-waiver deal:

Brandon McCarthy

McCarthy could potentially pass through waivers due to the shoulder injury he suffered back on June 24. Although he’s already in the middle of a rehab assignment, he was crushed (six runs in 3.2 innings) in his first start. As such, he could potentially slip through waivers.

Although it would seem odd for the A’s to deal a pitcher of McCarthy’s caliber — 2.54 ERA, 3.39 FIP and coming off a similar season last year — they have much bigger needs than starting pitching right now. Oakland starting pitchers notched a 3.60 ERA and 3.26 FIP with McCarthy out.

Instead, the Athletics have major needs on the left side of the infield. Brandon Inge (.221/.278/.398, 82 wRC+) has somewhat stabilized the position, giving them at least some pop and a good glove. But shortstop remains a disaster, with Brandon Hicks‘s .183/.246/.417 in 65 PA the best hitting performance the club has seen at the position this season. Cliff Pennington and Eric Sogard own wRC+ marks of 51 and 42 respectively.

McCarthy’s is eligible for free agency after the season. He is clearly good enough to help the A’s win in 2012, but if the A’s can fetch a reasonable shortstop for him, the upgrade could be bigger than the upgrade he presents over Bartolo Colon or A.J. Griffin or recent callup Dan Straily. The shortstop market was so rough prior to the waiver deadline, though, so there just might not be a match out there.

Josh Beckett

Beckett, due $31.5 million over the next two seasons and having his next start skipped to boot, should have no trouble clearing waivers. He’s having his usual even-year bad season (at least in terms of results), posting a 4.54 ERA. His strikeout rate is a career low 6.81 per nine innings and injuries have limited him to just 18 starts. Still, he has a FIP- of 82 and showed as recently as last season he can still put up elite results with his solid peripherals, notching a 68 ERA- to go with an 84 FIP-.

The Rangers were among the teams to show interest in Beckett prior to the trading deadline and could remain on the Rangers’ radar should he clear waivers, although the Ryan Dempster . However, despite classic media-driven issues such as those surrounding a round of golf in May, Beckett likely hasn’t done enough to force himself out — the Red Sox likely aren’t willing to take a discounted price just to get rid of him.

Randy Wolf

The Brewers would love to get rid of Randy Wolf not only because of the price tag — he has just over $3 million remaining on this year’s deal as well as a $1.5 million buyout of next year’s option — but also because the Brewers may want the opportunity to give their younger players some chances in the major leagues. The Brewers are trying to see what they have in players like Michael Fiers, Marco Estrada, Mark Rogers and also minor leaguers like Wily Peralta and Tyler Thornburg. Once Shaun Marcum returns from his injury, there will only be two spots for those youngsters (after Yovani Gallardo, Marcum and Wolf).

Wolf has been horrible this season, with a 5.45 ERA and 4.78 FIP. His 2.10 K/BB is actually slightly better than last season, when he notched a 98 ERA-, but the home run issues have returned, as Wolf is allowing 1.36 HR/9. The upside is minimal, but ZiPS projects a 4.29 ERA the rest of the way, which could be an improvement on a few fifth starters for contending teams. Jayson Stark said the Brewers would trade Randy Wolf “for nothing if you take the money,” so the risk for an acquiring team would be minimal. A team with a fly ball friendly park might be able to make it work for a tiny cost.


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