Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Offseason Trade Targets for Pitching (4 of 4 in a series)

This post will continue and end the series on potential offseason trade targets in the pitching market for the Pirates. All of the pitchers in the series (James Shields, Scott Baker, Ricky Nolasco, and Gavin Floyd) are either under contract for multiple years or under team control through arbitration for multiple years.

The last pitcher I'm thinking about is the least likely of the four, Gavin Floyd. I only selected him because of the General Manager of his team, the White Sox. Kenny Williams will trade anyone at anytime. He has emptied out his farm system in the past few years to get the players he feels the White Sox need to compete and succeed. I'm all in favor of trading prospects this offseason, but Kenny Williams takes it to the extreme.

One could make the argument that the Padres unexpectedly successful season is due to Kenny Williams. In July 2009, the Padres traded Jake Peavy to the White Sox for Clayton Richard and 3 other minor leaguers. Richard has been a dependable rotation staple for the Padres, while Peavy continued to be injury prone with a strange shoulder injury that has kept him out most of 2010. Trading Peavy's huge salary may have given the Padres the financial flexibility needed to keep Adrian Gonzalez, thus fueling this run for the postseason in 2010.

But getting back to Gavin Floyd....the White Sox are going to fall short again of the AL Central title this year. Perennially their payroll has hovered around the low $100M mark. Heading into 2011, the White Sox have salary committments of $75M already, with arb cases for Carlos Quentin and John Danks (plus whether or not to tender Bobby Jenks for maybe $10M) and a decision on free agent to be Paul Konerko. In short, the White Sox may be looking to retool and compete in 2011. Gavin Floyd's salary may help provide a little wiggle room for them.

Gavin Floyd, RHP -- age 28 in 2011 season
Contract details -- $5.0M in 2011, $7.0M in 2012, club option in 2013 for $9.5M

To date in 2010, Floyd has pitched 187 innings with a 7.20 K/9 rate, a 2.79 BB/9 rate, and has posted a 4.08 ERA and 3.48 FIP.

Floyd's arsenal includes a 92 mph fastball, 84 mph slider, 79 mph curve, and an 84 mph changeup. His slider has had the most positive results of runs saved per 100 pitches thrown.

As for the trade package, the White Sox in the draft are historically conservative. They favor the floor more than the ceiling so the Universal Trade Chip of Rudy Owens will work here. They are partial to toolsy outfielders, though, so Gorkys Hernandez may interest them. Diego Moreno with his live arm would fit nicely into their bullpen with Sergio Santos and Matt Thornton.

The Pirates need to upgrade the rotation and immediate help will not come from the farm before June 2011. Instead of hoping and wishing for the prospects to pan out, it's time for the Pirates to acquire known, successful commodities.

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