Tuesday, after all kinds of rumors, we learned that Jake Peavy is being made available by San Diego Padres this offseason. Peavy won the NL Cy Young last year, and followed it up with a 2.85 ERA this year.
Add those stats to Peavy's age(27) and contract, which pays him "just" $56 million over the next four years, and he might become the most desirable starting pitcher on the offseason market. Before yesterday, that title probably belonged to CC Sabathia, but there probably aren't a half dozen teams that could chase him given the probably size of his contract. There are at least another half dozen teams that would consider making a run at getting Peavy.
The effect on the Twins is minimal, but what effect it has is probably negative. One of the Twins better trade chips this winter is going to be one of their young arms, and this adds one more chit to the supply side. And it's a chit at the top of the list, and one that bumps everyone else down a notch.
But it made me wonder - just what teams might be looking for a starting pitcher this offseason? So let's find out, going through the five worst team in the league as ranked by their starting pitchers' ERA:
Texas - 5.51 ERA
Huh. the name everyone talks about is 3B Hank Blalock, but he's left-handed, and doesn't hit away from Texas.
I wonder if they would ever consider trading shortstop Michael Young? Young is 31 years old, batted .285/.339/.402 last year, and is right-handed. He's under contract through 2013, at $16M per year. His production has slipped the last two years, and that contract is a lot longer than I would like, and it's no bargain. Still, I'd need to think about an offer like that.
Baltimore - 5.51 ERA
Wow. Another team that traditionally needs pitching, and another team that has some infielders worth considering. Third base is manned by Melvin Mora, who looked cooked around midyear, but ended the season hitting .285 (825 OPS) with 23 HR and 104 RBI. He's also right-handed, but he's also 36, and the really bad news is his contract. It's cheap, but it lasts just one more year, and it has a full no-trade clause. It's thought to be unlikely that Mora would waive it, since he has something like centuplets or something.
The other premier piece they could offer is second baseman Brian Roberts. Roberts is mone of the top leadoff hitters in the game, sporting a .397 on-base percentage and 40 stolen bases last year. He's 31 years old, a switch-hitter, and becomes a free agent next year. He would be a great piece to add, but he would likely be a rental, and the Twins could probably use the power more than the another disciplined on-basse guy.
Pittsburgh - 5.36 ERA
The Pirates essentially began their rebuilding process once again midway through last year when they traded Jason Bay for a package of players headlined by third baseman Andy LaRoche. He's perfect - right-handed, projecting power, cheap, young - but they won't be trading him, and the rest is just filler.
Colorado - 5.14 ERA
This is the one team that was desperate enough last year to take Livan Hernandez, don't forget. They have two third baseman, but no second baseman, so it remains to be seen if either is really available.
Garret Atkins hit .286 (780 OPS), is 28 years old, bats right-handed and will be a free agent two years from now. The concern usually expressed about him is that he hasn't hit much away from Coors field.
Ian Stewart hit .259 (804 OPS), is 23 years old, bats left-handed and is two years away from arbitration. He struck out 94 times in 266 at-bats last year.
I wish I could believe in Atkins. I really wish I could. He would be a great fit for this team if I just believed he could hit outside of Coors. Looking at years 2005-2007, he posted a 790 OPS on the road, and I'd sign up for that in a second. But this year it was back down to 661. I'd love to talk to some people who cover the Rockies a bit more and see what they think about him.
Seattle - 5.07 ERA
I and every other Twins blogger has beat Adrian Beltre into the ground. My take is here, and I'll leave it at that, so I can watch the end of this Phillies game.
When I started this, I planned on going through the 15 worst teams, but the truth is I just found too much. We reviewed five teams, and I found seven candidates, and the only one that is probably completely out of bounds is Mora because of his no-trade clause. It's been fun to look at the specifics, and I think I'll take another stab at this later next week. But the more valuable lesson might be just how marketable the Twins young, cheap, and good pitching could be.