MLB Trade Targets: “Buy Low” Starting Pitchers

Mar 12, 2015; Port Charlotte, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53) throws against the Toronto Blue Jays during a spring training game at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 12, 2015; Port Charlotte, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53) throws against the Toronto Blue Jays during a spring training game at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

While fans of teams still in the playoff hunt have been subjected to daily rumors concerning the likes of Rich Hill, and every starting pitcher that the Tampa Bay Rays currently have in their organization, others have balked at the idea of over-paying for pitchers who have strung together career half-years recently. Which “Buy Low” starters could be a boost at the MLB trade deadline?

For those of you who want a little more “bang” for your buck, or don’t want to ship out your top prospects, we give to you a few “buy low” MLB trade targets that you may wish your favorite team acquires before August 1.

Note: These players have not yet been publicly shopped by their clubs. This is just an educated guess as to players who could be acquired from teams out of the playoff race this season. 

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Alex Cobb

While most of the attention is being given to Rays starters Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi or Drew Smyly, the man who had been their staff ace in 2013 and 2014 has fallen off of the map. Of course, Tommy John surgery will do that to a player; however, while Cobb is close to a return to the Rays, you don’t really know what you’ll be getting from him for the remainder of the season. He could come back firing on all cylinders like Jose Fernandez, who also recently had Tommy John surgery, or he could look more like Yu Darvish–who can’t seem to stay in the Rangers rotation.

Cobb, 27, has pitched to a career line of 35-23 in 81 starts, with a 3.21 ERA and 3.43 FIP, and a K:BB ratio of 2.78 (7.7 K and 2.8 BB/ 9 IP). He is signed through 2017, which will mark his last season of arbitration. After missing the entire 2015 season, and most of 2016, he would be a cheap gamble for a playoff run (and to take a chance on for 2017). The Rays had to shut Cobb down with arm fatigue yesterday, pushing back his return, so he could be an acquisition made after the August 1 deadline if a team were so inclined.

Junior Guerra

While SP Jimmy Nelson may have been a “sexier” pick for this list, the Brewers seem reluctant to trade their 27-year-old “ace”.  One player who it would behoove the Brewers to trade while his stock is high is Guerra, who has pitched to a 6-2 record, 3.06 ERA and 1.06 WHIP, with 78 Ks in 88.1 IP in 2016.

I am sure you are wondering how this “selling high” for the Brewers fits into a “buy low” trade article, but just hear us out. Guerra has only made 13 career starts in the majors, with all 13 of them coming in 2016–his second year in MLB–which one could twist into saying that batters haven’t faced him enough yet. Plus, how much faith should Milwaukee have that Guerra has turned into a dominant SP at age 31, and in his rookie season?

With that being said, if I am starving for back of the rotation pitching I would trade a low-level prospect or two for him right now, because he shouldn’t cost much to acquire. Unlike Rich Hill, who is going to cost a team dearly to trade for him, Guerra is a lottery ticket right now (probably a five dollar scratch off) that won’t empty your farm system to obtain.

Think of teams like the Detroit Tigers, who need to get Anibal Sanchez and Mike Pelfrey out of their rotation, but may not have a lot of top-level prospects to shop with.

Luis Severino

Severino, who sports a career record of 5-9 with a career 4.53 ERA and 1.38 WHIP, may not look like the most attractive option to steal from the New York Yankees; however, unlike Nathan Eovaldi or Michael Pineda, this young flame-thrower (averaging 96.18 MPH with his fastball this season) is only 22-years-old. Plus, while his major-league stats scream “ho-hum” his minor league stats scream of “potential” for the young Dominican–as he has amassed a 29-12 record, a 2.43 ERA and 1.03 WHIP, plus 371 Ks v. 94 BB in 381.2 IP.

He may not come cheap to acquire; however, there is no doubt that his stock has taken a hit with his 0-7 record, 7.46 ERA and 1.686 WHIP in his first seven starts of the 2016 season. The Yankees would be crazy to flip him to a “real” contender; however, adding him to a potential Aroldis Chapman or Andrew Miller deal would net New York at least three or four top prospects (especially as Severino likely won’t be eligible for arbitration until 2019.

Not only would each of these pitchers represent an upgrade towards the back of your favorite team’s rotation, but each of these players would be around for next year as well–making them even more valuable.

Next: Prospects Making a Difference

Would you like to see a low-risk move for one of these players made by your team? What would you give up for these arms? Let us know in the comment section below!