Dream Landing Spots for Deadline Pitchers

Houston and Los Angeles.

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OK, OK, juuust kidding. We’re a week away from the trade deadline and things are absolutely dead right now. The Andrew Cashner and Homer Bailey trades seemed like they could be the sparks to kick things off, but we’ve gotten literally nothing since then. Even the rumor mill is a bit quiet, but hopefully it’s just the calm before the storm.

Let’s look at eight (well, nine players but I think it’s an either/or situation in New York) SP trade candidates and place them amongst the contenders. We can’t just put everyone on the 2-3 best teams so let’s see where these guys could go without just hoping they all go to the Astros or Dodgers.

Matthew Boyd, DET – 4.07 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 32% K, 5% BB, 3.24 SIERA in 126 IP

TEAM: Los Angeles Dodgers

I mean, we’re not going to put everyone on Houston or LA, but we have to put somebody there! While the team is remarkably deep, they could still use the best available arm on the market (at least by SIERA). That would give them a playoff rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Boyd with Kenta Maeda and Ross Stripling strengthening the bullpen (though they could still use a go-to lefty). Boyd going from the lowly Tigers to the Dodgers would give him a much better shot to win games and their markedly better defense would allow him to put up results much closer to his 3.24 SIERA.

Caleb Smith, MIA – 3.30 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 31% K, 9% BB, 3.82 SIERA in 90 IP

TEAM: Minnesota Twins

I’m listing these in order of the pitcher’s SIERA as opposed to likelihood of being traded. If I were listing that way, this would probably be at the bottom as it’s unlikely that the Marlins flip him. The 27-year old lefty has been a revelation, building on some interesting work last year. With the Marlins years away from truly competing, it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to trade Smith at peak value for some pieces more likely to be a part of their next good team down the line. Surely Smith himself could feasibly be a part of such a team, but he’d likely be at or beyond the age of 30.

The Twins look like more than a one-year wonder so getting a controllable arm without decimating their system would play for this year and beyond. A Smith-Jose Berrios lefty/righty duo atop the rotation would really set them up for October and strengthen their chances for the rest of the regular season as the Indians are now just 3 games back.

Madison Bumgarner, SF – 3.66 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 25% K, 5% BB, 4.00 SIERA in 132.7 IP

TEAM: Atlanta Braves

A near-lock to be dealt at the break coming into the season, Bumgarner is now unlikely to be traded after the Giants crazy 17-3 run. That, of course, is insane and they should 100% deal Bumgarner. He’s in the last year of his deal and the Giants aren’t a legitimate threat for the playoffs. Even with this crazy run, they still have just a 9% chance at making the playoffs.

Zack Wheeler, NYM – 4.69 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 26% K, 7% BB, 4.02 SIERA in 119 IP


Noah Syndergaard, NYM – 4.36 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 24% K, 6% BB, 4.13 SIERA in 119.7 IP

TEAM: Houston Astros

If the Astros can land either Mets righty, it’d be a huge boon for either pitcher. Few teams are trusted more when it comes to maximize pitcher skills. Gerrit Cole flashed ace potential in Pittsburgh but has finally emerged in Houston. It’s not hard to envision one of Wheeler or Thor jumping a level or two with the Astros. Wheeler is slated to come back this weekend and if he looks good to go, the trade talks should flare up again. Thor is less likely to be traded as he’s under control through next year.

Robbie Ray, ARI – 3.95 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 31% K, 11% BB, 4.04 SIERA in 123 IP

TEAM: St. Louis Cardinals

If the Cardinals are going to get a pitcher, they need to go for the higher end. They have plenty of mediocre arms they’re churning as only Jack Flaherty and Miles Mikolas carry standout potential. Ray is a strikeout machine who is good more often than not. He’s allowed 3 or fewer earned runs in 17 of his 22 starts and never more than 5 ER in a start. He gets in trouble with the longball (1.5 HR/9) so moving to St. Louis could be nice as Busch Stadium has better HR park factors for pitchers than Chase Field.

Mike Minor, TEX – 2.86 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 25% K, 9% BB, 4.35 SIERA in 129 IP

TEAM: Milwaukee Brewers

The Brandon Woodruff injury is a huge hit the Brewers. He’s out at least six weeks with an oblique strain. They are probably checking in on every available starter as they likely need more than one if they really want to do something this year. They don’t have the same bullpen they did a year ago, so their starting pitching deficiencies are more pronounced. Minor isn’t thrilled about the trade rumors, but he still has a year of control after this so he’d be a big piece for Texas to sell. He’d instantly become the best starter in Milwaukee.

Marcus Stroman, TOR – 3.06 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 19% K, 7% BB, 4.41 SIERA in 117.7 IP

TEAM: New York Yankees

They seem certain to get a starter and it’s just a matter of what price they’re willing to pay. They were recently linked to Minor. Stroman’s been in the division and he’s pitched in Yankee Stadium so it wouldn’t necessarily be some big transition. I guess this isn’t the dream scenario for the fantasy angle, but it’s still a very plausible fit. I’d love to see him with a premium defense handling his groundball lean. While it would be better to no longer face the Yankees, I’d still like to see him in a less demanding division of parks and offenses.

Mike Leake, SEA – 4.27 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 18% K, 4% BB, 4.57 SIERA in 124.3 IP

TEAM: Milwaukee Brewers

Like I said, the Brewers need to consider acquiring multiple arms. Leake is a bit underrated. I think it’s because his fantasy value isn’t that great as a low-strikeout guy, but he’s a workhorse. He’s made at least 30 starts each of the last seven years and he’s pacing toward the eighth. Innings are exactly what the Brewers need right now as they sit just 21st in starter IP and 117.7 innings now on the shelf with Woodruff.

Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

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Now Chacin is hurt for the Brewers, so they’ll have to get at least two of these guys.