By Jason Shetler
With the trade deadline now three weeks away, the Pirates will look to see what issues they need to address. General Manager Neal Huntington recently said that he would consider going out and explore starting pitching. If the Pirates indeed decide to go after a starter and try to bolster their rotation, here are some names who they could consider.
A.J. Burnett – After leading the Pirates to their first postseason appearance in two decades, A.J. Burnett decided to sign with the Phillies this past offseason rather than re-sign in Pittsburgh. Burnett’s numbers so far this season have been down compared to last year, as he’s posting a 3.92 ERA with a 1.34 WHIP. The higher WHIP is largely due to his 53 walks allowed, which currently leads the National League. His strikeout numbers are significantly down from a year ago (9.8 last season down to 7.4 this season). If Burnett does return to the Pirates, perhaps his numbers could be better since he not only would pitch on a contender, but a contender that he’s obviously familiar with.
Contract status: $16 million this season; Free agent after the season
Bartolo Colon – For the time Bartolo Colon has spent in the big leagues, he’s certainly no stranger to pitching for different clubs over the course of his career. The 41-year-old could be on the move, if the Mets feel like they can receive something good in return. Colon has a 4.04 ERA to go along with a 1.18 WHIP. He’s shown excellent control with a 1.3 BB/9 while his 6.5 K/9 is the highest it’s been since 2011.
Contract status: $9 million this season; $11 million next season
Ian Kennedy – For the fourth year in a row, the San Diego Padres will be in seller mode. The biggest name on their trade block is closer Huston Street, but perhaps another name they could move for the right deal is Ian Kennedy. Kennedy is putting up good numbers this season with a 3.71 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP. His 2.3 BB/9 and 9.7 K/9 are both on pace to be career best for him.
Contract status: $6.1 million this season; Third time arbitration eligible next season
Jorge De La Rosa – The Colorado Rockies will look to unload some veterans, as they are sellers again this year. One name likely to be moved is Jorge De La Rosa, who is in the final year of his contract. De La Rosa’s numbers have been subpar this season, posting a 4.75 ERA along with a 1.31 WHIP. The 33-year-old southpaw is putting up a 53% groundball rate, despite pitching his home games at Coors Field. With PNC Park favoring left-handers, perhaps De La Rosa’s stats could improve especially if he continues to keep the ball on the ground.
Contract status: $11 million this season; Free agent after the season
Wade Miley – It’s been a rough season for the Arizona Diamondbacks, as they have the worst record in the National League this year. Wade Miley, who is essentially the Dbacks ace this year, because of the injury to Patrick Corbin, is someone who the Pirates could buy low on. Miley’s ERA this season is at 4.43, but he does have a respectable 1.25 WHIP. His 8.6 K/9 is very intriguing especially with him being a lefty, and his walk numbers have been good with a 2.6 BB/9. Chase Field is an extreme hitters park, and the homers he’s allowed there this year have contributed to a 5.64 home ERA. If you look at his xFIP, which determines how unlucky a pitcher is allowing home runs, Miley’s xFIP is at 3.25, so his ERA should be a full run lower than what it actually is overall. As would be the case with Jorge De La Rosa, Miley would benefit much better with the PNC Park dimensions.
Contract status: $523,500 this season; First time arbitration eligible next season