Ken Rosenthal reported that the M's are looking for a starter. This makes sense, given Erasmo's struggles, Young's peripherals, and Walker's slow recovery. I took a stroll through the WAR leaderboard at Fangraphs to see who might be an obvious candidate. You know about David Price and Jeff Samardzija so I'll skip over those guys. Here's what I found, in case you're interested.
Brandon McCarthy (Diamondbacks) is awesome at twitter and also good at baseball. He's in the second year of his two-year contract with Arizona, which pays him $10.25 mm this season. That's a lot of money that Arizona probably doesn't want to pay on its way to a last-place finish. It gets better. McCarthy has an ERA of 5.13 and leads the NL in losses. However, McCarthy's FIP is 3.80 and his xFIP is just 2.76. The D-Back's front office is old school and may not realize what it has on its hands. If I'm Seattle, this is the guy I'm targeting.
Ian Kennedy (Padres) could be a fit. He's been excellent this year after a mediocre 2013 split between Arizona and San Diego. He earns $6.1 mm this year and has one more year of arbitration before free agency. The Padres may wish to get out before third-year arbitration. Kennedy has great strike out rates and his HR rate would benefit from Safeco, just as it has from Petco.
Jason Hammel (Cubs) was signed to a one-year, $6mm contract, almost with the expectation that he would be traded. While his ERA is 2.53, much of that success owes to a .234 babip and a 6% hr/fb rate, both of which are uncharacteristic. The xFIP is 3.46, which is useful. He'd be an upgrade as a mid-rotation arm but hopefully not at the cost of a good prospect. I wonder if the M's might kick the tires Travis Wood or even consider taking on two-and-a-half years of Edwin Jackson.
John Lackey (Red Sox) is a darkhorse trade candidate. He's got that thorny contract issue that guarantees him the minimum next year. On its face it's great but the media is squawking about the Sox underpaying him. With the Sox falling off, he might be in play. He was effective in 2013 and has been even better this year. The cost would be steep and personally, I hate John Lackey. Jake Peavy also seems like a long shot but youneverknow.