The MLB Winter Meetings are over, but that doesn’t mean the free-agent market is over. In fact, we could be just starting to see the first dominoes fall. Several starters have been made available via trade, and we could see several movements in the coming weeks.
Here are four quality arms that could be wearing a different uniform come Opening Day next year.
Duffy has been one of the most consistent arms for the Kansas City Royals during the past few years. But the team is expected to start a rebuilding process following several key losses during the free-agent market. Names such as Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas, and Eric Hosmer are not returning to Kansas City, so the ownership wants to start from scratch. And parting ways with Duffy could bolster the organization’s farm system.
Duffy posted a 9-10 mark with a 3.81 ERA and 130 strikeouts in 146.1 innings in 24 starts. He is only 28 but has been in the majors for seven years, making at least 20 starts in five of those. He could represent a cheaper alternative for teams that do not want to make moves for other names that will later appear in this piece. It has been rumored that several teams have already enquired about the pitcher, who is under contract with the Royals until 2021.
No one knows what the Pittsburgh Pirates are doing this offseason because it’s really hard to judge what they have on their roster. They have a talented team, but are they good enough to fight for a playoff berth or even a Wild Card spot? Most likely not, so there have been lots of rumors about players potentially leaving the organization in the coming months. And one of those names that could leave is none other than their ace, Gerrit Cole.
Cole has been a dominant starter since he reached the Majors in 2013, but he is coming off a down year in 2017. The 27-year-old righthander posted a 12-12 record with a 4.26 ERA and 196 strikeouts in 203 innings across 33 starts. Most pitchers would be happy with that stat line, but not Cole. He is a durable arm who would bolster almost any rotation in the league immediately. And it has been reported the New York Yankees are the front-runners to land him via trade.
Chris Archer has been involved in trade rumors for the biggest part of his career. However, this is the first time the Tampa Bay Rays’ ace could actually leave the organization. The team’s constant aim to rebuild and their limited financial resources have to transform Archer into an expendable player since he is on the verge of becoming too expensive for the franchise.
There shouldn’t be a shortage of suitors for him, though. The 29-year-old finished the 2017 season with a 10-12 record and a 4.07 ERA with 249 strikeouts across 201 innings (34 starts), but he has enough potential to deliver better numbers across the board. After all, we are talking about a guy who has been an All-Star in two of the last three years, and that finished fifth in the AL Cy Young race in 2015. The Washington Nationals are reportedly interested in acquiring him.
Out of the four pitchers mentioned in this list, Zack Greinke seems like the most likely candidate to stay put because on the context surrounding him. Greinke signed a six-year, $206.5 million deal with the Diamondbacks prior to the 2016 season, so he has A LOT of money left in his current deal. That and the fact he is already 34 years old makes him quite hard to trade him. Arizona will likely command a big haul of ´prospects to part ways with their ace.
To make things even more complicated, Greinke is coming off a decent season. He posted a 17-7 record and a 3.20 ERA in 202.1 innings across 32 starts. As if that wasn’t enough, he also led the DBacks to the playoffs and will play an important role in the franchise going forward. But that hasn’t stopped teams from inquiring about his services. The Philadelphia Phillies, the Texas Rangers, and the Yankees have already enquired about Greinke.