There is a belief among many fans, analysts, and even upper management individuals in most industries that players perform better during their contract years. There is also a tendency for teams to make their contract year players more available in trades, as this could be the last value the teams can get out of the players.
The 2013 Free Agent Class includes the following notable starters: Matt Cain, John Danks, Ryan Dempster, Zack Greinke, Cole Hamels, Colby Lewis, Francisco Liriano, Shaun Marcum, Brandon McCarthy, and Anibal Sanchez. Those do not include pitchers with club or player options, such as Scott Baker, Fausto Carmona, Gavin Floyd, Dan Haren, Tim Hudson, Jake Peavy, Ervin Santana, and James Shields.
The majority of teams believe they will compete in 2012, as they should, considering each team starts with the same record, and crazier things have happened than a team like the Oakland Athletics making the playoffs in 2012. Still, some teams are more prone to listen to trade offers than others, so some pitchers should be targeted over others.
Among the names listed the following are not likely to be traded due to success of their respective teams: Matt Cain, Zack Greinke, Cole Hamels, Tim Hudson, Colby Lewis, Shaun Marcum, Dan Haren, Ervin Santana, and James Shields.
Due to sub-par pitching, or bad contracts, the following should not even be targeted: Ryan Dempster, Fausto Carmona, Francisco Liriano, and Jake Peavy.
That leaves the following pitchers that the Yankees should be interested in: John Danks, Brandon McCarthy, Anibal Sanchez, Scott Baker, and Gavin Floyd.
Follow me after the jump for a ranking of the choices listed.Out of the five names listed, John Danks has been named in trade rumors by far the most, followed by Gavin Floyd, Brandon McCarthy, Scott Baker, and finally Anibal Sanchez.
The Marlins are looking to add starting pitching, not trade away starting pitching, so despite my belief that Anibal Sanchez is a great fit for the Yankees, Sanchez ranks last.
Scott Baker, though he has had injury problems, pitched a fantastic 2011 season for the Minnesota Twins. Baker's batting average against, (.248) ERA, (3.14) and WHIP (1.17) all were impressive improvements over previous seasons. The question of whether or not Baker will be made available is still valid, as is questioning Baker's lack of a track record of success. At age 30, Baker could be acquired for less than the other starters.
Gavin Floyd does nothing special, but could serve as a 3rd starter for the Yankees. If Floyd can be acquired without using the Killer B's/Montero, (which isn't too likely) the Yankees should look into that option.
Brandon McCarthy finally overcame his injury issues last season, and finally became the pitcher many scouts projected him to be. McCarthy walked only 25 in 170 IP, striking out 123 as well. Still, McCarthy is a cheap contract for the Athletics, so they may not want to trade him away.
John Danks is the popular target in Yankees Universe. Though Danks did not put up the best numbers in 2011, Danks is likely to improve, and can likely be had for less than usual, due to those weak 2011 numbers. If Danks can return to his 2010 form, he could be a #2 or #3 starter for the Yankees. A deal for Danks will likely need to include a Killer B and more.
Dealing for a contract year starter is the best idea due to the fact that the year can serve as a trial run for the possibility of a contract extension, as well as the ability to trade less for the starter, due to the little time the starter will pitch for the team that is trading for him.
While he may not be the best available starting pitcher, the pitcher I would target is Brandon McCarthy, followed by John Danks and Scott Baker.