Now that the Chicago White Sox and general manager Kenny Williams have locked up southpaw John Danks with a five-year, $65 million deal -- an extension that will buyout Danks' last arbitration eligible year and first four free-agent seasons -- it's safe to assume the starter is no longer on the trading block. So, who is?
If you're a team looking for starting pitching, the market is getting quite thin; however, if you're a team with starting pitching, start charging your cell phone - you're going to be getting a lot of calls. While it's slim pickings for buyers, the sellers await your desperate pleas. Let's mix-and-match with a few of the names, starting with Oakland Athletics southpaw Gio Gonzalez. Something tells me Cubs starter Matt Garza and Rays starter Wade Davis will also be mentioned.
Gio Gonzlaez of the Oakland Athletics has been on the trading block since mid-November, and he's still there. He might be there Opening Day. He might be there next offseason. There's two reasons for this, first of which is the asking price. According to Suasn Slusser of the San Francisco Chroncile, the A's are using the Dan Haren trade as a comparison for what they are looking for in return this time around. That means three top prospects, and then a filler or two. Even without using hindsight, the A's returned three of Arizona's top 10 prospects for Haren, according to Baseball America's rankings, which included the system's best prospect - Carlos Gonzalez. The second reason is the A's are in no rush. Gio Gonzalez is under team control through the 2015 season, there's just no reason for the A's to ask anything short of the moon right now. The A's have all the leverage and they are using it to their benefit.
Last we've heard on the Gio Gonzalez front is the Washington Nationals are actively pursuing the southpaw and are preparing a 4-for-1 swap. They will include top prospects, but obviously Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg are untouchables. Personally, I would be surprised if the teams didn't slip in a "player to be named later" into the deal that ultimately ended up being top prospect Anthony Rendon. The Nationals have a long-term third baseman, and the A's want a future third baseman in a deal.
Remember when the Chicago Cubs sent three of their top prospects to the Tampa Bay Rays for Matt Garza? Good times, good times. Don't me wrong, I think Matt Garza proved he is a good pitcher after last season. But it's not a move I make at that price, timing and risk level unless you're in a win-now mode. Well, at least new Cubs general manger Theo Epstein understands me and is looking to reverse the wrong doings this offseason (thanks, Theo).
I'm not sure what the Cubs are looking for in return, but we do know they are interested in Padres prospect Anthony Rizzo. We're just not sure if that feeling is mutual. Another person who may know is our very own Satchel Price, and he wrote about it.
not least, there is right-handed starter Wade Davis of the Tampa Bay Rays. ESPN's Jim Bowden speculated that the Rays could send Davis along with B.J. Upton to the Cincinnati Reds for their top prospects - first baseman Yonder Alonso and catcher Yasmani Grandal. Obviously, that isn't going to happen now since the Reds traded them along with others to the Padres for starter Mat Latos. Wait, don't the Padres have Anthony Rizzo, too?
Does a framework of Wade Davis for Anthony Rizzo make too much sense? Padres acquire a 26-year-old starter that is guaranteed $9.1 million through 2014 along with team options worth $7, $8 and $10 million after that. Meanwhile, the Rays get a starting first baseman for the future and we all won't see any #FreeAnthony or #FreeRizzo tweets on Twitter. I think if the Rays offer a little more, this could happen.
With Gio Gonzalez, Matt Garza and Wade Davis on the trade block, who do you want your team to acquire and at what price?