Yesterday we began our look at whether certain members of the White Sox’s formidable starting rotation might be available if Chicago continues to flail about and determined that unfortunately for the Yankees, there’s really no trade scenario that would make sense for the White Sox in the case of dealing either lefty ace John Danks or Gavin Floyd. So what about the other three?
Career-long White Sock and pending free agent Buehrle seems like a reasonable bet to re-up with the only professional team he’s ever known, which is a shame, as he’s probably one of the more appealing starting pitching names on the market next winter. Of course, he’s also going to be entering his age 33 season, so he wouldn’t exactly represent a long-term solution. Still, as a pending free agent, he may represent Kenny Williams’ best opportunity at picking up a serviceable player if Chicago doesn’t intend to bring Buehrle back.
As for the numbers, Buehrle’s having another typical Buehrle year, not striking anyone out (4.22 K/9) but not walking anyone either (2.36 BB/9), though his GB% of 41.7% is curiously down from his career rate of 45.7%. At this point Buehrle’s really more of a mid-rotation-type than a #1 or #2, but a guy who you can pretty much count on for 200-plus innings of roughly 4.00 ERA/4.00 FIP ball is still very valuable. Assuming Buehrle is a Type A, his net trade value works out to $4.9 million, or the equivalent of a grade B hitter prospect-wise. The Yankees don’t really have anyone that meets this description with the possible exception of Brandon Laird, but his stock seems to have taken a pretty significant hit and there’d be no reason for the Sox to do a deal like that unless they had a young hurler in line they wanted to break in and take Buehrle’s place.
Here’s where things get a bit interesting. Jackson’s name has been bandied about as a potential trade target seemingly forever, given his tantalizing stuff but inability to really harness it consistently. Jackson’s already accumulated 1.0 fWAR this season on the strength of a 4.29 ERA/3.57 FIP/3.61 xFIP, made even more impressive by the fact that balls in play are falling for hits at the above-average clip of .321 — the 9th-highest mark in the AL. Coincidentally, his rotationmate Danks has the 5th-highest BABIP. It’s hard to know who exactly Jackson is as a pitcher, given his A.J. Burnett-like ability to fluctuate from dominating to regrettable on a start-by-start basis, but there’s no question there’s a lot of talent there.
Assuming Jackson is a Type A FA, his net trade value works out to $5.7 million, which means realistically he’s worth about one grade B pitcher or maybe two grade C hurlers. if Jackson is indeed a Type A, it seems like it would make far more sense for Chicago to let him walk after the season and collect the draft pick, unless there’s someone among the Adam Warrens and David Phelps of the world that the White Sox really like. If Jackson does make it to free agency, I’d have to imagine the Yankees will be a player for his services as long as the price is right –hard to see anyone significantly overpaying.
It’s tough to know what to make of Humber, who never had a good season prior to this one. Yankee fans will of course remember that he nearly no-hit them back in April, but as we know just because a given pitcher has had success against the Yankees in the past that’s not a good enough reason to then go out and get that player. While Humber’s “pitcher triple slash” of 2.97 ERA/3.33 FIP/4.10 xFIP looks pretty gaudy, it’s important to note that he’s benefitted from some absurdly good luck on balls in play — specifically a .202 BABIP, the 3rd-lowest number in the AL as well as an unsustainably low HR/9 of 0.46. His K/9 isn’t anything special, but like everyone else on Chicago’s staff he doesn’t really walk anyone (2.52 BB/9).
Like Buehrle and Jackson, Humber is also a free agent after the season, but given that he’s being paid the Major League minimum, Chicago has zero reason to move him. It’ll also be very interesting to see how Humber finishes the season out. While he appears to be pitching above his true talent level, it’s also possible that he’s finally put it all together — he currently boasts the most value wCB in the American League, at 5.4 runs above average — and he could be worth taking a look at this winter.
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