Really? Sidney Ponson is the best we can do? Here are some young pitchers that might become available in trade (or waivers?) in the next week or so that might prove to be an upgrade over Sir Sid, HoRam, and Brainy Banny.
RHP Chad Gaudin - Cubs
2008: 9-5 4.40 ERA 90 IP 71 K 27 BB 4.14 FIP
2009 ZIPS: 9-7 4.08
Gaudin comes with a $2 million salary, and was rumored to be possibly non-tendered, but the Cubs kept him. Now, with a crowded pen and rotation, he looks to be the odd man out. Gaudin was rushed to the big leagues at a young age and has shown flashes of brilliance, but inconsistency has kept him from bringing it all together. He's a strike thower, who can strike guys out with a 90 mph fastball, but had some stamina issues in Oakland.
RHP Angel Guzman - Cubs
2008: Pitched very few innings due to injury
2009 ZIPS: 2-3 5.04
Guzman is a former hot prospect who is now out of options and has failed to impress manager Lou Piniella. He was pretty good for the Cubs in 30 innings of work in 2007, but was hurt most of last year. He has struck out a batter an inning in his minor and major league career.
RHP Kyle Kendrick - Phillies
2008: 11-9 5.49 ERA 155 2/3 IP 68 K 57 BB 5.55 FIP
2009 ZIPS: 10-12 5.02
Kendrick lost out his rotation spot to Chan Ho Park and may be behind J.A. Happ and possibly Carlos Carrasco as well on the depth chart, putting him on the trading block. He had a very solid 2007, posting a 3.87 ERA in 20 starts with the Phillies, but regressed quite a bit last year. He's a sinkerball who doesn't strike out a ton of guys, much like Hochevar.
RHP Jeff Niemann - Rays
2008: 9-5 3.59 ERA 133 IP 128 K 50 BB 3.98 FIP (AAA)
2009 ZIPS: 7-9 5.06
Niemann was a pretty solid prospect a few years back, but has gotten a bit lost with all the great young arms that have come through the Rays system. He is huge, standing at 6'9'' 280, and despite shoulder concerns, he still has a low 90s fastball. He is out of options, but the Rays may be willing to stash him in the pen. He is probably going to command a higher price than the other pitchers listed.
LHP Tom Gorzelanny - Pirates
2008: 6-9 6.66 ERA 105 1/3 IP 67 K 70 BB 6.35 FIP
2009 ZIPS: 9-11 4.67
Gorzelanny was frankly, awful last year. But in 2007 he won 14 games with a 3.88 ERA until he suffered Bannister-disease. Some think he was overused in 2007, and he did seem to lose about 3 mph on his fastball last year. He was recently optioned to AAA, so the Pirates may want to hang on to him and see if he can turn it around, but he may be worth a flyer if the price is right, and the Pirates have certainly made lousy deals on talented players before.
RHP Jorge Campillo - Braves
2008: 8-7 3.91 ERA 158 2/3 IP 107 K 38 BB 4.00 FIP
2009 ZIPS: 5-6 4.50
Campillo is "young-ish", but he was excellent last season for the Braves, who acquired him from the Mariners for a washed up Horacio Ramirez (whatver happened to him?) With all the Braves acquisitions this off-season, Campillo seems destined for the pen, but he may also be good trade-bait, especially for an outfielder-starved team like Atlanta. Dayton knows him, and the guy is Mexican Tough.
LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith - Mariners
2008: 5-3 3.42 ERA 118 1/3 IP 77 K 48 BB 4.53 FIP
2009 ZIPS: 4-4 4.41
I think he'd definitely be an upgrade, but I think the Mariners want to hold on to him (he's appearing in TV commercials for the team). With Morrow and Batista moving to the pen, that opens up a spot for RRS, but the right deal could induce the Mariners into moving him. If only Bill Bavasi were still in charge.
Thoughts? Anyone else you would like to discuss? What would it take to acquire these guys? Would they be an upgrade over what we have now?