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The state of the starting pitching trade market

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There is a market for gentlemen who can throw a baseball.

The Royals are likely trying to move Edinson Volquez by this afternoon’s trade deadline, with word that Texas, Houston, and San Francisco may be interested, with Detroit, Baltimore, Miami, St. Louis, Toronto, and Boston all looking to add starting pitching as well. The 33-year old Volquez is a free agent this winter (he has a $10 million mutual option he will likely decline) so any team that acquires him is getting a rental. Volquez has had a down year this year, posting a 4.70 ERA, but his strikeout and walk rates are just a tick worse than last year’s, when he was a 2.5 rWAR pitcher who pitched in the post-season.

This year’s free agent starting pitching market looks remarkably thin, meaning this year’s trade market for pitching is thin as well. This small supply, coupled with huge demand from several contenders should inflate the price considerably for sellers. Already we have seen the Padres command a top ten prospect in all of baseball in Anderson Espinoza for lefty Drew Pomeranz, a pitcher having an excellent year and under team control for several seasons, but with a shaky track record.

What does the market for starting pitchers look like right now? Overall, the market has been quiet over the weekend with hitters and relievers dominating the conversation. Let’s take a look at what we know.

The Padres received the Marlins top hitting prospect in Josh Naylor, as well as a MLB pitcher in Jarred Cosart, MLB reliever Carter Capps and hard-throwing minor league pitcher Luis Castillo and  for rental Andrew Cashner and mediocre starter Colin Rea (who has already gotten hurt).

The Orioles acquired lefty Wade Miley for 27-year old minor league pitcher Ariel Miranda. Miley has been a much worse pitcher than Volquez, with an ERA of 4.98 this year, but he has an extra year of control through the 2017 season. Miranda, a Cuban defector, has put up decent, but not great numbers in AAA, but is the kind of MLB-ready arm the Royals were reportedly looking for.

The Phillies are asking for a top prospect for impending free agent Jeremy Hellickson, who has revived his career with a 3.70 ERA for the Phillies this season. Hellickson is younger and has a much better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Volquez, although he has had some trouble with home runs.

The Rays are looking for MLB players on the Giants roster in return for Matt Moore, who has underwhelming numbers, but is signed for several seasons.

The Tigers may be interested in Angels lefty Hector Santiago, but won’t part with Drew Norris or Matt Boyd, two young pitchers with MLB experience.

The A’s are shopping impending free agent Rich Hill, but are also talking contract extension, although I suspect that is to get bidders to move on their offers.

The Red Sox talked to the Marlins about moving Clay Buchholz, but the "price was too high." Clay Buchholz has a price?

Finally, Chris Sale could be on the move, although the massive return for him shouldn’t affect Volquez too much other. Boston and Los Angeles are said to be the most likely destinations.

Other pitchers who could be on the move this deadline include Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, Matt Shoemaker, Jose Quintana, Sonny Gray, Ervin Santana, and Ivan Nova.

With the state of the market, what do you expect Edinson Volquez to fetch?