When walking through a mall it is not uncommon to see two or three stores with massive red and yellow signs indicating that the store is having a blowout sale. Usually it is an old video and music store or a failed jewelry shop. The Arizona Diamondbacks have marked Chase Field with signs indicating there is a clearance sale and everything must go.
Each year around June a few teams realize their season is deader than a flower in the Mojave Desert. The first team to publicly declare that 2014 is over for them is the Diamondbacks. Good for them! It’s admirable that they recognize how bad they are instead of being in denial like some teams. I’m looking at you Padres and Twins.
When teams have a sale like the Diamondbacks are, they usually trade productive veteran players to contending teams for future assets. This is clearly what Kevin Towers and Tony LaRussa plan to do with the Diamondbacks. But there is one problem.
The Diamondbacks don’t have any productive veterans anybody wants.
This is problematic because they are more or less stuck with the team they currently have. I’m sure the Yankees and Athletics would love to have a power hitting second baseman like Aaron Hill. But nobody wants to pay him the $24 million he is owed over the next two years. The Pirates and Blue Jays would love an experienced outfielder like Cody Ross but don’t want to pay him $9.5 million for the next two years.
There is one veteran asset the Diamondbacks have that is drawing interest around the league. That is the 6-foot-7 inch Brandon McCarthy. The outspoken pitcher is owed about $4.5 million for the rest of 2014 and will be a free agent in the winter.
To say that McCarthy has had an uninspiring 2014 would be an understatement of the year. Pitching record is about as worthless as a bathing suit in Alaska, but for those who care about that stuff he holds a 1-10 record. His other surface stats are not impressive either. His WHIP is 1.39 and his 5.38 ERA is higher than James Franco at his Comedy Central roast.
Major league front offices look at deeper numbers when evaluating pitchers. When taking a deep dive into McCarthy’s numbers you see that he has had some bad luck and will likely turn it around. His FIP (fielder independent pitching) is 4.08 which is just a hair above league average. He has the highest ground ball rate of his career (56 percent) and is striking out more batters than he ever has (7.4 per 9 innings).
A contending team is going to gamble on McCarthy in the second half. A team that has been rumored to be interested in McCarthy is the Angels. Contrary to popular belief, starting pitching is not a major concern for them. Matt Shoemaker has been a pleasant surprise in their rotation and Tyler Skaggs is returning soon.
Another contending AL West team should trade for McCarthy. The Seattle Mariners need depth in their rotation. Chris Young has been a pleasant surprise for the Mariners but the back of the rotation still leaves a lot to be desired. Brandon Maurer is currently the team’s fifth starter and he has a 7.08 ERA in 2014. James Paxton is set to return in July and the team might bring up elite prospect Taijuan Walker, but if those options fail McCarthy would be a solid insurance policy.
McCarthy has had continued success in the AL West. 2011 and 2012 were the best two years of his career when he played for the Athletics. McCarthy has a low price tag and it would not be surprising if one of the three contenders in the AL West rented him for a few months.