Trade deadline rotation raises big questions about Garrett Crochet

Unusually but undeniably, the rotation market is comfortably led by a pitcher who has nearly doubled his previous MLB innings high. White Sox reliever-turned-starter Garrett Crochet, the ace on the worst team in baseball, is coveted by the Yankees, Dodgers, Orioles, Padres and most other contenders. And why not? He may be the only true No. 1 starter available.

Crochet leads the AL with 141 strikeouts and a 2.37 FIP, while sporting a 3.9 WAR (third in MLB, a category led by Seth Lugo, another former reliever). But there’s one big catch: There’s a serious question about how many innings Crochet has left in 2024. The former setup man, who’s never previously logged more than 54 ¹/₃ MLB innings, is on track for around 200.

(The Yankees are very fond of Crochet. But as in the discussions about ex-Sox star Dylan Cease, they still appear unwilling to part with speedy OF Spencer Jones, a potential problem assuming he remains a target for the South Side.)

Garrett Crochet is on pace to pitch around 200 innings this season. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

As for the innings issue, teams with big leads (like the Dodgers) might keep a close eye on Crochet before letting him go in October, some might transition him back to being a featured reliever, and a few might just let him go flat out in the belief that that’s what he’s meant to do. One interested executive who advocates keeping him in the regular rotation claims, “The innings limit is a scam.”

That exec isn’t alone. But of course, Crochet’s camp isn’t about to let the former first-rounder, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2022, become an unrestricted free agent for any acquiring team, risking his future without any sense of certainty (i.e., an extension).

The White Sox did seek an extension, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported, but no offers have been exchanged — no surprise, given that the White Sox aren’t known as big (or even average) spenders, and aren’t even close to being a contender. In the meantime, the White Sox and Crochet’s camp are wisely working out a reasonable innings plan — though the odds of them keeping him are clearly diminishing. Odds of being traded: High.

Here are 16 more starters that could go (in order of value). The chance of being traded is rated as high, medium, low or very low.

2. Chris Bassitt, Blue Jays

The Yankees killer (0.82 ERA lifetime against) could interest the Orioles, but like Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette, he’s likely to stay in Toronto. Trade odds: Very low.

3. Jesus Luzardo, Marlins

The underlying issue is the limitation of the trading plan. Trading opportunities: Low.

4. Luis Severino, Mets

The Mets could trade from a deep starting lineup and still be in contention, but the team’s best pitcher seems less likely to leave than Sean Manaea or Jose Quintana. Trade odds: Very low.

Luis Severino is unlikely to be traded by the Mets before the MLB trade deadline. Robert Sabo for the NY Post

5. Yusei Kikuchi, Blue Jays

The Jays are struggling and Kikuchi is a free agent to be. Trade odds: Medium.

6. Tyler Anderson, Angels

He is among the leaders in WAR in the second year of a three-year, $40 million contract. Trade odds: Medium.

7. Jack Flaherty, Tigers

Strikeout artist must first recover from back issue. Trading Odds: Medium.

8. Nick Pivetta, Red Sox

Boston is a surprise contender. Trade Odds: Very Low.

9. Zach Eflin, Rays

Tampa Bay has already started selling. Trade chances: High.

10. Frankie Montas, Reds

Greater potential than his 100 ERA plus. Trade opportunities: Medium.

11. Jameson Taillon, Cubs

Solid starter and clubhouse guy could leave if Cubs sell. Trade odds: Medium.

Jameson Taillon could be traded if the Cubs deal him before the deadline. AP

12. Sean Manaea, Mets

Mid-rotation starter was a nice pick-up. Trade Odds: Low.

13. Erick Fedde, White Sox

Revived career after returning from Korea. Trading opportunities: High.

14. Cal Quantrill, Rockies

Colorado doesn’t like trading. Trading chances: Medium.

15. José Quintana, Mets

Solid veteran looking better lately. Trade Odds: Low.

16. Zack Littell, Rays

Little known starter likely to go. Trade chances: High.

17. JP Sears, A’s

Back-end guy. Trading opportunities: Medium.

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