Posted: Wednesday June 21, 2006 12:25PM; Updated: Wednesday June 21, 2006 6:58PM
Dontrelle Willis, who finished second in the National League Cy Young Award voting last year, would be a prize catch but the asking price may be too much.
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Somewhere, among all the rumors circulating throughout baseball and in the myriad of general managers' telephone conversations, a pitcher's name is mentioned.
And then, almost as soon as it begins, the talk stalls and nothing worthwhile comes of it. If anything's true about the state of baseball's trade market in the early summer of '06, it's that there are few available pitchers out there worth the price.
"Everyone has the same holes, and everyone's trying to fill the same holes," lamented Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi. "I mean, you look around, who are you going to go get pitching from?"
That's a problem, all right. Any team that has pitching but has a chance at the postseason -- with the possible exception of the Dodgers and Angels) -- simply isn't willing to give it up. And teams that already are out of the postseason race either don't have decent pitching or are asking too much for what they have.
This particular dilemma is probably not all that much different from recent years. But it sure seems worse this year. A lot worse.
"I think this is the worst year for anything being available in terms of pitching," Ricciardi said.
"It's certainly getting increasingly difficult to find pitching," agreed White Sox GM KennyWilliams. "I don't expect there to be a whole lot of movement -- and I'll extend that through the next offseason, too."
As usual, some good pitchers are being considered, or at least mentioned (see below), in all the talk among GMs, fans and the media. It's possible a marquee pitcher actually may change addresses in the next few weeks. Florida's Dontrelle Willis, for example, may be the rare available pitcher worth a couple of highly thought-of minor leaguers and a major leaguer or two.
But that's only if some team is willing to part with that kind of talent and the Marlins think the offer is good enough.
It's more likely that the most recognizable pitchers will stay put and that any pitcher who moves in the next few weeks will be a bottom-of-the-rotation guy or -- and this already has happened -- a role-filler for the bullpen. Last week, the White Sox traded lefty Javier Lopez to the Red Sox for setup man David Riske.
That might be about as exciting as things get in the pitching market over the next few weeks.