Trade deadline rotation market raises big question about Garrett Crochet

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

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

(The Yankees really like Crochet. But as was the case in talks about former Sox star Dylan Cease, they still appear unwilling to part with high-speed OF Spencer Jones, a potential hurdle assuming he remains a South Side target.)

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

As for the innings issue, teams with big upside (like the Dodgers) might keep a close eye on Crochet before releasing him in October, some might have him return to being a featured reliever, and some might just let him go full throttle believing that’s what he was supposed to do. One concerned executive who is in favor of keeping him in the regular rotation says, “The innings limit is a rip-off.”

That executive isn’t alone. But of course, Crochet’s camp isn’t about to let acquiring teams freely employ the former first-rounder who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2022 and thus risk his future without some sense of security (i.e., an extension).

The White Sox did talk about an extension, as USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported, but no offers were reportedly exchanged, which isn’t surprising since the White Sox aren’t known for spending big (or even middlingly) and aren’t anywhere near a contender, either. In the meantime, the White Sox and Crochet’s camp are wisely working on a reasonable innings plan, though the chances of them sticking with it are clearly dwindling. Odds of being traded: High.

Below are 16 other starters who could leave (in order of value). The likelihood of being traded is ranked as high, medium, low or very low.

2. Chris Bassitt, Blue Jays

The Yankees’ hitter (0.82 career ERA) could interest the Orioles, but like Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette, he’ll likely stay in Toronto. Trade odds: Very low.

3. Jesus Luzardo, Marlins

The problem is that the trading plan is shrinking. The trading possibilities are low.

4. Luis Severino, Mets

The Mets could trade a team with a lot of starters and still be a contender, but the team’s best pitcher seems less likely to leave than Sean Manaea or Jose Quintana. Trade odds: Very low.

The Mets are unlikely to trade Luis Severino before the MLB trade deadline. Robert Sabo for the New York Post

5. Yusei Kikuchi, Tiles

The Jays are going through a tough time and Kikuchi is a potential free agent. Trade possibilities: Sox.

6. Tyler Anderson, Angels

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

7. Jack Flaherty, Tigers

The strikeout artist needs to recover from a back problem first. Trade possibilities: Sox.

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 possibilities: high.

10. Frankie Montas, Reds

Potential greater than his ERA of over 100. Trade possibilities: Average.

11. Jameson Taillon, Cubs

A solid starter and a locker room player who could be gone if the Cubs sell. Trade possibilities: Sox.

Jameson Taillon could be traded if the Cubs end up selling at the deadline. AP

12. Sean Manaea, Mets

A good signing for a mid-rotation starter. Trade possibilities: low.

13. Erick Fedde, White Sox

Career revived after return from Korea. Transfer chances: high.

14. Cal Quantrill, Rocky Mountains

Colorado doesn’t like to trade. Trade odds: Average.

15. Jose Quintana, Mets

A solid veteran who has looked better lately. Trade odds: Low.

16. Zack Littell, Rays

Little-known starter likely to leave. Trade odds: High.

17. JP Sears, A’s

Back-end player. Trade chances: Average.

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