The Oakland Athletics figure to be mentioned quite a bit in MLB rumors as we near the July 31st non-waiver trading deadline. The Athletics are one of the few teams that will definitely be sellers in this market. With so many teams still in the race there might be more buyers than sellers this year. One of the players the A’s might consider shopping is Brandon McCarthy, their 28 year-old right handed starting pitcher.
McCarthy has resurrected his career in Oakland after stints with the Chicago White Sox and Texas Rangers. He finally started to put it all together once he landed in Oakland, however. Last season, his first in Oakland, he posted a 3.32 ERA and 1.13 WHIP and striking out 123 in 25 starts spanning 170.2 innings. This season he was posting a 2.54 ERA, 1.21 WHIP with 52 strikeouts in 78 innings across 12 starts before landing on the DL.
McCarthy probably won’t come off the disabled list in time for the Athletics to truly showcase him before the deadline. McCarthy is on the disabled list with a recurring shoulder strain, an obvious red flag for anyone thinking of acquiring him. However, if the pitching market gets really thin around the deadline and McCarthy has had one or two starts and shows he is healthy someone could take a chance on him. However, he has recently said he likes Oakland and wishes to stay and GM Billy Beane has expressed an interest in re-signing the impending free agent if the price is right. With McCarthy’s injury history I think the price will be just right for Billy Beane.
When healthy, McCarthy has the ability to shut down any lineup in baseball. On June 7th, he shut down the Texas Rangers, scattering 3 hits and allowing only 1 run over 7 innings while striking out 5. However, his ability to stay healthy has drawn serious doubts and will most likely prohibit Beane from getting anywhere near a quality return.
However, some teams might come calling if the prices for Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza of the Chicago Cubs are too steep. They include the Boston Red Sox who are in need of some quality pitching depth but at this point they might end up being sellers rather than buyers. The New York Yankees might sniff around if the prognosis on Andy Pettitte is negative or if another injury befalls the pitching staff. The Baltimore Orioles are in desperate need of pitching and McCarthy, when healthy, is an upgrade over almost everyone on the staff with the exception of Jason Hammel right now. Baltimore might go hard after Zack Greinke of the Milwaukee Brewers but if he doesn’t become available or if the price is too steep the Orioles could turn to less expensive options and McCarthy would make a ton of sense for them, as long as he is healthy. That is the wild card with any potential deal involving McCarthy, can he stay healthy? It will be interesting to see if Beane allows a market to develop for McCarthy and who appears in the MLB rumors connected to him in the coming weeks.