With the starting pitching market dwindling, Gavin Floyd could become a hot commodity.
Since becoming a full-time member of the White Sox starting rotation, Gavin Floyd has won at least 10 games every season. He has made at least 29 starts over that time and his ERA has topped out at 4.37, even though he plays in one of the best ballparks to hit in. He signed a team-friendly contract back in 2009, where he received $25 million over five years. He is entering the final year of that contract and will earn $9.5 million in 2013.
While Floyd has been a solid starter and isn't breaking the bank, he also has never fully reached his potential. In 2008, he was 17-8 with a 3.84 ERA over 206⅓ innings. He has never reached any of those marks since. He became what he is: A guy that will take the ball and give you some real good games, a few real bad ones and will keep you in the game most of the time. That is still a valuable asset that a lot of teams are overpaying for on the free agent market.
The White Sox have a pretty solid rotation right now. If all goes well, Jake Peavy, Chris Sale, John Danks, Floyd and Jose Quintana can be put up against most teams one through five. However, Peavy and Sale are still question marks as far as durability goes. Danks is coming off of an injury that saw him miss most of 2012 and Quintana had a great start and tailed off down the stretch. Hector Santiago and Dylan Axelrod are the next guys in line if anything should happen to the front five. All of that leaves Floyd as the most reliable guy in your rotation.
That being said, if there is an offer for something that will improve the club down the line, I think you have to move him. Anibal Sanchez just received $80 million over five seasons from the Tigers. He is a little bit younger than Floyd and has a little less wear and tear on his arm, but they aren't all that different. Floyd will probably cash in strong with a good season this year. I don't want the White Sox to be the team that pays for him going forward.
So the smart move, in my opinion, would be to flip him. Get a bat. Get some prospects. You should be able to get something pretty decent for one season of Floyd. The Texas Rangers have to be a place that would be interested in Floyd. Maybe the Angels. How about the Blue Jays? A lot of teams are looking for pitching. There are still a couple of free agents in Kyle Lohse and Edwin Jackson but after that the pickings are slim.
There are also some free agent wild cards you could add to give the White Sox rotation some depth going forward. My personal preference would be to see if Edwin Jackson would take a deal in the $11-13 million range for a couple of seasons, but that is wishful thinking.
Marcum, 30, is 57-36 over his seven seasons with a 3.76 ERA. The Royals were the team linked to him the most this offseason but with them getting James Shields and Wade Davis that interest has tapered off. Marcum only threw 124 innings in 2012 and has had some issues staying healthy (he missed all of 2009), but he has been successful when on the mound. The White Sox keep guys on the mound better than most teams. Moving Floyd and signing Marcum wouldn't hurt the Sox and if all went well, could make them better. Especially when you factor in the return of Floyd.
Jurrjens, 26, was non-tendered earlier this off-season by the Atlanta Braves. He's had his own injury issues, as he only threw 48⅓ innings last year. However, Jurrjens was an all star in 2011, when he went 13-6 with a 2.96. In 2009, he was 14-10 with a 2.60. As a rookie in 2008, he was 13-10 with a 3.68. The guy has talent if he can remain healthy. I would think he'd be looking for a shorter term contract that would allow him to replenish some value and hit the market again in a year or two. I think he's a very good match for the White Sox.
Hernandez, 32, would be a bigger gamble than the other two. He had a great 2007, when he went 19-8 with a 3.06 ERA, but hasn't been nearly as successful since. He missed most of last season because of identity fraud in which it was found out that there really was no Frosty Corona and instead he was Roberto Hernandez. The year before he was 7-15 with a 5.25 ERA. He doesn't strike out a lot of guys, but is a master at getting ground balls (56.6% ground ball rate since 2008). This is a classic case of "Coop can fix 'em." The Rays were said to be nearing a deal with Hernandez, but it hasn't happened yet, so he is still out there.
With the options still available to replace Floyd in the rotation, I think you can move him, make a signing and let Herm Schneider and Don Cooper do what they are good at.