Based on media reports, Detroit Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski has not yet determined if he is going to buy or sell at this year's trade deadline. It has been well documented that the Tigers need to get better pitching if they want to compete for a playoff spot this year. The Tigers rotation ranks 14th in the American League in ERA at 4.54, and 12th in FIP at 4.22. David Price has been the only consistent starter with an ERA of 2.31. The rest of the current rotation all have an ERA of over 4.00, Anibal Sanchez (4.59), Alfredo Simon (4.63), Shane Greene (6.52) and Justin Verlander (6.62). Greene and Simon have been particularly struggling as of late; Greene has an ERA of 9.11 in his last 12 starts and Simon ha an ERA of 10.16 in his last six starts. If the Tigers were to get another starting pitcher it will likely be to replace one of these two pitchers.
The latest hot trade rumor comes from ESPN's Jayson Stark, who says that the the San Diego Padres are prepared to sell with James Shields and Andrew Cashner of particular notice.
#Padres listening on at least half their staff. But they "really want to move" both James Shields and Andrew Cashner, other teams say— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 24, 2015
James Shields is 8-3 with an ERA of 3.77 and 10.23 strikeouts per nine innings after signing with San Diego as a free agent in the offseason. He has struggled with giving up walks (3.34 walks per nine innings is the highest of his career) and home runs (1.42 home runs per nine innings, his highest rate since 2010) that has led to an elevated FIP of 4.12. Shields is signed for $10 million this year and for $21 million each for the 2016-18 seasons. There is also a team option for 2019 for $16 million, however Shields can opt out of his contract after the 2016 season.
Andrew Cashner's record is awful at 3-10 but has a respectable 4.10 ERA and an even better 3.85 FIP. He also has an above average strikeout rate of 7.96 per nine innings to go with 2.79 walks per nine and 1.07 home runs allowed per nine innings. Cahsner is earning $4.05 million this year has one year of arbitration left before he becomes a free agent following the 2016 season. Cashner has a reputation for not staying healthy, which could impact the return for the Padres.
The Houston Astros established the market for starting pitchers when they traded with the Oakland Athletics to acquire Scott Kazmir. They gave up catcher Jacob Nottingham and right-handed pitcher Daniel Mengden, the 19th and 22nd prospect in the Astros' organization according to MLB.com. However the Astros' farm system is much deeper than Detroit's. If the Tigers want to acquire either Shields or Cashner it will likely take at least one, and possibly two of their top 10 prospects.