Welcome to July. Just 30 days from now, the MLB Trade Deadline hits. Until then, the month will be filled with rumors, trades, and moves made by nearly every single team in a scramble to fix up their team for the postseason. Today, I want to look at the chances of the Oakland Athletics making a run for Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon McCarthy and why the move would be right up their alley.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports wrote that Athletics GM Billy Beane will do something at the trade deadline, but he does not know what. Rosenthal mentions that the Athletics likely need one more starting pitcher that could get them over the hump. That is where D-Backs' starter Brandon McCarthy comes into play. He might just be the starting pitcher that the Athletics need.
First of all, McCarthy will not cost that much to acquire. Although he is making $10.25 million this season, you would have to assume that the Athletics either will not have to pay all his salary, or will not have to give up some serious prospects in order to get him. Why is that? Well, McCarthy is 2-10 with a 5.11 ERA, allowing the most hits (123) and earned runs (59) of any pitcher in the National League.
Why would the Athletics want to acquire a pitcher, in order to help them go deeper into the postseason, that has an ERA+ that is 27% league average (McCarthy has a 73 ERA+)?
The reason is that McCarthy really has not been that bad this season and the saber-metrics (the Athletics' favorite formula) show that. McCarthy has a 3.87 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) and a 87:18 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He also comes with a low ground-ball rate, plus a bloated HR/FB rate, meaning that McCarthy might just be unlucky so far and that he could be better very soon.
There are more reasons to believe that McCarthy could come to Oakland. For one, he has already been an Athletic, playing with the team from 2011-2012. He could already be returning to his good form, recording just his second win of the season on Friday. He went seven innings, allowing six hits and only one run. He struck out seven Padres. He posted his third-highest game score on Friday.
The Diamondbacks have seemingly made McCarthy available. Even McCarthy himself thought that he would be traded, telling Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Southwest that it "certainly seems likely" he will be traded before the Trade Deadline:
“At this point, you become an asset the other way. Right now as a Diamondback, sometimes your best value is your future value and what they can get for you. I totally understand that side of the game. You accept it as reality, but it is not something I sit and worry about all the time, check every rumor. Just let it happen, and when I get a phone call and that happens, there you go.”
McCarthy could be coming to Oakland. It definitely seems like the right fit and he is comfortable wit the Athletics organization. But for now, he is a Diamondback. And the next couple of weeks will determine his future fate in baseball.