The trade rumours / speculation have started. Janssen for Castellanos? Jays “bearing down” on Garza? Josh Johnson for the moon?
So in the interest of promulgating wildly speculative and totally unfounded trade rumours, let me toss a crazy idea into the pot.
Buehrle + ? for Ian Kinsler + ?
Why Texas should consider it
With Andrus signed long-term, Kinsler is blocking Profar at 2B. Kinsler is not keen about moving to 1B, and it would be hard for him to generate excess value over a $16 mil salary at that position (plus, Moreland is playing much better there of late).
The Rangers are in the thick of a playoff hunt, and badly need a veteran pitcher who can eat innings and who can pitch well in Arlington (a top-5 hitters park in 2012 and 2011). Buehrle has a lifetime 3.39 ERA in Arlington, holding opponents to a .659 OPS. And in his last start there, Buehrle pitched 7 innings of shutout ball.
Buehrle struggled at the beginning of the season, but 4 of his last 7 starts have been “quality starts” and he has had a 2.93 ERA over that span.
Buehrle has an expensive contract: $18 and $19 million in 2014 and 2015. But so does Kinsler: $16 million in 2014 and 2015, $14 million in 2016 and $11 million in 2017, and in his 7 years in the majors Kinsler has only played 150+ games twice. So far in 2013, their WAR are almost equal at 1.2 and 1.3.
One more quality SP could put TEX over the top. They need a Buehrle, and they do not need a Kinsler.
Why Toronto should consider it
From all accounts, Toronto’s budget was strained to the breaking point by the pre-2013 transactions. It is unlikely that they will have the payroll flexibility to pursue a free-agent 2B in the off season unless they can divest of some of their existing payroll.
It is unlikely that Buehrle will be able to generate a WAR that would justify his $18+ million salary in 2014 and 2015. His greater value is now, as a very valuable piece in a pennant run in 2013. Right now, barring a miracle comeback, this is the opposite of what the Jays need.
And as important as a quality inning-eater SP is to any team (especially one that has used 13 SP so far in 2013), a 3x-all-star 2B who is only 31 years old is a rare and valuable commodity. By spring training 2014, the Jays should have Morrow, Happ, Hutchison, and Drabek competing for rotation spots, with McGowan, Rogers and Romero as “wild cards”. No to mention any ninja trades between now and then.