There are very few impact starting pitchers who are evidently available for trade right now. That means the cost to acquire one of those quality starters is probably going to be immense. Here’s a rundown of the top starting pitchers who will likely be dealt prior to Tuesday’s trade deadline.
MLB Trade Deadline 2022: Best Available Starting Pitchers
Luis Castillo, Cincinnati Reds
Stats: 2.86 ERA, 85 innings, 90 strikeouts, 28 walks
Castillo is, without question, the No. 1 starting pitcher in this market. Castillo is under contract through 2023 and has pitched to a 2.38 ERA over his past 10 starts. He has thrown seven innings in each of his previous four outings. The Yankees, Cardinals and Mariners have reportedly been the most aggressive pursuers of Castillo and the next player on this list.
Frankie Montas, Oakland Athletics
Stats: 3.18 ERA, 104.2 innings, 109 strikeouts, 28 walks
Montas gave the A’s — and all interested buyers — a scare recently as he came down with some right shoulder inflammation. Fortunately, it was a minor ordeal, and he returned to the mound after missing minimal time. Montas’ start vs. the Astros on Tuesday — five innings, two earned runs — probably calmed any concerns about his shoulder. Montas received Cy Young votes last year and is under contract through 2023. The Yankees are interested in him, as are the Cardinals and Mariners.
Tarik Skubal, Detroit Tigers
Stats: 3.67 ERA, 112.2 innings, 113 strikeouts, 30 walks
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported that the Tigers will listen to offers for Skubal. It wouldn’t seem to make much sense for a team that just spent a ton of money last offseason to begin another rebuild, but if Skubal is truly on the block, expect the return for him to be sky-high. A quality left-handed starter who won’t be a free agent until after the 2026 season would cost a fortune.
Tyler Mahle, Tigers
Stats: 4.48 ERA, 98.1 innings, 107 strikeouts, 39 walks
Mahle is in the clear second tier of available starters, and the hurlers alongside and behind him — Pirates’ Jose Quintana, the Rockies’ Chad Kuhl, etc — are pretty uninspiring. Mahle returned from a three-week stint on the injured list Sunday and allowed three runs over six innings in a win over the Cardinals. Most of Mahle’s stats and metrics are a step back from what he did in 2021, when he was 25% better than league average. Now, he’s just about exactly league average. He won’t be a free agent until after the 2023 campaign. The Twins are reportedly interested in him.