A report Tuesday said the Yankees had inquired about the availability of White Sox left-hander John Danks.
With the non-waiver trade deadline eight days away, rumors should get more plentiful – and hotter. While most of baseball fans’ attention focuses on the big-league veterans who may be traded, there also is something else at work.
When your team is in the race for a division title or wild-card berth and you feel one or two available players can put you over the top, you often cave and pay the price. Usually, that means one or two of your fair-to-good prospects.
Wilmington graduate Tanner Roark continues to pitch very well for the Washington Nationals. Recall that a few years ago the Nationals acquired Roark and another minor league pitcher from the Texas Rangers organization in exchange for major league shortstop Cristian Guzman.
In Roark’s case, the trade seems to have been a godsend. He is 9-6 with a 2.91 ERA this season, and in his last nine starts dating back to June 1, he is 6-3 with a 2.31 ERA in 581⁄3 innings.
We will never know for sure whether he would have had the same success had he stayed with the Rangers, but Roark’s numbers since his call-up to the big leagues last August rank favorably with the best pitchers in the National League.
As this year’s trade deadline approaches, you wonder whether any of our minor leaguers may be included in a deal. If they are, hopefully their stories will echo what has happened for Roark.
Zach Petrick (Morris) pitched a two-hit shutout in his last outing for St. Louis’ Triple-A team at Memphis. He is 6-4 with a 4.57 ERA.
In his last start, Tony Bucciferro (Minooka) lost a no-hitter with one out in the ninth inning and settled for a one-hitter for the White Sox’s A Advanced team at Winston-Salem. He is 7-9 with a 4.01 ERA.
Not that either ever will be traded, but the recent efforts of Petrick and Bucciferro may make them attractive to other teams looking to deal.
Mike Foltynewicz (Minooka) may be viewed somewhat differently, both by the Houston organization and others, because he is a former first-round draft pick who features a 100-mph fastball. But he has struggled of late, allowing 32 earned runs in his last 341⁄3 innings, and is 7-6 with a 5.12 ERA for Houston’s Triple-A affiliate at Oklahoma City.
Ethan Hollingsworth (Plainfield South) was released by Pittsburgh this spring and is pitching for the Winnipeg Goldeyes of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball. He is 4-0 with a 3.96 ERA in 361⁄3 innings. When he was in affiliated ball, Hollingsworth twice was traded for players who had major league experience, indicating he is a pitcher teams wanted.
Outfielder Joe Benson (JCA) is attempting to get back to the big leagues after making his debut with Minnesota in September 2011. He is 11-for-32 in his past 10 games with four doubles and two homers for Miami’s Double-A affiliate at Jacksonville, and is hitting .254 with 15 doubles, two triples, eight homers and 45 RBIs.
Outfielder John Ruettiger (JCA) is at Double-A Bowie in the Baltimore organization. He has his average up to .282, generally starting a few games a week.
Infielder Dean Anna (Lincoln-Way East) had a cup of coffee with the Yankees early this season. Then they designated him for assignment and he was picked up by Pittsburgh. At Triple-A Indianapolis, he had a recent game where he went 4-for-5, homered and drove in three runs but otherwise has not hit much.
Sam Travis (Providence) is hitting .288 with three homers and 20 RBIs for Boston’s Class A Short-Season team at Lowell. A second-round draft pick last month out of Indiana, he likely will not be traded anytime soon, if ever.
Then again, you might recall years ago the Red Sox, who were going for it all, trading a young Double-A infielder named Jeff Bagwell to Houston for veteran pitcher Larry Andersen. How did that work out for the Astros?
We’ll see what the future brings, but acquiring Roark may become one of the best trades Washington has made in recent memory. Perhaps that sort of fresh start awaits one or more of our current minor leaguers.