Garrett Crockett is the big question in the trade deadline rotation market

Unusually but undeniably, the rotation market is easily led by a pitcher who has already nearly doubled his previous MLB innings high. White Sox reliever-turned-starter Garrett Crockett, the ace of baseball's worst team, is also coveted by the Yankees, Dodgers, Orioles, Padres and most other contenders. And why not? He's probably the only true No. 1 starter available.

Crockett leads the AL with 141 strikeouts and a 2.37 FIP, and has a WAR of 3.9 (third in MLB is Seth Lugo, another ex-reliever). But there’s a big problem: There remains a serious question about how many innings Crockett has left past 2024. The former setup man, who has never previously pitched more than 54 ¹/₃ MLB innings, is on pace for nearly 200.

(The Yankees love Crochet. But as was the case in talks about former Sox star Dylan Cease, they still don’t seem willing to give up power-speed OF Spencer Jones, which could be a potential hitch, assuming he remains a southpaw target.)

Garrett Crochet is on track to pitch nearly 200 innings this season. USA TODAY SPORTS VIA Reuters CON

As for the innings issue, teams with a big lead (like the Dodgers) might monitor Crockett carefully before letting him loose in October, some might turn him into a specialized reliever again, and some might let him play the entire season, believing that's what he was meant to do. One interested executive who favors keeping him in the regular rotation claims, “The innings limit is a scam.”

That executive isn’t alone. But surely, Crockett’s camp would not allow acquiring teams to hire a former first-rounder without cap space who had Tommy John surgery in 2022, thus risking his future without any protection (i.e., an extension).

According to a report from USA Today's Bob Nightengale, the White Sox talked about an extension, but it's reported that no offer was made — not a surprise since the White Sox aren't known as big (or even moderate) spenders, and they're not even close to a contender. In the meantime, the White Sox and Crockett's camp are wisely working on a reasonable innings plan — though the chances of them keeping him are clearly diminishing. Chances of being traded: High.

Here are 16 more starters who could go (in order of value). The likelihood of a trade happening is classified as high, medium, low or very low.

2. Chris Bassitt, Blue Jays

The Yankees killer (0.82 ERA lifetime against) could attract the Orioles, but like Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette, he'll likely stay in Toronto. Trade odds: Very low.

3. Jesus Luzardo, Marlins

The last issue is the cutback in the business plan. Business prospects: Low.

4. Luis Severino, Mets

The Mets could trade from a deep starter stash and still compete, but the team's best pitcher is less likely to leave than Sean Manaea or Jose Quintana. Trade probability: Very low.

Luis Severino is unlikely to be traded by the Mets before the MLB trade deadline. Robert Sabo, for the NY Post

5. Yusei Kikuchi, Blue Jays

The Jays are struggling, and Kikuchi is a free agent. Trade odds: Medium.

6. Tyler Anderson, Angels

He's among the WAR leaders in the second year of a three-year, $40 million deal. Trade Likelihood: Medium.

7. Jack Flaherty, Tigers

Strikeout artist must overcome back issue first. Trade potential: Medium.

8. Nick Pivetta, Red Sox

Boston is a surprise contender. Trade probability: Very low.

9. Jack Eflin, Rays

Tampa Bay has already started selling. Trade probability: High.

10. Frankie Montas, Reds

His ERA is likely to be above 100. Trade probability: Medium.

11. Jameson Tallon, Qubes

Solid starter and clubhouse guy could go if the Cubs sell. Trade Likelihood: Medium.

Jameson Taillon could be traded if the Cubs sell out at the deadline. AP

12. Sean Manaea, Mets

Mid-rotation starter was a good pickup. Trade Chance: Low.

13. Erick Fede, White Sox

Career resumed after return from Korea. Business potential: High.

14. Cal Quantrill, Rockies

Colorado doesn't like to trade. Trade probability: Medium.

15. Jose Quintana, Mets

Veteran players have looked better lately. Trade Chance: Low.

16. Jack Littell, Rays

Little-known starter likely to leave. Trade probability: High.

17. JP Sears, A'S

Back-end guy. Business potential: Medium.

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