Off Day Discussion Question: Are There any Aces Available?

The great start to the season has gotten me thinking about the trade deadline which will be here before we know it.  I was trying to think of where the Twins could use some help down the stretch.  The obvious answers are a closer or maybe a 3B.  However I was thinking bigger, sexier, even an Ace perhaps?  Last year the Twins were the team that found cheap solutions to problems like O-Cab and Rauch to shore up the middle infield and bullpen.  This year however, I think we can hope for something more in the form a top of the rotation starter. 

Now to clarify I'm not necessarily predicting that the Twins are going to acquire a top of the rotation starter just that it's a real possibility this year.  A lot can change between now and then, if a major player goes down with injury or the bullpen begins to falter then priorities suddenly change.  As of right now, the Twins have enough good hitters that having a hole at 3B really isn't much of a concern, especially with a solid prospect like Valencia at 3B.  As for the bullpen? so far so good I guess. 

So who's going to be available this year?  The easiest place to start is to look at players who will be free agents at the end of the year courtesy of

Bronson Arroyo (34) - $11MM club option with a $2MM buyout
Erik Bedard (32)
Kris Benson (35)
Jeremy Bonderman (28)
Dave Bush (31)
Jose Contreras (39)
Kevin Correia (30)
Doug Davis (35) - $6.5MM mutual option with a $1MM buyout
Jorge De La Rosa (30)
Justin Duchscherer (33)
Shawn Estes (38)
Josh Fogg (34)
Jeff Francis (29) - $7MM club option
Freddy Garcia (35)
Jon Garland (31) - $6.75MM mutual option with a $600K buyout
Chad Gaudin (28)
Rich Harden (29) - $11MM mutual option with $1MM buyout
Aaron Harang (33) - $12.75MM club option with a $2MM buyout
Livan Hernandez (36)
Jason Jennings (32)
Hiroki Kuroda (36)
Cliff Lee (32)
Ted Lilly (35)
Rodrigo Lopez (35)
Kevin Millwood (36)
Sergio Mitre (30)
Brian Moehler (39)
Jamie Moyer (48)
Brett Myers (30) - $8MM mutual option with a $2MM buyout
Vicente Padilla (33)
Carl Pavano (35)
Brad Penny (33)
Andy Pettitte (39)
Tim Redding (33)
Nate Robertson (33)
Ben Sheets (32)
Jeff Suppan (36) - $12.75MM club option with a $2MM buyout
Brett Tomko (38)
Koji Uehara (36)
Javier Vazquez (34)
Brandon Webb (32)
Todd Wellemeyer (32)
Kip Wells (34)
Jake Westbrook (33)
Dontrelle Willis (29)
Chris Young (32) - $8.5MM club option


The only name that really sticks out to me is Cliff Lee.  There are a lot of interesting guys that are injury risks but that's just what they are, injury risks.  Brandon Webb, Rich Harden, Ben Sheets, and Erik Bedard have all been considered Ace's at one point in their careers and are young enough they could likely regain that status for a few years.  If I had to choose it would likely be Brandon Webb as he's been more than dependable throughout his career previous to this past year.


However, if the Twins are going to give up a top prospect like Ben Revere or Wilson Ramos they really need more than just a half season of anyone.  The only player mentioned above that even has an option is Rich Harden.  Cliff Lee of last year would be ideal but it's one year off unfortunately.  So here are some guys that will be free agents in 2012, again courtesy of

Mark Buehrle (33)
Chris Carpenter (37) - $15MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Aaron Cook (33) - $11MM mutual option with a $500K buyout
Kyle Davies (28)
Ryan Dempster (35) - $14MM player option
Zach Duke (29)
Jeff Francis (30)
Edwin Jackson (28)
Kenshin Kawakami (37)
Scott Kazmir (28) - $13.5MM club option with a $2.5MM buyout
Paul Maholm (30) - $9.75MM club option with a $750K buyout
John Maine (31)
Jason Marquis (33)
Brandon McCarthy (28)
Gil Meche (33)
Sergio Mitre (31)
Scott Olsen (28)
Roy Oswalt (34) - $16MM mutual option with a $2MM buyout
Oliver Perez (30)
Joel Pineiro (33)
Wandy Rodriguez (33)
C.C. Sabathia (31) - may opt out of remaining four years, $92MM
Carlos Silva (33) - $12MM mutual option with a $2MM buyout
Ian Snell (30) - $9.25MM club option
Brian Tallet (34)
Adam Wainwright (30) - $9MM club option for 2012, $12MM club option for '13 
Tim Wakefield (45)
Chien-Ming Wang (32)
C.J. Wilson (31)


The only guy who seems to be the right combination of Ace and availability is Roy Oswalt and even that seems like a long shot.  There are again some guys who if they start off strong might be a consideration like Chien-Ming Wang.  Obviously CC, Adam Wainwright, even Chris Carpenter are all exciting but I don't see the Yanks and Cards as sellers.


It's too bad that some of the young guys like Josh Johnson and Matt Cain were locked up as they would have been very enticing options and players worth dealing a top prospect for.  Are there any other options out there I'm not thinking of?  So who would you want and what would you give up to get them?  Anyone from the lists above that I didn't mention that is enticing?

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