If you were the general manager of a contending team, would you take a chance on Athletics right-hander Brandon McCarthy?
On one hand, McCarthy actually is superior to both Brewers righty Zack Greinke and Phillies lefty Cole Hamels this season in ERA-plus (ERA adjusted to league and ballpark).
On the other hand, McCarthy suffers from recurring shoulder problems, and is on the disabled list for the second time this season with a strained right shoulder.
The Athletics, who also are awaiting the returns of righty Bartolo Colon and lefty Brett Anderson, will be willing to move McCarthy once he is healthy, according to major-league sources.
All three pitchers are expected back after the All-Star break. Colon is recovering from a strained right oblique, while Anderson is coming off Tommy John surgery.
McCarthy, who turns 29 on July 7, is brilliant when he pitches – witness his 2.54 ERA in 12 starts. But a team that acquired him might need to give him extra rest or skip a start as preventive measures.
The Athletics are under no financial pressure to make trades, sources say. Both McCarthy and Colon are potential free agents, with McCarthy earning $4.275 million this season and Colon $2 million.
The A’s also are open to moving right-handed setup man Grant Balfour, but likely for a higher acquisition cost – the team has control of Balfour for another season, and can retain him by exercising his $4.5 million club option.
Outfielder/DH Seth Smith, who is earning $2.415 million and under club control through 2014, is unlikely to be traded, a source said.