3 Top Starting Pitching Trade Targets for Teams That Missed Out on Gerrit Cole

Corey Kluber
Cleveland Indians pitcher Corey Kluber in the dugout during a game against the Minnesota Twins | Jason Miller/Getty Images

Well, now that the New York Yankees have won the Gerrit Cole sweepstakes, everybody else will have to start looking for an ace. While there still are a few attractive options left in free agency, none have the ace-caliber label, but these three possible trade options do.

Time for teams like the Dodgers and Angels to get to work here.

3. Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija
San Francisco Giants pitcher Jeff Samardzija deals a pitch against the Colorado Rockies | Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The 34 year-old right-hander had a bounceback year for the San Francisco Giants with a 3.52 ERA in 32 starts. Though maybe not quite an ace, he provides excellent rotation depth and will be hungry to finally get past the division series in the MLB postseason. He's entering his final year with the Giants, who will likely continue to rebuild anyway with the probable loss of Madison Bumgarner.

2. Luis Castillo

Luis Castillo
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Luis Castillo in a game against the Milwaukee Brewers | Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Castillo had a breakout year in his third season for the Reds, going 15-8 with a 3.40 ERA and an All-Star Game appearance. He's under contract through the 2023 season, so a team like the Dodgers could have him atop the rotation with Walker Buehler for years to come. While the Reds seem set on contending in the near future, the prospects LA could offer are probably MLB-ready, so a potential loaded offer might be hard to turn down.

1. Corey Kluber

Corey Kluber
Cleveland Indians pitcher Corey Kluber looks for his sign against the Miami Marlins | Mark Brown/Getty Images

Kluber only started seven games last season and compiled a 5.80 ERA, but his upside is as good as that of almost any MLB pitcher today. Over the five seasons prior, he's recorded 17 complete games -- seven of them shutouts -- won 18 games four times, threw over 200 innings five times, captured two Cy Young Awards, and nearly carried the Cleveland Indians to their first World Championship in 68 years. Whoever can snag the right-hander will get two years of him atop their rotation.