Padres expected to pursue trades for starting pitching

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We heard yesterday that Edinson Volquez is drawing interest from multiple teams, but don’t take that to mean that the Padres are sellers.

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Padres will attempt to upgrade their starting rotation leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. While the club currently sits at 38-38 on the year, their starters rank 25th in the majors with a 4.56 ERA. And Heyman hears that they have at least had discussions about a familiar face.

Their limited revenues could prevent serious runs at any ace who may hit the trade market, though in what seems like a positive sign anyway, there’s word Padres people at least internally have discussed some bigger names — including even their former star Jake Peavy (though there’s no evidence they’ll make a serious run at Peavy in particular).

Of course, Peavy was drafted by the Padres in 1999 and spent the first eight years of his career with the club before being traded to the White Sox in July of 2009. Currently sidelined with a non-displaced fracture in his rib cage, the 32-year-old right-hander is still owed around $22 million through the end of 2014.

Not surprisingly, Heyman considers names like Ricky Nolasco and Bud Norris as more realistic targets, though there figures to be plenty of competition for them. Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune mentioned the Orioles’ Jake Arrieta as a possibility yesterday.

Astros talking to Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole about extensions

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It’s extension season and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros — who already agreed to an extension with Alex Bregman — are discussing contract extensions with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.

Funny thing about Verlander, by the way: when he got his current $180 million deal, most people fell into the “oh, there’s an overpay!” column. What’s more, this past winter, when everyone was talking about how bad it is to give guys big long term deals, Verlander’s name was notably absent in the conversation despite the fact that his deal has turned out to be quite good. I suppose that says something about how good the anti-long-term deal folks are at cherrypicking.

That being said, Rosenthal says “it would be an upset” if either Verlander or Cole signed extensions. I can see that. Verlander is locked up this year and has a vesting option for 2020, and a lot can happen in a year or two. Cole is a Scott Boras client and Boras clients tend to hit the market rather than sign extensions. Perhaps their former teammate, Dallas Keuchel‘s, terrible experience on the free agent market this winter will alter that calculus. Hard to say.