Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press
The Chicago White Sox have used their power to vault to the top of the American League Central.
Now the White Sox are looking to bolster their pitching depth ahead of the August 31 trade deadline to become a true contender out of the AL.
The 20-12 ball club has reportedly been one of the most active teams in the trade market, as it looks to add a top-end starter.
Chicago is far from the only team looking to add arms for the September stretch. Houston also has been mentioned recently in the hunt for improving both aspects of its staff.
Latest MLB Trade Buzz
White Sox In Hunt For Starting Pitchers
Kelvin Kuo/Associated Press
The White Sox have been linked with three of the top starting pitchers that could be available before Monday afternoon.
According to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, the White Sox and Braves are “among the teams with interest” in Dylan Bundy of the Los Angeles Angels.
MLB Network’s Jon Heyman added the AL Central squad has “talked about” Lynn and Arizona’s Robbie Ray as possible rotation improvements.
Lynn should be the most-coveted of the three hurlers, not just by the White Sox, but by every team looking for rotation help.
The right-handed hurler has been one of the few bright spots for a 12-19 Texas team. He is 4-0 with a 1.59 ERA and 50 strikeouts over seven starts.
Due to his terrific start, Lynn could command a high price on the market, and the White Sox probably will not be the only side trying to acquire him.
Bundy could be a cheaper alternative out of the American League West. He owns a 3-2 record with 44 punch outs and a 2.58 ERA.
The Angels have already displayed a willingness to deal, as they shipped infielder Tommy La Stella to the Oakland Athletics Friday night.
Lynn and Bundy should be viewed as the top options in comparison to Ray, who has struggled to find consistency with the Diamondbacks.
Ray is 1-4 and has allowed 27 earned runs over seven appearances, but he does have over 200 strikeouts in three of his last four seasons.
If the White Sox settle for Ray, he may slide beneath Lucas Gioltio, Dallas Keuchel and Dylan Cease in their rotation.
But if Lynn or Bundy were to come to the south side of Chicago, they could be positioned next to Giolito, who has 58 strikeouts in 43.2 innings and a no-hitter to his name.
If one of those two quality arms joins the White Sox, they could keep pace with Cleveland and Minnesota in the AL Central race since they would have a stronger rotation to partner an offense that has hit 62 home runs.
Houston Looking For Additional Pitching
Matt York/Associated Press
According to The Athletic’s Eno Sarris and Brittany Ghiroli, Houston “is interested” in Ray and “inquired” about Boston’s Matt Barnes.
The Astros have been one of the hardest hit teams by the injury bug. Justin Verlander, Jose Urquidy, Josh James, Chris Devenski and Roberto Osuna are all on the injured list.
Even with those setbacks, the Astros are 4.5 games back of Oakland in the American League West.
Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier and Brandon Bielak have stabilized the rotation behind Zack Grienke and Lance McCullers Jr., but Houston could use more rotation experience.
Ray is not the best hurler available, but his dip in form could place a lower price tag on him.
Houston could benefit from its familiarity with Arizona’s negotiating demands since it worked out a deal to land Greinke last July.
In the bullpen, Ryan Pressly, Blake Taylor and Andre Scrubb produced some quality outings, but the Astros could use more depth to deal with the Athletics in the AL West hunt.
Boston may be willing to get something in return for Barnes since it already shipped Heath Hembree and Brandon Workman to Philadelphia.
Barnes has a strikeout-per-nine-innings rate over 10 for the fourth straight season and carries a bit of closing experience.
Even if Ray and Barnes do not land in Houston, it could make improvements to add experience to its young pitching core to contend for the division title and beyond.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.
Statistics obtained from Baseball Reference.