Given Athletics General Manager Billy Beane's penchant for dealing his coveted pitchers -- 2008 standout Justin Duchscherer in all probability will be the next to go if the latest rash of MLB rumors can be believed.
With the July 31 trading deadline fast approaching, the 6-foot-2, right-handed curveball specialist will be in his walk year next season, and Beane is unlikely to agree to an extended contract at $8-10 million or more a year when negotiations intensify over the winter.
Beane has been highly successful dealing established pitchers, Joe Blanton's trade to the Phillies being only the latest in a string dating back to the spinoffs of former Oakland stars Tim Hudson to Atlanta and Mark Mulder to St. Louis.
Duchscherer, 30 -- known a "Duke" to his friends -- has been held back at various points of his career by a successive string of injuries and has been used primarily as a bullpen shortman since joining the Athletics. But he is currently in the midst of a career year as a starter.
With a record of 10-5, Duchscherer has a .144 ERA over his last 10 games, all of which were quality starts, including a complete game shutout.