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MLB Trade Rumors: Et Tu, Justin Duchscherer?

The San Francisco Chronicle reports there are trade rumblings surrounding Justin Duchscherer, a leading candidate for the 2008 American League Cy Young Award. No specific teams were named, but its inclusion within the context of a possible Joe Blanton deal was curious.

Is Oakland GM Billy Beane trying to garner interest in Duchscherer by tipping off the beat writer? If he did, I can certainly understand the reasoning to establish a market for a career reliever who, at 30, has established a career high in innings pitched while producing a Pedro-Martinez-in-his-prime 1.87 ERA and 0.87 WHIP.

Despite the career-high 108.2 innings, he is still 19 Ks away from his career high K total of 85 set in 2005 in just 85.1 IP. Does the fact that Duchscherer struck out all those 85 hitters in relief make a difference? Is it improtant that he was three years younger?

Despite his age, Duchscherer will be a 2nd-year arbitration player this Winter. After settling for $1.1875MM last season, he can reasonably ask for Chien-Ming Wang money ($4.6MM) with the season he is having. At that price tag, is his breakout season at 30 viewed differently?

The A's are currently paying Joe Blanton $3.7MM after his first year of arbitration eligibility. Does it make more sense now? Should an organization pay that kind of money to a right-handed pitcher without a proven track record of starting or durability?