Relievers who could be starters

With five weeks left in the season, general managers are scouting the top starting pitchers who will lead this offseason’s free-agent class. That includes the Los Angeles Angels’ Zack Greinke, the St. Louis Cardinals’ Kyle Lohse, the Washington Nationals’ Edwin Jackson and the Texas Rangers’ Ryan Dempster.

They’re also evaluating starting pitchers who could be available in a trade this winter, such as the Seattle Mariners’ Jason Vargas or the Chicago Cubs’ Matt Garza. And they are studying other team’s farm systems in case they can trade for a top starting pitching prospect such as the Atlanta Braves’ Julio Teheran and identifying pitchers in their own farm system who might be ready to make the jump to the big leagues in 2013.

Then there are the creative general managers who are looking beyond the obvious, trying to find middle relievers who are hidden on major league staffs and could develop into starting pitchers, become starting pitchers. These pitchers usually have more affordable salaries, and the cost to trade for them is much more reasonable.

A couple of months ago, we said the Braves’ Kris Medlen could be a good starter. He has turned out to be just like New York Yankees right-hander David Phelps. Here are a few pitchers who could make the move to the starting rotation next year and could become available in the right deal.