- Buster Olney, Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
Some of the teams that targeted starting pitching thus far in free agency, like the Giants, Royals and the Twins, have done some or all of their winter work choosing from the free agents with mid-sized contracts. Ricky Nolasco, Jason Vargas, Josh Johnson, Tim Hudson and Dan Haren have come off the board.
The starting pitchers who only require short-term deals of three years or less -- Bronson Arroyo, Scott Kazmir, Phil Hughes, Bartolo Colon -- will find landing spots. If Hiroki Kuroda returns to MLB next season, he likely will return to the Yankees, given that he’s attached to draft-pick compensation.
But it’s increasingly unclear which teams will make up the market for the three starting pitchers who appeared destined to get the three biggest deals of the winter: Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez, who were both given qualifying offers by their respective teams and are therefore attached to draft-pick compensation; and Matt Garza, who is not attached to draft-pick compensation.
The game of free-agent musical chairs is playing out, and that trio is still looking for landing spots, perhaps for a number of reasons.
1. The wait for Masahiro Tanaka