Monday, May 20, 2013
2014 Free Agent Starters
By Doug Mittler
Since the start of the season, we have been keeping an eye on the market for free agent starting pitching for next winter. The upcoming batch already was considered a weak one to begin with, and a rash of injuries may make it even thinner, ESPN The Magazine’s Buster Olney wrote last week.
So exactly what is left for next winter? Here’s a quick look at available hurlers, some of whom have seen their value drop substantially.
Josh Johnson, Toronto Blue Jays
The two-time All-Star was just 8-14 with a 3.81 ERA for the Marlins last season but got a new lease on life with the Blue Jays. He has yet to capitalize with a 6.86 ERA through four starts and remains on the disabled list with a triceps injury. There were questions about his durability to begin with.
Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants
As our Jim Bowden pointed out, it’s now or never for Lincecum, who was having all sorts of control issues earlier in the season. “The Giants never offered him a Matt Cain-type extension because they were always quietly concerned with Lincecum’s size and delivery. The brutal reality is his next contract will be based solely on his 2013 season rather than his career work,” writes Bowden. Lincecum’s ERA is 4.70 and his WHIP is an unsightly 1.42.
Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies
Declining velocity was an issue, and Halladay finally shut things down, went on the DL and had surgery. The former Cy Young winner will miss a few months, if not the rest of 2013. Best-case scenario? Halladay returns for the final month or so of the season and shows he is healthy.
Gavin Floyd, Chicago White Sox
The season is over for Floyd, who may miss a chunk of 2014 as well following elbow surgery. But he is still just 30 and has five straight seasons of double-digit wins, so a team might offer an incentive-laden deal.
Phil Hughes, New York Yankees
Just when Hughes appeared to be turning the corner with eight shutout innings against Oakland, he reverted to his inconsistent self allowing six runs in 5 2/3 innings against the Royals before getting shellacked by the Mariners his next time out.
Matt Garza, Chicago Cubs
Garza began the season on the DL due to a strained lat muscle and first must demonstrate he is healthy. He is expected to rejoin the rotation Tuesday and could be a prime trade candidate if he starts well.
Scott Feldman, Chicago Cubs
The timing couldn't be better for Feldman, whose has a 2.19 ERA and 1.16 WHIP while reeling off five straight quality starts. As Olney writes, Feldman isn't just looking like a solid free agent buy, he's making himself into a nice trade chip for the Cubs, too:
"Feldman has had many peaks and valleys during his career, but right now he is getting excellent results. Opponents are batting .214 against him this season, and he’s allowed two earned runs or fewer in seven consecutive outings...Would any team surrender a package of high-end prospects for Feldman? No. But in the starting pitching market that is beginning to take shape, he might be the best option."