Commentary

The pitching prizes of fall 2009

Rich Harden and John Lackey are among main offseason pitching targets

Updated: August 13, 2009, 11:26 AM ET
By Buster Olney | ESPN The Magazine
Getty ImagesErik Bedard already moved across the country in the past year. Could he move back?

This article appears in the Aug. 24 issue of ESPN The Magazine as a sidebar to Jorge Arangure Jr.'s feature on Aroldis Chapman, under the slug 'Rumor Central.'

Aroldis Chapman is the Bigfoot of baseball. There have been reported sightings, in international play, and in those brief glimpses talent evaluators have seen a lefthander with a monstrous fastball who could seemingly leave his footprint all over the major leagues. But team officials need verification that Chapman really exists as a Grade A talent before they'll dive into megamillion-dollar contract talks. And let's face it: If he's really that good, big-money clubs like the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels will lead the bidding, anyway. Other teams will have to scour what appears to be an ugly free-agent pitching market. Here are the hurlers who will draw the most interest this offseason.

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Buster Olney | email

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine