Free-agent arms offer risk, reward

Are you really prepared to bet against Roy Halladay returning to form in 2014? Howard Smith/USA TODAY Sports

With all the new television money flowing into the game, MLB teams have ramped up pre-free-agent contract extensions, keeping the best players away from the open market. When the offseason rolls around, you're going to hear a lot of talk about what a lousy group of players are available, especially if Robinson Cano ends up staying with the Yankees.

However, there's one area where this free agent class is actually quite interesting: broken-but-perhaps-fixable formerly great pitchers.

Among the hurlers who will hit the open market this year: Roy Halladay (2010 NL Cy Young), Tim Lincecum (2008, '09 NL Cy Young), Dan Haren (three-time All-Star, finished seventh in 2011 NL Cy Young vote) and Josh Johnson (two-time All-Star, finished fifth in 2010 NL Cy Young vote). Just a couple of years ago, this quartet would have made up the best rotation in baseball, as they combined to throw 749 innings and post a 2.67 ERA in 2011.