Thursday, December 16, 2010

Need Starters? Who's Left?

The subtitle of this post could be "Who's left?! Who?? That's It?! Uh-Oh."  The baseball hot stove is winding down as most big time free agents have signed their new deals.  Adrian Beltre and Rafael Soriano are probably the nicest prizes still out there.  Really, that's about it.  When it comes to the Starting Pitching market, options are really shaky.  When Cliff Lee surprised most observers by signing with the Phillies in lieu of the Yankees or Rangers, he devastated the free agent market for starting pitchers.

Whenever I see Pavano
pitch, he hears my booing.
There is not one Free Agent Starting Pitcher remaining that a large group of people would agree is rock solid.  It goes to show, when considering that the consensus top option left on the free agent wire is Carl Pavano.  I think he missed all of Dubya's second term with injuries.

Really, who is out there?  There's been a bit of a run on pitchers this past week.  Other potential starters Brandon McCarthy, Dustin Moseley, Rich Harden, Chien-Ming Wang, Mark Prior, and Andrew Miller signed new deals in the past four days.  Some teams strategies, for example the Yankees, look to be refocusing free agency efforts to build as powerful a bullpen as possible, and looking for starters elsewhere.  We'll talk about "elsewhere" in a moment.

Sorry if the following information is met by disdain from anyone who finds this redundant.  We have not received any complaints, but at the same time are sensitive to your, the reader's needs.  That being said, reassessing the free agent landscape is a big part of following the hot stove.  If you happen to be one of the people we just apologized to, I hope you enjoyed it because we won't apologize for this again.

As an example of our due diligence, below are two groups of Free Agent Starting Pitchers.  One group is comprised of those we believe are worthy of guaranteed Major League contracts and spots on the 40-man roster.  The second group are those f.a.s.p.'s we believe are at least worth considering for an invitation to spring training.  The lists are ranked in order of our current preference.

MLB Contract
Is Jeff Francis the best starter left?
Andy Pettitte (117)
Jeff Francis (100)
Carl Pavano (98)
Pedro Martinez (154)
Justin Duchscherer (139)
John Maine (98)
Micah Owings (88)
How do you not at least
invite Zink to camp?

Spring Training Invite
Brian Bannister (87)
Charlie Zink (30)
Brian Moehler (93)

The numbers in (parenthesis) are their career ERA+, and that is not a typo next to Charlie Zink.  He's only pitched 4 1/3 innings in the big leagues, but he's a knuckleballer and at 31 years old may have ten good years hidden in his arm.

"Yeah, I think the strike zone is
over that way." -- Daniel Cabrera
We continue to be suckers for Daniel Cabrera, and that really makes no sense.  He doesn't even throw hard anymore, as poor mechanics lead to injuries which he couldn't fully recover from.  In fact, his Fangraphs page shows his average fastball velocity has steadily decreased from 96.2 MPH in 2006 to 90.9 MPH last season.  Still, like I said, we're a bunch of suckers for his clothes your eyes and chuck it repertoire.  Daniel Cabrera and I go way back to that 2006 season, when my patience with him was the only blemish on an otherwise outstanding fantasy team.  In reality, however, would it be so bad if he went to Spring Training for your favorite team and maybe became the AA or AAA closer, while he learned to shorten his mechanics and throw strikes?  Will any MLB team make that gamble?  We don't know, but if not, we may get to see Daniel Cabrera pitch for the Newark Bears next season.

Okay, we said we'd talk about 'elsewhere'.  Elsewhere, or 'patience', is the Yankees Plan B after Cliff Lee left them.  If Pettitte decides to retire, they're really going to be sweating elsewhere.  The rumored to be available via trade are...

Felix Hernandez (133)
Felix is the best. The king.
Zack Greinke (116)
Jonathan Sanchez (101)
Matt Garza (107)
Daisuke Matsuzaka (110)
Scott Kazmir (106)
Edwin Jackson (96)
Tom Gorzelanny (93)
Derek Lowe (116)
Carlos Zambrano (127)
Paul Maholm (95)
Kenshin Kawakami (94)
Randy Wolf (102)
A.J. Burnett (107)
Barry Zito (114)

The first four guys are on that list are highly coveted.  The next three also have well defined value.  We discussed what is up with Gorzelanny this morning, and the rest of the guys on the list are basically salary dumps.

Twice in one day, Gorzelanny
grabs the Reality Tour spotlight
Every year, we see pitching depth fade around the league due to injury and retirement.  Young pitching, good young pitching, will always be the most valuable commodity in baseball.

Looking back at the free agent list, the most rock-solid bet to stay healthy is Kevin Millwood, and he turns 36 next week and had a dreadful season for the last place Orioles last year.  Andy Pettitte is really just an option for the Yankees.  Maybe he'd go to Texas, but it sounds like we're hear in the next couple of days whether he's going to return to the Yankees or retire.  As for Pavano, I'm not a Yankee fan, but I personally dislike him.  I heard he's allegedly a bigot, and that doesn't fly around here.  We have Jeff Francis listed ahead of Pavano, but have not heard of anyone else sharing that opinion.

What would your rankings be like?  Don't forget, this is a community, people.  Please send me an email, or write it into our comments section.  Who'd you like your team to sign?  If you'd only like someone on the trade block, whom would you choose?  And, who do you realistically think your team would trade for him?  Thanks for reading, good night.

No comments:

Post a Comment