Free Agent Starting Pitchers
Posted by Jason A. Churchill on November 8, 2006
There aren’t a lot of options for clubs looking for starting pitching this winter, and since no team in baseball is fully satisfied withtheir five-man setup, not even the Chicago White Sox or Detroit Tigers, it’s worse this winter than usual.
As the Seattle Mariners attempt to improve their biggest weakness, they will have an immense amount of competition for the services of the best available arms in the league. But make no mistake about it, the M’s will be in on every quality arm on the market, whether it makes sense for them or not.
Well, until Zito demands $14 million per for six years and the M’s start knocking down the doors of Ted Lilly, Mark Mulder and Vicente Padilla.Last winter we sat back and cringed as the club inked Jarrod Washburn to No. 2 starter cash when everyone and their blind galactical twin knew he wasn’t worth but half of his $37 million pact.
And here we are again, in a similar position. The M’s need quality arms and there isn’t much to choose from after the first half-dozen, and half of those options are non-options, such as Roger Clemens, who will certainly only play for New York, Boston or Houston, and Andy Pettitte, who’s just as unlikely to come to Seattle as Clemens, aren’t options at all, and now neither is a Japanese star… yet.
There have been rumors, baseless to this point however, but rumors nonetheless, that Matsuzaka and Boras are not automatically assuming that a deal will be reached with the winning bidder over the next 30 days.
Boras loves to play games with the market, often putting one club up against another in a fight for one of his players to get the absolute most money possible.
Well, the only way he can do that with the biggest Japanese migration to date, is for Daisuke to return to Japane for one more year and have him hit the market next year when he can choose any club… and pit several against each other in a true bidding war.
There have also been whispers about the possibility that a few teams might be willing to part with big time talent to trade for Matsuzaka once he’s signed on the dotted line, in a sort of sign-and-trade scenario, which is not at all prohibited in the posting process.
None of the above is very likely at all, as it’s probably just posturing to get more dough out of the Yankees, both for the Seibu Liones and for Matsuzaka, but it’s interesting anyways.
|Daisuke Matsuzaka, RH
||26||0% – Some believe the M’s DID bid…||Fifty percent Yankee, 20 percent Dodger, but 5% Seibu Lion?|
|Jason Schmidt, RH
||34||70% – A slam dunk, barring cold feet.||Worth three and 25, will probably get four and 45. Yikes.|
|Andy Pettitte, LH||34||0% – Houston, New York (both) or retirement?||I’m thinking he goes back to the Stros for one more year.
|Adam Eaton, RH
||29||20% – Three guaranteed years? No thanks.||If he doesn’t sign with M’s, he’s probably NL bound. SF? SD?|
|Roger Clemens, RH||44||0% – Who cares anymore?||He should retire, for my sake. I’m tired of all the talk.|
|Greg Maddux, RH
||40||0% -Not a fit on a developing club.||Seems like LAD is the place he ends up. Maybe the Pads sneak in.
|Jason Marquis, RH||28||10% – The NL’s version of Mech.e
||Stay in the NL, JMar, where you have a chance.
|Gil Meche, RH||28||15% – M’s haven’t ruled out offering 2 years.||Toronto might offer three years and $8 mil per… oh, JP.|
|Ted Lilly, LH||31||10% – Might be a decent fit, but unexciting.||Yankees, Mets, Phillies and Giants have interest, too.
|Jeff Suppan, RH||32||5% – May get $8 mil per after game 7 heroics.||Jays are in on this clown, too. FireJP.com.
|Tomo Ohka, RH||31||5% – Might be a good value for the back end.
||Giants, Cards, A’s, Astros and, yes, the Blue Jays have all called.|
|Jeff Weaver, RH||30||0% – Hopefully my connections are right.
||May get the big offer he wanted last winter… for no good reason.|
| The Zito, LH
||28||0% – No way they spend that kind of money.||Most say NYY or NYM, I say LAD and Boston are the sleepers.
|Vicente Padilla, RH||29||5% – Undervalued, then overpaid.||He’ll get Meche money, maybe more after okay year. Yuck.|
|Chan Ho Park, RH
||33||1% – I don’t want to say NEVER…||For cheap, someone might get a decent fourth starter.|
|Kip Wells, RH||29||0% – Can’t stay healthy…
||Someone’s NRI… not in Seattle, however.
|Orlando Hernandez, RH||37||0% – He’s 98 years old…||… but can pitch some when healthy. A Mets return?
|Tony Armas, RH
||28||10% – Asking for 3/24.||Riccardi is salivating. My new site — TheJayswastecash.org.|
|Mark Mulder, LH
||29||1% – A January signing?
||Giants, Mets and Cards might offer three years.|
The M’s will probably have a differing level of interest on a lot of guys, even some not mentioned above – such as Randy Wolf, Rodrigo Lopez, Mark Redman, John Thomson, Tim Redding, Kei Igawa – but it’s difficult to tell how serious Bill Bavasi and company will ultimately be about back-end starters… even Lilly, Ohka and Eaton.
There’s no chance that Zito lands in an M’s uniform, we all know that, but Schmidt is a real possibility and would lead the club probably looking to make a deal for one more arm, such as a Jeremy Reed, Yorman Bazardo, Justin Thomas-for-Jason Jennings deal.
With all of the uncertainty surrounding the future of the M’s rotation, it’s frustrating to look at the free agent market and try and figure out how the club can add quality arms without grossly overpaying – again.
They have to add at least two starters from outside the organization, and not a soul in the universe believes it’ll come cheap.
Sadly, everyone is right.
Other trade targets may include Matt Clement, Doug Davis, Brandon Backe, Derek Lowe and Nate Robertson, but money, injury or the lack of impact darken those clouds, don’t they?
If the M’s ink Schmidt to a contract of more than three years and upwards of $10 million, it’s going to be a terrible offseason for the Hometown Nine.