Potential Alternatives To Free Agent Starters

Our list of prospective free agent starters identifies lots of targets for teams looking to fill out their rotations, but there will be many alternatives. That's because some pitchers will be non-tendered and others will become trade targets. Here's a preliminary look at some starters who could be available this offseason, even though they're under team control for 2011.

Trade Candidates

Non-Tender Candidates


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64 Comments on "Potential Alternatives To Free Agent Starters"


dascual
4 years 11 months ago

Perhaps Shaun Marcum would be on the possible trade list

moonraker45
4 years 11 months ago

I would have thought that originally

but cecil, morrow, romero and marcum have become really close, with marcum obviously doing a great job with helping them along. I think atleast for now, he stays.

Steelslayer
4 years 11 months ago

I agree, originally even though i opposed the idea of him being traded earlier in the season, i don’t think they will trade him now. They are all developing into a real tight knit group that are always together. Marcum is a great competitor, and while he doesn’t have a whole lot more experience than the others, he is a little older and setting a good example for the younger guys in the rotation. Most people also said he would be trade considering the time frame on which the jays could contend, but it seems that they are ahead of that curve and will need him sooner rather than younger pitchers and younger players later

Sniderlover
4 years 11 months ago

For now, I think he should stay. Our rotation is still young and we still need depth. We don’t know if Stewart and Drabek are fully ready to pitch good enough for the bigs. And I don’t really want Ray or Mills pitching, however I would give Zep a shot to see how well he can do when healthy. He was great in 09 and he’s completely blown up this year. I’d expect him to bounce back next year.

I think we should sign Marcum long-term, a team-friendly contract that is maybe 3 years with a few club options, it would give Marcum more value provided he can stay healthy and continue to pitch well and I’m sure Marcum wouldn’t mind getting some security.

And if Marcum does get dealt next season, it would have to be near the trade deadline.

moonraker45
4 years 11 months ago

I would have thought that originally

but cecil, morrow, romero and marcum have become really close, with marcum obviously doing a great job with helping them along. I think atleast for now, he stays.

4 years 11 months ago

It’s too bad that Kawakami apparently managed to offend Cox so deeply he would never pitch him in even the most lopsided occasions. Cox never speaks negatively of his players, yet he said of Kawakami’s last start that it was “the worst I’ve ever seen him pitch.” Kawakami must have done something to make Cox angry enough to say something like that about a player.

Too bad too, because Kawakami wasn’t bad for what he was – a #5 starter. It’s not his fault that he had such a terrible record. The Braves offense never scored when he was on the mound, and it’s not really fair to expect your #5 guy to hold any team to 2 runs or less (although apparently many Braves fans expect just that given how apt they were to side with the organization on the Kawakami hostage situation).

Still, maybe some GM out there will see that Kawakami is basically a league average pitcher getting paid like a league average pitcher. Not every team is blessed with the Braves’ pitching depth, so I’m sure he’d be useful to someone.

roberty
4 years 11 months ago

Kawakami could certainly be worse, but looking at his stats doesn’t tell the whole story. He does a lot of things that drive managers, especially Cox, crazy. He walks the crappy guys in the bottom of the order. He allows tons of lead-off walks. He never defends leads. He works so slowly the defense loses focus. And long innings also allow the opposing pitcher to recharge. Check out Usbaldo’s no-no against the Braves. Kawakami’s mind numbingly slow pace certainly contributed. He isn’t horrible, but it’s always an uphill battle when he is on the mound. And he might not be that bad for a #5 starter, but $7 million a year is a lot to pay for a mediocre #5 starter.

4 years 11 months ago

It’s too bad that Kawakami apparently managed to offend Cox so deeply he would never pitch him in even the most lopsided occasions. Cox never speaks negatively of his players, yet he said of Kawakami’s last start that it was “the worst I’ve ever seen him pitch.” Kawakami must have done something to make Cox angry enough to say something like that about a player.

Too bad too, because Kawakami wasn’t bad for what he was – a #5 starter. It’s not his fault that he had such a terrible record. The Braves offense never scored when he was on the mound, and it’s not really fair to expect your #5 guy to hold any team to 2 runs or less (although apparently many Braves fans expect just that given how apt they were to side with the organization on the Kawakami hostage situation).

Still, maybe some GM out there will see that Kawakami is basically a league average pitcher getting paid like a league average pitcher. Not every team is blessed with the Braves’ pitching depth, so I’m sure he’d be useful to someone.

Deviation
4 years 11 months ago

I have trouble seeing some of those players actually being traded.

Deviation
4 years 11 months ago

I have trouble seeing some of those players actually being traded.

ateam043
4 years 11 months ago

Though I’m a James Loney fan…

How about Matt Garza for James Loney?

Hermie13
4 years 11 months ago

Doesn’t make much sense for the Rays. They would trade Garza to save money…Loney made $3.1M this year.

Plus, Loney has had 3 straight years of sub-.800 OPS seaons from the 1B spot. Maybe getting out of the NL West would help, but the Rays could do better for Garza who still has 3 years of contrallability left (believe Loney only has 2).

roberty
4 years 11 months ago

Plus there are about 10 decent free agent first basemen on the market this season, no need to trade pitching when they can probably keep Carlos Pena or go for someone like Derek Lee.

Hermie13
4 years 11 months ago

Rays won’t have the money to keep Pena or go for Lee. It’s not about available players with the Rays, it’s all about payroll. Reports are it’s going to drop dramatically this winter.

Hermie13
4 years 11 months ago

Rays won’t have the money to keep Pena or go for Lee. It’s not about available players with the Rays, it’s all about payroll. Reports are it’s going to drop dramatically this winter.

budman3
4 years 11 months ago

Rays have plenty of what a team need sto stay competitive, starting pitching. What they won’t be able to replace is Pena, Crawford and Soriano. Since they can’t spend big in free agency, the only alternative is to move either Garza or Shields and get hitting or a closer in return. Sheids will go eventually because his contract is beginning to escalate beyond their means. Garza has more upside, IMO and can still be offered arbitration for 2 more seasons(not the big bucks yet). Rays have Hellickson ready to step in in 2011, so I have to think one of them is gone in a major trade this winter.

buddaley
4 years 11 months ago

Double check your figures. Garza is more expensive this year and will probably be more expensive next year after arbitration.

In addition, there is a reasonable line of argument that Shields is the better pitcher. Check this link:

http://theprocessreport.com/2010/09/10/i-would-trade-matt-garza-before-james-shields/#respond

derekbellstutu
4 years 11 months ago

How ’bout the Rays trade Shields and Garza to the Pirates for Garrett Jones, Ryan Doumit, and Joel Hanrahan? Jones won’t have the power of Pena, but will hit for a better average and can play 1B, RF, or DH. Doumit is serviceable at C, 1B, and RF and could DH since he’s got some pop in his bat. Hanrahan has taken over the closer duties since the Bucs traded Dotel and hasn’t been horrible. It’s probably an outrageous deal, but it would be nice to see the Bucs get quality pitchers like Garza and/or Shields instead of running pitchers like Zach Duke to the mound every fifth day.

Hermie13
4 years 11 months ago

Absolutely horrible deal for the Rays. Trading not one but TWO #2/3 guys for a backup catcher, a reliever who will be arbitration eligible this winter, and a 1B/OF who will turn 30 next year and has an OPS of .717?!?!?

That may be the worst trade proposal I have ever seen in my life.

dascual
4 years 11 months ago

Obviously you don’t read enough from Yankee and Red Sox fans…lol

fishfan4life
4 years 11 months ago

Major fail.

roberty
4 years 11 months ago

Doesn’t make sense for the Pirates. They aren’t going to want to add payroll to bulk up a team that is several years away from competing. Shields and Garza will be gone via free agency before their young team has become competitive.

Hermie13
4 years 11 months ago

Just an FYI…

Matt Garza is under team control through 2013 at least (still has 3 more arbitration years left after this season).

James Shields is signed through 2014 (with his team options).

I mean, any player likely will be gone by the time the Pirates are competive…..but these guys have as good a chance as any.

I mean, Alvarez is only technically guranteed to be around til 2016 so not like he’s around much longer than Shields.

Trading for Shields would make a TON of sense for the Pirates……but I don’t see them coughing up the prospects needed and their current players (minus their young studs who aren’t being traded) just plain aren’t going to get you a pitcher like Shields (or Garza).

Hermie13
4 years 11 months ago

Just an FYI…

Matt Garza is under team control through 2013 at least (still has 3 more arbitration years left after this season).

James Shields is signed through 2014 (with his team options).

I mean, any player likely will be gone by the time the Pirates are competive…..but these guys have as good a chance as any.

I mean, Alvarez is only technically guranteed to be around til 2016 so not like he’s around much longer than Shields.

Trading for Shields would make a TON of sense for the Pirates……but I don’t see them coughing up the prospects needed and their current players (minus their young studs who aren’t being traded) just plain aren’t going to get you a pitcher like Shields (or Garza).

derekbellstutu
4 years 11 months ago

That should have read Shields or Garza, not and. I would think Garrett Jones and Evan Meek would be sufficient for Shield’s service.

Hermie13
4 years 11 months ago

Not even close again.

Garrett Jones has a freakin .717 OPS! He’s 30 and will turn 31 during the 2011 season. Meek is a nice reliever but him and a so-so 1B/OF are NOT worth a pitcher of Shields’ caliber. Cough up 2 of your top 5 prospects and maybe, just maybe you could get him.

Hermie13
4 years 11 months ago

Not even close again.

Garrett Jones has a freakin .717 OPS! He’s 30 and will turn 31 during the 2011 season. Meek is a nice reliever but him and a so-so 1B/OF are NOT worth a pitcher of Shields’ caliber. Cough up 2 of your top 5 prospects and maybe, just maybe you could get him.

derekbellstutu
4 years 11 months ago

That should have read Shields or Garza, not and. I would think Garrett Jones and Evan Meek would be sufficient for Shield’s service.

leberquesgue
4 years 11 months ago

Since the list seems to be of players that teams will shop, notwithstanding the likelihood of a willing buyer — e.g. Zambrano, Lowe, Kawakami — perhaps Matsuzaka could be added?

Potrzeba
4 years 11 months ago

I could see dice-k being traded.the twins,mets,dodgers,tigers,brewers all could use him.

roberty
4 years 11 months ago

The Mets love big names, the Dodgers love Japanese pitchers, and the Tigers have tons of payroll coming off the books so he could be a good fit on any of those teams.

daveineg
4 years 11 months ago

Of the non-tender group, the guy who interests me as a Brewer fan is Brandon McCarthy. This is a guy who when he’s been healthy (rarely as it’s been) had posted decent numbers pitching in hitters parks in Chicago and Texas against AL lineups. At just 27, if he could ever stay healthy, he seems capable of solid numbers in the NL and could be a bargain worth pursuing as a potential 4th starter in the Brewer rotation.

Guest
4 years 11 months ago

Don’t forget Javier Vázquez, with his huge contract and his constant decrease in velocity over the past 4-5 years, it’s more than likely the Yankees will not offer him arbitration.

cubsfanraysaddict
4 years 11 months ago

“Potential Alternatives To Free Agent Starters”

Guest
4 years 11 months ago

If the yankees don’t offer him arbitration he becomes free agent, so yep, he is a potential (as in HE COULD BE) alternative to a free agent starter (beause he is no reliever even if he has been used a few times in his career).

Hermie13
4 years 11 months ago

Dude, Vazquez is NOT an alternative to a free agent starter…he IS a free agent starter. Whether he’s offered arbitration or not is irrelevant here. He is a free agent when the season is up, which is why he’s not listed here nor does he belong in the dicussions. there’s a “starting pitcher” thread for that.

Disqus01
4 years 11 months ago

Dude… if he is a free agent THEN he is an alternative, right?
He is a potential free agent, why? because the NYY could offer him arbitration in hopes he declines it, so they can get a player from the team that signs him, right?
BUT if he accepts arbitration, he won’t be a FA anymore. That just to show you how “irrelevant” is if he’s ‘offered arbitration’.
He is not a de-facto free agent, that’s something you got to take into account. That’s what POTENTIAL means, semantics Hermie, semantics.
With a season as deplorable and mediocre as he’s having, nobody knows what will go around Vázquez mind come that time of the season (besides thinking on how bad he has been all his career versus teams with a winning percentage) and whether he’ll accept it or refuse it.

LioneeR
4 years 11 months ago

Horrible logic.

Disqus01
4 years 10 months ago

The fact you don’t share my point of view doesn’t make it “horrible logic”, it just goes to show you that you didn’t know nor can understand how logic works.

Hermie13
4 years 11 months ago

No, he is a 100% free agent this winter. If he accepts arbitration then re-signs with the Yanks (arbitration is not 100% guaranteed) then he will NO LONGER be a free agent. But he is, in fact a free agent.

Bottom line, if he’s not offered arbry, he’s a free agent. If he is offered, he is STILL a free agent.

Just depends if HE CHOOSES to stay in NY or not. Doesn’t change the fact that he is a free agent and why he’s not an alternative to a free agent.

Not sure why you don’t understand this, but an “alternative” to a free agent is someone who is under contract with another team and may be available in a trade.

If you start counting guys who have almost no chance of being offered arby as trade candidates/alternatives….then there are apparently zero free agents this winter. good grief

Disqus01
4 years 10 months ago

Nope, you fail to understand the intrincacies of it all, he is not a free agent UNTIL he declines arbitration, nobody can offer a free agent arbitration.

A free agent is that, a player who is free to negotiate with anybody, while players offered arbitration have a window to negotiate exclusively with the team they last played with.

Javier will not be eligible to negotiate with anybody UNTIL NYY opts not to offer him arbitration OR he declines the offer (if there is one).

Sniderlover
4 years 11 months ago

Lol’ers.

roberty
4 years 11 months ago

Deplorable? Really? The guy isn’t committing genocide. He isn’t exposing himself to school children. For crying out loud. He’s an athlete. He throws a ball for your entertainment. You NY fans are freakin nuts.

roberty
4 years 11 months ago

Vasquez only makes $11 million or so a year, that isn’t huge. Also, his velocity was just fine pitching in Atlanta last season, it has only decreased since he rejoined the Yankees. But you are right, the only reason I could see them offering arbitration is because they know Javy doesn’t love pitching there and probably wants to leave for greener pastures.

Hermie13
4 years 11 months ago

$11M is a TON for a #2/3 (at best) starting pitcher for most teams though. So it is huge.

I disagree somewhat on Vazquez accepting arby. If offered, I think he accepts. As said, he’s making a TON of money this year. Minimum he’ll get offered is 80% of that. He won’t get that on the open market. Odds are the Yanks won’t offer…but if they do and he accepts (likely) then they could always deal him to a team as I can’t see the Yanks keeping him around again. That or cut him in March as arby is non-guaranteed (see Varitek 2 years ago).

Agree somewhat on your critique of Vazquez. He needs to go back to the NL. He’s an NL pitcher, period. It’s so much easier pitching in the NL with the pitcher coming up 2 or 3 times a game versus a DH.

Hermie13
4 years 11 months ago

$11M is a TON for a #2/3 (at best) starting pitcher for most teams though. So it is huge.

I disagree somewhat on Vazquez accepting arby. If offered, I think he accepts. As said, he’s making a TON of money this year. Minimum he’ll get offered is 80% of that. He won’t get that on the open market. Odds are the Yanks won’t offer…but if they do and he accepts (likely) then they could always deal him to a team as I can’t see the Yanks keeping him around again. That or cut him in March as arby is non-guaranteed (see Varitek 2 years ago).

Agree somewhat on your critique of Vazquez. He needs to go back to the NL. He’s an NL pitcher, period. It’s so much easier pitching in the NL with the pitcher coming up 2 or 3 times a game versus a DH.

fishfan4life
4 years 11 months ago

James Shields is a piece of crap. He’s allowing more and more hits every year, along with HRs. And he’s having an awful year this season.

4 years 11 months ago

So you’d rather give up James Shields than Matt Garza? Matt Garza is more expensive, and should net in a nicer return than Shields, though both would net in nice returns.

4 years 11 months ago

So you’d rather give up James Shields than Matt Garza? Matt Garza is more expensive, and should net in a nicer return than Shields, though both would net in nice returns.

buddaley
4 years 11 months ago

This is misleading and to some extent untrue. His home run rate is higher this year than in the past, and went up slightly from 2008-09, but otherwise the trend was not up. He has also given up more hits/IP than usual this year, but again that trend is only 2 years old.

In addition, he has maintained his low BB rate while improving his K rate rather significantly. He is not having an awful season; he is having a somewhat erratic one and a somewhat unlucky one, but he remains a solid mid-rotation starter with the real potential to return to his norms.

In any case, calling him a “piece of crap” is nasty and untrue.

buddaley
4 years 11 months ago

This is misleading and to some extent untrue. His home run rate is higher this year than in the past, and went up slightly from 2008-09, but otherwise the trend was not up. He has also given up more hits/IP than usual this year, but again that trend is only 2 years old.

In addition, he has maintained his low BB rate while improving his K rate rather significantly. He is not having an awful season; he is having a somewhat erratic one and a somewhat unlucky one, but he remains a solid mid-rotation starter with the real potential to return to his norms.

In any case, calling him a “piece of crap” is nasty and untrue.

Hermie13
4 years 11 months ago

Yeah, James Shields is definitely not a piece of crap. He’s been very unlucky this year.

His BABIP against is .344. That’s very high for this late in the year.

His FIP is also 4.32 (over half run lower than his ERA), and his xFIP is 3.71, which is one of the better ones in the league.

Still has a very good K/BB rate as well. Pitchign more like a #3 this year than the FOR guy he looked like in 2008.

4 years 11 months ago

As a true rays fan for over 9 years and all the yrs of losing i say trade shields i dont care what garza would cost you can have a great rotation with garza niemann price davis and hellickson with moore and mcgee waiting in the wings.they have to build from somewhere to go with longoria upton ruiz jaso joyce brignac zobrist ect.and the blue jays should not trade marcum in the al east above anything else you need a good rotation a nice offense helps but you need to keep these guys to compete with boston and new york in the long run.as a side note anyone know of a city for the rays to go that would generate better revenue thats in the east coast tampa isnt really a city for a mlb team more of a retirement type of city

4 years 11 months ago

the rays aren’t in tampa. they are in (south) st. pete. and st pete is a laid back beach type city.

and Tampa isnt much of a retirement town… usf, ybor, channelside, theres plenty of ‘younger’ things going on. the rays tv ratings are doing well – hence they have fans.
A decent ballpark in South Tampa, and any sort of mass transit and they would do much better.

damnitsderek
4 years 11 months ago

The fact that the Rays are able to make both Shields and Garza potentially available because of their pitching prospects’ development is downright terrifying. If Hellickson and Moore only reach half of their respective potentials, Tampa Bay will have the best rotation in baseball.

4 years 11 months ago

Does nobody think that Montero could still develop to become at the very least a serviceable catcher?? Let him stay in the minors another yr while Posada’s contract runs out and go from there. Just curious, is there any chance the Yanks inquire on Greinke? With all the catching prospects and the young pitchers in the minors, i’m sure they can make a good offer for him. Would do that instead of going after Lee and use the money saved in other areas of need like the bullpen and maybe even closing prospects because Mariano is not getting any younger!

kwhitey
4 years 11 months ago

Think KC would move Greinke for montero, Brett Gardner, 2 more prospects? Then the Yanks sign Crawford or werth for left?

YankeeBaseball
4 years 11 months ago

If someone will take him and his bloated contract, AJ Burnett is a free-agent alternative. “Brunette” has been brutal this year!

4 years 11 months ago

That’s the point. Just about any team can afford his contract, he’s a potential ace*, and he’ll cost a boatload because of that. They’re not in contention, so why keep him around when he can single-handedly do for the Royals what Teixeira did for the Rangers?

*One amazing year, one pretty good year (now), let’s see some consistency. At worst he’s an average #2 starter, though.

jwsox
4 years 11 months ago

he is on there consistantly becase the royals, like many small market, bad baseball teams, pirates, untill recently the padres, brewers and twins. Have a few good if not great players come through every few years but never at the same time so what do they do….they trade them. Lose on superstar and get a boat load of prospects in return. Ie the tex deals, arod deals, CC deal cliff lee deal(s) halladay deal….thats why. Because looking at the roster of the royals and the falling off of billy butler(was supposed to be the next big thing at first and now he is just a big guy who plays first). The royals are a number of years away from being legit contenders, if they ever will be with their current GM. And by that time Zack will be long gone so why waste him there now, they are just hurting his trade value and potentially causing him to have those anxiety issues again.

the smartest move for the royals, while it would hurt their fans(not more than always losing) would be to trade soria and greinke and potentially butler and stock their farm system and go for it all in a few years…also fire the GM, get new owner who want to spend and a gm that knows how to spend…not like the alst , non-tendering olivo and signing old man wayy past hims prime kendal, signing scotty pods, brian anderson, ankeil the list goes on

ateam043
4 years 11 months ago

My bad, was under the impression that Matt Garza was making more $ than Loney.

Still would like LA to get Matt. He would thrive in Pitchers parks in the NL West, he would thrive alone just getting out of the AL East.

ateam043
4 years 11 months ago

My bad, was under the impression that Matt Garza was making more $ than Loney.

Still would like LA to get Matt. He would thrive in Pitchers parks in the NL West, he would thrive alone just getting out of the AL East.

4 years 11 months ago

You cant add the twins to that bad baseball small market teams list they are over 100m in payroll and 2 games back from the best record in baseball. Santana wasnt going to get resigned it would have been stupid look where he is now and factor in that they knew they were going to spend a lot of payroll on Mauer and Morneau and at that time Liriano tho injury delayed that for years. Hunter may have been a small market loss but I really dont think he would have been worth the money to us since they were already grooming Span to be cf of the future as Hunter was mentoring him like Kirby had Hunter.
Grenkie is trade bait KC has no use for him except to extract prospects for the future.

4 years 11 months ago

JW — Must be a Red Sox fan, since you obviously have no clue that the Royals have the No. 1 farm system in baseball. They are LOADED already. Theyre much closer to being contenders than you think. You might want to try reading a little more.