Free Agent Stock Watch: Kevin Correia

Like the Padres, Kevin Correia started the season well but slumped down the stretch. There's no question that the 30-year-old's late-season struggles will limit his asking price this winter. Here's a closer look at the right-hander's free agent stock:

The Pros

  • Correia can strike hitters out (7.1 K/9 in 2010).
  • He stayed healthy all year.
  • Teams were showing interest in Correia not long ago; the Brewers and Rays asked about him last offseason
  • Despite the righty's 5.40 ERA, defense-independent pitching stats suggest he was unlucky. Nearly 15% of fly balls hit off of Correia left the yard, so homers inflated his ERA.
  • Correia has induced more grounders in the past two seasons (45% ground ball rate in '09, 49% ground ball rate in '10). This suggests he could pitch just as effectively in a considerably smaller park than Petco.
  • He's just a year removed from a season in which he posted a 3.91 ERA in 33 starts.

The Cons

  • He posted a 5.40 ERA last year, allowing more than a hit per inning. Lucky or not, those numbers are ugly.
  • Bud Black took note and removed the right-hander from the Padres' rotation in September. Correia had posted a 6.18 ERA between June and August. That's one long slump.
  • His walk rate jumped from 2.9 BB/9 to 4.0 BB/9 in 2010.

The Verdict 

It doesn't look great for Correia, though he shouldn't have trouble drawing interest. Teams like the Orioles and Brewers will be looking for back-of-the-rotation arms this offseason and Correia's ability to induce grounders would play well in homer-friendly places like Camden Yards and Miller Park. But other free agents (including former Brewer Dave Bush and former Oriole Kevin Millwood) will be vying for rotation spots and Correia doesn't have much leverage given his poor finish. A one-year deal worth $2MM or so seems like a reasonable target for the San Diego native, who may well end up with the Padres again.

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