Free Agent Market For Left-handed Starters

The free agent market for right-handed starters mainly offered innings eaters.  Here's a look at the available southpaws.

Baseball's Sixth $100MM Pitcher

He may have taken the loss in two World Series games, but Cliff Lee is still the marquee name among all free agent starting pitchers.  The 32-year-old has a 2.98 ERA, 7.2 K/9, 1.3 BB/9, and 0.61 HR/9 in 667.3 regular season innings since 2008.  He tossed 248 innings this year including the playoffs despite not making his first start until April 30th.  Lee is eligible for free agency for the first time in his career and will finally get to settle down with one team.  For more on his market, check out Mike Axisa's October 4th post.

Strong, Abbreviated Seasons

As usual, Andy Pettitte's options appear to be retirement or a return to the Yankees.  That leaves Jorge de la Rosa as the second-best lefty available and perhaps the second-best starter overall since the Dodgers locked up Ted Lilly.  As a Type A free agent, De La Rosa will cost a draft pick along with his contract.  De La Rosa, 30 in April, missed ten weeks this season with a torn tendon in his finger.  He throws hard, strikes out plenty, gets groundballs, and walks too many.

Three Semi-Interesting Names

If you dig a bit you'll find Hisanori Takahashi, Chris Capuano, and Bruce Chen as a trio of lefties capable of starting.  All three had decent peripherals as starters this year, though only Chen topped 100 innings in the role.

Hoping To Stay Healthy

Jamie Moyer and Jeff Francis managed to top 100 innings despite injuries, while Doug Davis, Erik Bedard, and Mike Hampton didn't pitch much if at all.  Francis' shoulder remains a concern, but he'll be 30 in January and may have something left to offer.

Looking For Work

Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis will have to prove themselves in the minors, as might Jarrod Washburn after sitting out 2010.  Rich Hill and Mark Hendrickson are in a similar boat; all of these guys should be flexible on their roles.

Non-Tender Candidates

Zach Duke, Scott Olsen, Andrew Miller, Brian Tallet, and Glen Perkins are the names to watch here.  Duke, 28 in April, has been useful at times but dealt with elbow trouble this year.  Olsen's issue was his shoulder.  Miller was once among the game's top prospects; Mike Axisa discussed his case on Saturday.

Summary

Many teams in the starting pitching hunt just won't have the cash to seriously bid for Lee.  De La Rosa will get plenty of action, but there aren't many other free agent lefties you'd plug into a rotation.


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