Who’s Looking For Starting Pitching?

We're a week from the Winter Meetings, and starting pitchers Jon Garland, Hiroki Kuroda, Ted Lilly, Javier Vazquez, and Jake Westbrook have already signed – three of them with the Dodgers.  For the many teams that can't afford Cliff Lee, it's down to Jorge de la Rosa, Carl Pavano, and a field of comeback candidates or back-rotation arms.  Let's take a look at which teams are in the market.

  • Astros – They subtracted Felipe Paulino, and have been linked to Brandon McCarthy and Jeff Francis.  GM Ed Wade explained earlier this month that he'd like to add someone on a one-year deal similar to the Brett Myers contract.
  • Athletics – They showed their desire to add starting pitching by bidding $19.1MM for the right to negotiate with Hisashi Iwakuma.  If they're unable to reach a deal with him by Wednesday of next week, the A's could check out the free agent market.  They're known to be interested in McCarthy.
  • Brewers – They're in on McCarthy, Francis, and Jarrod Washburn, but are expected to focus on trade possibilities as they look to add a starter or two.
  • Cubs – The Cubs have five starters, but could add insurance with Jeremy Bonderman, Aaron Harang, Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, or Brandon Webb.
  • Diamondbacks – They were linked to McCarthy prior to acquiring Zach Duke.  With their front four settled, I expect them to worry about other needs.
  • Mariners – They've been linked to McCarthy and Jeff Francis, suggesting they're targeting injury comeback candidates.
  • Mets – The rumor mill has been quiet, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post can see them getting in on a reclamation-project starter in the new year.
  • Nationals – The Nationals are seeking pitching by trade, free agency, or both.  They're in on Lee, De La Rosa, Webb, and Pavano at the least.
  • Orioles – They apparently have tepid interest in De La Rosa, and have been linked to position players more frequently this offseason.
  • Padres – Garland's gone and Kevin Correia is a free agent.  The Padres have been linked to McCarthy and will probably seek late bargains.
  • Pirates – They seem very likely to sign some kind of free agent starter this winter.  They've moved on from Duke and are eyeing Scott Olsen, De La Rosa, Webb, and Francis.
  • Rangers – They could move Neftali Feliz to the rotation, but the top priority is signing Lee.  If Lee signs elsewhere they're expected to look into Zack Greinke.  They're known to be in on Webb, and happen to employ Webb's surgeon Dr. Keith Meister as the team physician.
  • Reds – They've been loosely linked to Webb based mainly on geography, but already made a big commitment to Bronson Arroyo and don't have a ton of spending money.
  • Rockies – They're likely to add a starter and are in on Webb and Francis.  They could also look at trades and lesser free agents, but at least they've added Paulino.
  • Royals – The Royals cut Brian Bannister and are interested in Kevin Millwood, to name one option.  If Kyle Davies is non-tendered on Thursday that would heighten their need.
  • Tigers – They seem content with their rotation options, but they were among the seven clubs linked to McCarthy.
  • Twins – They'll need an arm, possibly Pavano.  They placed a bid on Iwakuma and have been tied to Webb.  Washburn could also work.
  • White Sox – They haven't been linked to anyone, and appear to be in good shape even with Jake Peavy missing the beginning of the season given the possibility of moving Chris Sale into the rotation.  However, I won't rule Kenny Williams out if he finds one of the aforementioned free agent arms intriguing.
  • Yankees – They're the favorites for Lee, and Andy Pettitte might be leaning toward a return.  The Yankees are not expected to participate in the next bracket of free agent starters if one of those options falls through, and the trade market is barren if Greinke is off-limits.
  • The Angels, Blue Jays, Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants, Indians, Marlins, Phillies, Rays, and Red Sox have either stayed out of the rumor mill or already made their additions.  Still, it would not be a shock for some of these teams to add starting pitching.

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