We already know the free agent market for starting pitching is likely to lack big names following the 2011 season. How about those who may hit free agency after the 2012 season? Ricky Nolasco is off the board; let's see who's left.
The following starting pitchers are on pace to have six-plus years of service time for the first time once the '12 season ends: Jered Weaver, Cole Hamels, Francisco Liriano, John Danks, Shaun Marcum, Chad Billingsley, Jonathan Sanchez, Jeremy Guthrie, Joe Saunders, and Anibal Sanchez. They're each two seasons away from a shot at free agency, unless they agree to extensions before November 2012. If top names like Weaver, Hamels, Liriano, Danks, Marcum, Billingsley, and Jonathan Sanchez are willing to gamble that they'll post strong, healthy 2012 seasons, they could be the cream of the free agent crop.
These players are signed to multiyear contracts that will end after the 2012 season: Zack Greinke, Matt Cain, Derek Lowe, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joe Blanton, Kevin Correia, and Kyle Lohse. Greinke and Cain are the standouts.
These pitchers have contract options for 2012: Chris Carpenter, Roy Oswalt, Ryan Dempster, Colby Lewis, Aaron Cook, Zach Duke, Jon Garland, Aaron Harang, Scott Kazmir, Paul Maholm, Scott Olsen, and Carlos Silva. They'd be free agents for the 2011-12 offseason if the options are declined, or the 2012-13 offseason if exercised or vested. So there's a good chance Carpenter, Oswalt, Dempster, and Lewis become free agents after the 2012 season.
The following pitchers have options for 2013, which if declined would make them free agents for the 2012-13 offseason: Dan Haren, Ervin Santana, Brett Myers, Tim Hudson, Jake Westbrook, Carlos Zambrano, Jorge de la Rosa, Scott Baker, Jake Peavy, Gavin Floyd, Randy Wolf, and Scott Feldman. Zambrano's is an unlikely vesting option, so he'll probably hit the market.
Fausto Carmona and James Shields have club options for '12, '13, and '14. If their '12 options are picked up and '13 declined, they'd join this free agent class. Additionally, current free agent starters could join this group by signing two-year deals or one-year contracts with options that are picked up. Still more names will be added from those who sign one-year deals now and again after the season, as well as those non-tendered after '12.
Cot's Baseball Contracts was instrumental in creating this post.