Earlier today we looked at the best arbitration eligible position players without extensions, including Geovany Soto, Prince Fielder, Shin-Soo Choo, and Hunter Pence. Now let's tackle the best arbitration eligible starting pitchers currently on one-year deals. I've included agency info from our database.
- Francisco Liriano, Twins - Legacy Sports Group
- Jered Weaver, Angels - Boras Corporation
- Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers - Hendricks Sports
- Chad Billingsley, Dodgers - Dave Stewart
- John Danks, White Sox - CAA Sports
- Shaun Marcum, Brewers - Turner/Gary
- C.J. Wilson, Rangers - Select Sports Group
- Phil Hughes, Yankees - CAA Sports
- Brandon Morrow, Blue Jays - Wasserman Media Group
- Matt Garza, Cubs - CAA Sports
- Jonathan Sanchez, Giants - Boras Corporation
- Mike Pelfrey, Mets - Boras Corporation
- Dallas Braden, Athletics - Dan Lozano
- Anibal Sanchez, Marlins - Unknown
- Jeremy Guthrie, Orioles - CAA Sports
- Joe Saunders, Diamondbacks - Legacy Sports Group
- Jair Jurrjens, Braves - Boras Corporation
The Boras influence is probably present with Weaver, who would have lost good money if he'd signed an extension before the 2010 season. Even after losing an arbitration case, Weaver has earned $11.635MM with one arbitration year remaining. Sanchez, Pelfrey, and Jurrjens probably aren't the caliber of pitcher most teams feel compelled to extend. That holds true for many of the non-Boras clients at the bottom of the list as well.
Danks has certainly piled up extension-worthy numbers. He turned down four years and $15MM from the White Sox before his first arbitration year. He's up to $9.45MM for his first two, so he could total $20MM over three arbitration years if he performs well again in 2011. Danks could enter free agency at age 27, though he's said he's "extremely happy" in Chicago. Barring injury, he could earn a huge contract. With Billingsley, who is on a similar track, you have to wonder what the Dodgers offered, if anything.
With the others on the list, you can see why the teams would prefer to wait for health or consistency reasons. That's a double-edged sword, because a big 2011 brings the pitcher one step closer to free agency and drives the price up for an extension.