How Teams Obtained Their Opening Day Starters

You can define a No. 1 starter in any number of ways, but in one respect, managers around the game have already done the work for us. Here's a list of the pitchers who got the Opening Day nod this year and how their current teams acquired them:

Draft Picks (15)

  • Luke Hochevar, Royals – Selected in the first round of the 2006 draft (1st overall).
  • David Price, Rays – Selected in the first round of the 2007 draft (1st overall).
  • Justin Verlander, Tigers – Selected in the first round of the 2004 draft (2nd overall).
  • Tim Stauffer, Padres – Selected in the first round of the 2003 draft (4th overall).
  • Ricky Romero, Blue Jays – Selected in the first round of the 2005 draft (6th overall).
  • Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers – Selected in the first round of the 2006 draft (7th overall).
  • Mike Pelfrey, Mets – Selected in the first round of the 2005 draft (9th overall).
  • Tim Lincecum, Giants – Selected in the first round of the 2006 draft (10th overall).
  • Jered Weaver, Angels – Selected in the first round of the 2004 draft (12th overall).
  • Jon Lester, Red Sox – Selected in the second round of the 2002 draft.
  • Yovani Gallardo, Brewers – Selected in the second round of the 2004 draft.
  • Trevor Cahill, Athletics – Selected in the second round of the 2006 draft.
  • Josh Johnson, Marlins – Selected in the fourth round of the 2002 draft.
  • C.J. Wilson, Rangers – Selected in the fifth round of the 2001 draft.
  • Mark Buehrle, White Sox – Selected in the 38th round of the 1998 draft and later extended.

Free Agent Signings (8)

  • C.C. Sabathia, Yankees – Signed a free agent contract worth $161MM over seven years in December, 2008.
  • Derek Lowe, Braves – Signed a free agent contract worth $60MM over four years in January, 2009.
  • Ryan Dempster, Cubs – Signed a free agent contract worth $52MM over four years in November, 2008.
  • Carl Pavano, Twins – Signed a free agent contract worth $16.5MM over two years in January, 2011. The Twins originally traded for him in 2009, but Pavano has since hit free agency.
  • Kevin Correia, Pirates – Signed a free agent contract worth $8MM over two years in December, 2010.
  • Brett Myers, Astros – Signed a free agent contract worth $5.1MM for one year in January, 2010 and later extended.
  • Livan Hernandez, Nationals – Signed a free agent contract worth $900K for one year in February, 2010 and later extended.
  • Chris Carpenter, Cardinals – Signed a free agent contract worth $500K for one year in December, 2002 and later extended.

International Free Agent Signings (3)

  • Felix Hernandez, Mariners – Signed as an amateur free agent in July, 2002.
  • Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies – Signed as an amateur free agent in April, 2001.
  • Fausto Carmona, Indians – Signed as an amateur free agent in December, 2000.

Trades (3)

Waiver Claims (1)

  • Jeremy Guthrie, Orioles – Acquired from the Indians in a January, 2007 waiver claim.


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26 Comments on "How Teams Obtained Their Opening Day Starters"


Josh Weiner
4 years 5 months ago

That’s not how Dempster was “acquired”, that is his most recent contract.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
4 years 5 months ago

Yes, but the Cubs still got him as a FA.

$1519287
4 years 5 months ago

Like Pavano, Dempster reached the open market before resigning with his old team.

cptstubing
4 years 5 months ago

Then why are the two written differently? The Cubs got him as a free agent recovering from Tommy John surgery, then he got extended, then he signed a “free agent deal” after four days of being a free agent. He even said he had no intention of signing elsewhere.

cptstubing
4 years 5 months ago

[Posted twice so I removed second comment]

4 years 5 months ago

Poor Guthrie, sitting in the corner all by his lonesome self.

4 years 5 months ago

love how all the draft picks were high rounds except Buehrle in the 38th round

4 years 5 months ago

And people say the draft is a crapshoot!

5_tool_MiLB_fool
4 years 5 months ago

i would have loved to sign both jimenez and hernandez for 100k ea. those days will never come back.

Lunchbox45
4 years 5 months ago

Felix got almost a million signing bonus

5_tool_MiLB_fool
4 years 5 months ago

i understand that, but these days he would have gotten upwards of 6 mil. in general, im just collaborating on how cheap latino prospects used to be.

Backup_Slider
4 years 5 months ago

Hochevar? Yikes.

johnepdx
4 years 5 months ago

You know it’s gonna be a long season when Correia is your opening day starter.

goner
4 years 5 months ago

Sad but true. At least Paul Maholm will start the home opener!

4 years 5 months ago

Look at all of those great pitchers from 2006, and a couple that aren’t opening day starters, and then there is Hochevar, ouch.

bknight13
4 years 5 months ago

I love posts like this. Baseball history porn…

tomymogo
4 years 5 months ago

Draft picks, trades, and international free agents are clearly the way to go. Free Agents not so much

JacksTigers
4 years 5 months ago

Man, the Padres really screwed up the 2004 draft. They had the first overall pick. They could have gotten Justin Verlander, Billy Butler, Stephen Drew, Jeff Nieman, or Phil Hughes. Who did they choose though? Matt Bush. He is currently in the minors with Tampa and has completley fallen off the table. Ouch.

JacksTigers
4 years 5 months ago

I forgot to put Homer Baily on there too. He graduated from ZZ Top High Sch…. I mean La Grange High School.

inleylandwetrust
4 years 5 months ago

I might be wrong, but I thought I read somewhere in an article a while back that the Pads never believed Bush was the best talent, but that the move was about signability more than anything else.

JacksTigers
4 years 5 months ago

It’s possible but they could have probably signed one of the other guys. I’ll have to look up the other guys on the list but Bush’s signing bonus was 3.15.

phoenix2042
4 years 5 months ago

That is one sweet waiver claim for the Os!

Guest
4 years 5 months ago

The name that stands out the most to me on this list is Derek Lowe. A perfectly serviceable #3 or 4, but at #1?

I guess I lost sight of the Braves rotation this offseason. Don’t get me wrong it’s a good rotation, but Lowe shouldn’t be #1 in my opinion.

4 years 5 months ago

Lowe got the big contract and gets put out there #1 because of that and he’s a veteran, but Hudson is by all accounts the ace of the Braves’ rotation (and is starting the home opener).

Lunchbox45
4 years 5 months ago

similar to how Pavano is starting over Liriano

Guest
4 years 5 months ago

good point