Remaining Free Agent Innings Eaters

Finding an innings eater is not as easy as you’d think. Seven MLB teams didn’t have a single pitcher throw 200 innings in 2011 and none of those seven clubs made the playoffs. Only five teams — the Angels, Phillies, Brewers, Giants and Diamondbacks — had three pitchers log 200 innings. Those five clubs averaged 93 wins and accounted for all three division titles in the National League.

Now that it’s late December, many of the most durable free agent pitchers are no longer available. As a result, free agents Joe Saunders, Hiroki Kuroda and Edwin Jackson* are well positioned at this point in the offseason. They’re three of the 40 pitchers who logged 200 innings this past season and it’s no surprise that they’re each drawing interest, especially while the asking prices for trade candidates such as Gio Gonzalez remain high.

Not only does an innings eater contribute when he’s on the mound, he lightens the workload for others on the staff by pitching deep into games. For example, the Orioles’ bullpen was average at best in 2011 and if we measure the group in terms of strikeout rate (7.33 K/9) or ERA (4.18), it's easy to conclude that Buck Showalter was working with one of the worst bullpens in MLB. But Baltimore needed an MLB-leading 565 2/3 innings from the bullpen, and it’s not hard to imagine that the group’s performance would have been better with a few more days off over the course of the season. At the very least, Showalter would have called on middle relievers less often. Then the results would have been better even if the talent level remained unchanged.

Saunders, Kuroda and Jackson aren’t necessarily top-of-the-rotation starters and each has his flaws. But innings eaters are difficult to come by, so the three remaining free agents who reached the 200 inning plateau last year figure to continue drawing significant interest until they sign.

*Jackson pitched 199 2/3 regular season innings plus 17 2/3 in the playoffs. Should Javier Vazquez (192 2/3 innings) decide to play, teams will have interest in him, too.


30 Responses to Remaining Free Agent Innings Eaters Leave a Reply

  1. D.j. Wilson 4 years ago

    Livan Hernandez…..?

    • EdinsonPickle 4 years ago

      Livan likes his money. He makes a lot they say.

  2. shysox 4 years ago

    Didn’t MLBTR rank Jackson above Buehrle?

    • johnsilver 4 years ago

      “Didn’t MLBTR rank Jackson above Buehrle”

      I would rank either as equally non desirable and back of the rotation “innings eater” as the topic stated.

      Can’t wait until some team throws a boat load of $$ at Jackson and gets exactly the same (or worse more than likely) in Buehrle.. a 150-200IP guy who is defiantly not a 1-3, but guy who belongs in the NL to even qualify as a decent innings eater.

      • bayareabeast 4 years ago

        why did you put what he said in quotes? obviously your responding to that

        • johnsilver 4 years ago

          Good question.. Part of me always forgetting where am reading/posting here…

  3. baseballa11 4 years ago

    Edwin Jacksons worse destination would be a team that could collapse (Rockies,Reds,Royals,Pirates,Bluejays) All teams that might have to unload him and he would be traded AGAIN i say go 5 years with an  option to a big contender (Cards,Yankees,Redsox etc._))

    • ObamaDinoKiller 4 years ago

      you must be his agent if you think he deserves that many years. he’s like what the first fwe have said. he’s overrated and will have a 4.30+ era next year. should get a 1 year contract for the purposes of trading him midseason to a contender

    • Since when can the Blue Jays and Reds collapse even more than a team like Washington?

  4. cubsfanraysaddict 4 years ago

    Good point on lack on less innings for the bullpen, the Rays last year didn’t exactly have their 2010 BP but their starters IIRC allowed Joe Maddon to ‘LaRussasize(?)’ his BP enough to hide their weaknesses. 

  5. BlueSkyLA
    BlueSkyLA 4 years ago

    What are Kuroda’s flaws? He’s clearly the best of the bunch, and would be one of the best of any bunch.

  6. BeisbolJunkie 4 years ago

    It’s not like Ejax was traded because he sucked… No team was ever trying to unload him like Milton Bradley. A pitcher doesn’t get traded from a losing team 2 years in a row at the trade deadline because he sucks, it’s because a contending team wants him and thinks he can help them win. It obviously paid off this year with the Cardinals. I actually think that if he had gone to the Dbacks before the ’11 season instead of 2010 he would have done well there @ Gibby’s bootcamp w/ Nagy, and a bullpen that doesn’t sabotage any

  7. BeisbolJunkie 4 years ago

    And all efforts by the starting rotation. I would love to see him get settled in with a team for a while where he can bond with his team, establish a relationship w/ a good pitching coach, get to know his catchers better, etc. i agree that he could have learned alot from Duncan had he been there around to actually work with Edwin. Good thing he’s a military brat, he seems to acclimate pretty quickly with each new team. Please don’t let him sign with the Reds where Dusty Baker will for sure chew his arm off (rotator cuff

  8. JackPackage 4 years ago

    I don’t really understand all the Edwin Jackson hate, he’s been worth between 3.6-3.8 WAR the last 3 seasons despite having ZERO stability.

    Basically a lock to throw 200 innings of quality pitching. I fail to see why people are considering him a back of the rotation starter. He’s easily a good #3, and clearly worth $10 million a season. Considering the deal Danks just got and E-Jax is an absolute steal at 3/36.

    It seems like anyone who isn’t a top of the rotation star gets absolute trashed on here, I could care less that he’s been traded so much, for a few reasons: 1) Teams keep on trading FOR him 2) It isn’t like he is being given away in these trades, he’s been traded for quality 3) The trades aren’t affecting his on field performance, he’s been pretty consistent despite playing for numerous teams and in different leagues.

    Teams don’t have a rotation of #1 starters, E-Jax is a quality pitcher… FACT!

    • Edwin Jackson had 18 quality starts. Brandon Morrow had 17. I fail to classify that as “quality pitching”. I would say he’s average with upside.

      He ranked 80th in Quality Start percentage so again, OK but your “FACT” is not fact at all but rather loose opinion.

  9. Ronlacroix 4 years ago

    Rangers interest MAY BE FADING?  No kiddin?…………..what a gutsy call!

  10. EJax is likely looking for 4-5 years and/or 12-14+ mil per year and I doubt any team would accept such terms. Why else would he still be a FA with the trade market being as inflated as it is for pitching right now?

    He’s a #4 on a good staff. he may have to take a 1 year deal playing for a pitchers friendly park so Boras can tell the great story of how he is ‘elite’.

  11. If I’m the Blue Jays I would target Kuroda on a 2 year + 3rd yr option deal with a competitive salary ($12 mil?). I doubt he wants to play in Canada but there aren’t a lot of West coast options who will pay him what he’s worth right now.

    For the Jays, he’s a #2 next year, #3-4 in 2013 and then we can see where he fits in if Hutchison, McGuire or any of the other top arms work out.

  12. Kenny Williams is asking the world for him in a trade. He’s not moving.

  13. Rumor is Danks is on the verge of re-signing with the White Sox for 5 years/ 65 mil.

  14. start_wearing_purple
    start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

    I figure once Gonzalez is traded then a market price will be more established and there will be more interest. I don’t think teams will offer as much for Danks as they would for Gonzalez.

  15. If you can’t get results from Dave Duncan, where’s E Jack going to go then? Maybe, Texas? Maddux is an excellent coach. Rangers have a good relationship with him. I still can’t believe they are going to cough up that kind of coin to get Darvish! Other than that E Jack’s options are limited.

  16. stl_cards16 4 years ago

    Jackson never really had Duncan in his time in St. Louis. Duncan was gone to be with his wife and family most of the 2nd half of the season.

    That said, Jackson was pretty solid with the Cardinals. I would have no problem giving him 3 or 4 years if there was a spot open in the rotation.

  17. YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

    I think 3/$36 is fair for Ejax. Ppl dog the guy but he has shown an improvement in his last three years in FIP, xFIP and his WAR over the last 3 years ranks him 20th overall.

    FIP 2009-2011: 4.28-3.86-3.55
    xFIP: 4.32-3.71-3.73

  18. OrangeCards 4 years ago

    Any word on Floyd? Is it expected that he is moved?

  19. start_wearing_purple
    start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

    Eh. I still go back to the fact that he’s been traded 4 times within the last 2 years, though to be fair once was to be used to make a larger deal. I think enough teams out there that don’t see him as part of their long term plans to be wary about him.

    He could be a good investment, but I get an Oliver Perez vibe off of him.

  20. chaifetz10 4 years ago

    Great timing of this comment.  Less than an hour later and Danks just got a 65 mil extension.  You sir were WAAAY off.

  21. Nik 4 years ago

    In no way is he Oliver Perez

  22. slider32 4 years ago

    He’s more like AJ

  23. Nik 4 years ago

    Probably. I’d make some sense

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