As the 2011-12 offseason concludes, next winter's market becomes easier to anticipate, since team needs are clearer and the 2012-13 free agent list is taking shape. The Nationals agreed to terms with Edwin Jackson on a one-year deal yesterday and Roy Oswalt is expected to sign a one-year deal of his own before long, so both right-handers will likely reappear on the free agent market a year from now.
Four All-Star caliber starters are projected to join them: left-hander Cole Hamels and right-handers Zack Greinke, Matt Cain and Anibal Sanchez. Jackson, Hamels, Greinke, Cain and Sanchez each contributed at least 3.8 wins above replacement in 2011 and they're all 27 or 28 years old. If they continue pitching at an All-Star level in 2012, they'll be candidates for substantial long-term deals in free agency.
Ryan Dempster, Jeremy Guthrie, Hiroki Kuroda, Colby Lewis, Shaun Marcum, Jonathan Sanchez, Brandon McCarthy and others add depth to the projected free agent market. Some of those pitchers could position themselves for multiyear deals with strong seasons, while others will end up signing one-year contracts.
Keep in mind that this isn't a final look at the starting pitching market. Last year four starters signed extensions between the beginning of February and the end of April, as MLBTR's Exension Tracker shows. Some of the starters listed above will likely sign multiyear deals and weaken the projected 2013 free agent class in the process.