List Of Top Young Pitchers Without Extensions

MLB teams are working to keep their best pitchers off of the open market with contract extensions, and fewer elite arms are hitting free agency as a result of this emerging trend. In the past month alone, Matt Cain, Derek HollandJon Niese and Madison Bumgarner have signed long-term extensions that will postpone their free agency.

So who's going to hit free agency? Fortunately for teams without pitching, some under-30 starters are not signed to long-term deals (minimum 2.5 wins above replacement in 2011 per FanGraphs). The list below includes pitchers who are going year to year through arbitration, and those who are headed for free agency this coming offseason:

Eligible For Free Agency After 2012

Eligible For Free Agency After 2013

Eligible For Free Agency After 2014

Eligible For Free Agency After 2015

  • Rick Porcello – 23 years old, 2.7 WAR in '11, 2.170 years of MLB service through '11
  • David Price – 26 years old, 4.7 WAR in '11, 2.164 years of MLB service through '11
  • Jordan Zimmermann -– 25 years old, 3.4 WAR in '11, 2.154 years of MLB service through '11 (extension candidate)
  • Ian Kennedy – 27 years old, 5.0 WAR in '11, 2.124 years of MLB service through '11 (extension candidate)
  • Mat Latos – 24 years old, 3.2 WAR in '11, 2.079 years of MLB service through '11
  • Doug Fister – 28 years old, 5.5 WAR in '11, 2.058 years of MLB service through '11
  • Philip Humber – 29 years old, 3.5 WAR in '11, 2.000 years of MLB service through '11

Eligible For Free Agency After 2016

  • Daniel Hudson — 25 years old, 4.9 WAR in '11, 1.117 years of MLB service through '11 (extension candidate)
  • Ivan Nova – 25 years old, 2.7 WAR in '11, 1.035 years of MLB service through '11
  • Brandon Beachy – 25 years old, 2.8 WAR in '11, 1.014 years of MLB service through '11
  • Michael Pineda – 23 years old, 3.4 WAR in '11, 1.000 years of MLB service through '11

Many of the pitchers above will eventually sign extensions that delay their arrival on the open market. For now, however, it remains possible that they'll test free agency.

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36 Responses to List Of Top Young Pitchers Without Extensions Leave a Reply

  1. Brian Lampert 3 years ago


  2. rylewis 3 years ago

    Isn’t Kershaw due to be available after 2014 at the moment?
    (Get on that one, Ned!)

    • start_wearing_purple 3 years ago

      Ned just signed him to an extension. Only a 2 years extension but still an extension.

  3. Bud Norris?

    • Colin Christopher 3 years ago

      Norris wasn’t worth the “minimum 2.5 wins above replacement in 2011 per FanGraphs” as stated by the post.

  4. Kershaw (and Lincecum) both signed two year contract extensions this past off season. So while they’ll still become available in the coming years, they don’t qualify as young pitchers without extensions.

    • ZAK 3 years ago

      That’s ridiculous based on the premise here: they’ll still hit FA at the same time as without an extension. 

      • LazerTown 3 years ago

        I’ll take kershaw.  4 years younger, whereas lincecum has been regressing every year, although he is still elite.

    • Jason_F 3 years ago

      As ZAK alluded to, the article clearly stated it is looking at pitchers who haven’t signed deals that would delay their free agency from the standard time frame of six years of service time.

  5. I don’t know if I’d term Lincecum’s two year deal an “extension.” He may well get the largest AAV for a free-agent pitcher EVER when he signs; he’s already due to make $22M next year, and barring significant regression I’m guessing the floor for even getting the time of day from his agents with be $25M+.

    • A contract extension is a contract extension. What the following contract entails has nothing to do with it.

      • That’s a technicality that runs counter to the purpose of this exercise. Refer to: “MLB teams are working to keep their best pitchers off of the open market,” and “So who’s going to hit free agency?”

        In Lincecum and Kershaw’s cases, I think we can safely disregard “non-tendered” as an option, and as their deals do not buy out or otherwise prevent free-agency, they merit consideration.

        Zack Grienke is on the list, and he’s in the last year of a four year deal. So, there’s really no reason at all to omit Lincecum and Kershaw, as they will probably contribute heavily to shaping the market for the likes of David Price.

      • Jason_F 3 years ago

        Except for the fact that he will hit free agency at the same exact time as if he went through the arbitration process every year.  The whole point of signing extensions like Cain, Bumgarner, etc. is to gain control of years that the pitchers would otherwise enter the free agent market.

    • nm344 3 years ago

      Not the way he’s pitching now.  

    • Colin Christopher 3 years ago

      Barring significant regression…you mean like if the walk rate that’s been going up for the last three years and the strikeout rate that’s been going down for the last four years both continue in those directions?

      While I agree with you that he’s likely to get the largest AAV ever for a pitcher, and that his agents will be looking for at least $25M/year, I guarantee that the team who gives him that money will regret it.

      • Oh, absolutely. Lincecum will almost certainly be paid more than he’s worth; he has that closer-like hype around him where front offices will overpay hand over fist for those juicy, juicy intangibles. The peripherals are indeed troubling, and there could well be a reckoning before he hits free agency. But if he can fake it for the next two seasons and put up ace-ish numbers – or if he finds a way to re-invent himself in a big way, which I wouldn’t rule out entirely – some team will break the bank for him for better or for worse.

  6. dieharddodgerfan 3 years ago

    I would definitely take Hamels or Greinke and then add either McCarthy or Sanchez to one of them.

    I would deal Harang, Capuano and Lilly either by the trade deadline or in the off-season. Eat a significant % of their contracts to help deal them.

    Imagine a rotation of Kershaw, Hamels, Sanchez, Billz and DeLaRosa? Not too shabby.

    • So you’re paying salary for outgoing players… AND adding $20+MM for Hamels or Greinke, and $14+MM for McCarthy or Sanchez?  And where is this money coming from?  The owners who were so smart that they paid like double what the Dodgers are worth?

      • dieharddodgerfan 3 years ago

        The Dodgers will have money to spend. The new ownership group’s $2.15
        BILLION dollar bid was ALL CASH. No financing. The Guggenheim Partners,
        of which the the managing owner, Walter, is the CEO of, manages $125 Billion in assets.

        This ownership group knows they will need to dip into free agency in
        order to improve in the short run. And that is important considering
        they have to negotiate a new TV deal after the ’13 season and TV ratings
        will be an important factor in determining how big of a deal they will

        BTW, if the Dodgers start their own Regional Sports Network, they could eventually be making $250 to $300 million a year in subscriber fees alone and then you could also factor in advertising on top.

        That revenue doesn’t include ticket and park-related income.

        Believe me, the new owners will make their money back and then some. And probably a lot quicker than people expect.

        Rich, smart businessmen like Walter and Magic Johnson don’t just invest money to invest it. They know what they are doing and know the income streams and expenses. You can believe that.

  7. johnsilver 3 years ago

    That 2014 possible FA list Tribe has to be thinking of Masterson if the FO has any brains to the future.. Once Masterson finally figured out he can still throw 96 from 3/4 over the top and has that super nasty sinker FB still? THEN come from almost total sidearm when he wants to STILL make an unhittable sinking FB at 96 to a RH hitter almost at will??

    Thought when Boston made that Vmart deal that Hagedone would be the one they would dread the most losing.. Lefty throwing 97+, but Masterson was the long term killer so far.

    • start_wearing_purple 3 years ago

      Actually I always figured Masterson would be the one we would miss. Though I had thought he’d be more of a Derek Lowe’s early career with the Sox, set up man maybe closer if he got an opportunity. 

      • chico65 3 years ago

        Whoops, sorry purple didn’t mean to reply to you

  8. How about Fister having the highest WAR of anyone on this list?  I think he’s just now coming up on his first arb year.  Not an extension candidate because the Tigers could stand to save some coin for the next couple years.  But damn if he wasn’t exciting to watch, it was like watching a RH Cliff Lee in September.

  9. chico65 3 years ago

    Chris Young would have been a natural for this list circa 2006/2007

  10. gamaize 3 years ago

    Tigers will have interesting choices to make over the next few years. Not only do you have Scherzer, Porcello, and Fister in 14/15 you also have Cabrera and Verlander in that same time line.  Not sure about Jackson/Avila/Boesch but they can’t be that far behind.

    Cha Ching  Cha Ching

    • Paul Shailor 3 years ago

       Yea, another reason why I wasnt a huge fan of the Fielder signing. Yes he is paying off atm but it will hurt us later on while trying to keep our young guys.

  11. Thekid19444 3 years ago

    What about Felix in 2014

    • Thekid19444 3 years ago

      Never mind retread the total didn’t see without extension part

  12. Tommy Hanson? Didn’t have 2.5 WAR last year due to injury, but would still think he’s worth a mention.

    • garlick 3 years ago

      I would have thought the same thing, he’s 25, and his 2010 WAR was 2.5 and 3.3 in 2009. I totally thought he would be on here.

      Jair Jurrjens also had a 3.8 WAR in 2011, and he’s not listed anywhere on here either. A bit odd, considering both of them seem to be considered a bit more valuable than Beachy who made the list.

  13. Although he missed 2011 due to injury, Adam Wainwright had a 6.1 WAR in 2010 and will be a free agent in 2014.

  14. disgruntledreader 3 years ago

    Half the guys with one or two years of time now will be angling for a minor league deal with a big league camp invite by the time they hit six years… Not all pitchers progress, or even maintain over time.

  15. Rangersfan32 3 years ago

    I couldn’t stop laughing when I saw McCarthy’s name on here. He has one decent year in one of the most pitcher friendly ballparks in the league, and he’s now considered one of the top young pitchers in the league? Wow.

  16. roomwithamoose 3 years ago

    but the contract is guaranteed now, and that means they can’t just nontender, him he’s no longer without the rights. I mean, of course there’d be no chance they wouldn’t tender him a contract regardless of the extension, but there’s a set of rights he’s allotted that someone with the same service time  wouldn’t have 

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