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Free Agent Stock Watch: Injured Starting Pitchers

What was already shaping up to be one of the weakest free agent classes in history has gotten weaker since Opening Day. Injuries have ravaged the available crop of starters, in particular, including several of the names on Tim Dierkes' Free Agent Power Rankings. Let's take a look at those names as well as other free agents to be that are dealing with various maladies...

  • Josh Johnson: That Johnson is hurt isn't much of a surprise to anyone. He's on the disabled list for the fifth time since 2007, and it could've been his sixth but he was never placed on the DL when he missed the final month of 2010. Triceps inflammation is the injury du jour in this instance, with Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports noting (via Twitter) that Johnson could be sidelined until late May. MLBTR readers voted Johnson the best arm on the free agent market just 21 days ago, but I have a feeling there would be a different outcome this time around.
  • Roy Halladay: Doc looked to have turned things around following a run of three vintage starts, but he imploded over his past two outings and hit the disabled list this morning. Halladay conceded that he's been battling shoulder soreness since April 24. A 36-year-old with diminished velocity who happens to be fresh off a shoulder injury and the worst ERA of his career isn't exactly an appealing commodity, even if he does have a pair of Cy Youngs under his belt. Perhaps if he returns and looks good, he could sign a contract similar to Dan Haren's with the Nationals.
  • Matt Garza: MLB.com's Carrie Muskat tweets that Garza had good results in a rehab outing today. Garza told Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio that he felt good after throwing 55 pitches (Twitter link). The Cubs want to get him up to 100 pitches before bringing him back, at which point he'll likely have four months to prove his health and effectiveness. Garza could still end up as one of the top arms available, given the injuries to his peers and his average of 198 innings per season from 2008-11.
  • Gavin Floyd: The White Sox announced today that Floyd will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. The best-case scenario for Floyd on the free agent market would probably be Mike Pelfrey's contract with the Twins. Pelfrey had Tommy John on May 1, 2012 and signed a one-year, $4MM contract with the Twins this offseason. Pelfrey had an abnormally quick recovery from the surgery though, and Floyd may not be so fortunate.
  • Scott Baker: The Twins elected to sign Pelfrey and let Baker walk even though Baker's Tommy John surgery came one month earlier. Letting Baker walk looks like a good choice so far, as he's has yet to throw for the Cubs and doesn't have a timetable for his return to the mound following a setback in his recovery. At this point, he's looking at another one-year deal.
  • Chris Capuano: Being demoted to the bullpen to open the season didn't help Capuano's free agent stock, but it certainly wasn't as bad as the outcome when the lefty did find himself in the Dodgers' rotation. Capuano lasted just two innings due to a left calf strain. He was activated from the disabled list for tonight's game.
  • Jeff Karstens: Karstens re-upped with the Pirates after a surprising non-tender and an even more surprising lack of interest on the free agent market. Perhaps his medical reports scared teams away, as Karstens has yet to throw a pitch. He's rehabbing in extended Spring Training and could make his debut this month.
  • Colby Lewis: Lewis has yet to throw a pitch this season as he works his way back from elbow surgery last July. He should begin a rehab assignment this month and could be back prior to June. If Lewis comes back healthy and pitches well for the remainder of the season, I can envision a two-year deal, given his durabilty from 2008-11.
  • Shaun Marcum: As is the case with Johnson, it's far from shocking that Marcum has already been on the disabled list as of May 6. Marcum opened the year on the DL and seems a long-shot to remain healthy for the remainder of the season. A two-year deal is probably his ceiling on the free agent market given his injury history, and another one-year deal strikes me as a far more likely outcome.
  • Johan Santana: Santana's season ended before it began, and it's safe to wonder whether he'll attempt a comeback. He said in March that he was leaning that way.
Thanks to MLB.com's injury report for additional rehab information.








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