Cliff Lee is off the free agent market. The trade market's best and most available starter, Zack Greinke, has found a new home in Milwaukee. As unlikely as it would've seemed two years ago, Carl Pavano finds himself in a position to be the best option left for many teams looking to upgrade their rotation.
After a disastrous four-year stint with the Yankees that saw Pavano pitch only 145 2/3 innings combined, the right-hander has revitalized his career in the AL Central with the Indians and Twins. From 2009-2010, Pavano totaled 420 1/3 innings and posted a respectable 4.39 ERA in the process. His 2009 season was marred by some bad luck, but his FIP and xFIP over the past two seasons have both settled in right around the 4.00 mark, and he's totaled 6.9 WAR in that timeframe.
Pavano's 2010 saw him become a slightly different pitcher, as he traded in some strikeouts for groundballs. While he's never been one to miss too many bats, his K/9 was a full-season career low 4.76. However, he posted full-season career bests in both BB/9 (1.51) and GB% (51.2%).
Pavano, 35 next month, has told Minnesota teammates and club officials that he'd like to return. As the best free agent option though, he could also be in line for a three-year deal from another suitor. We've heard that the Twins may not need to match the best offer to retain Pavano, who has also been linked to the Brewers (though their acquistion of Greinke may remove them from the running), Nationals, and Rangers. The Tigers, who are looking at starters, say they aren't in on Pavano for now, but they've certainly got the money to spend. So where does Pavano end up? Let's take a vote: