Yesterday morning, Bruce Levine of 670 The Score published a report with a few interesting notes on free agent pitchers. So far, the biggest free agent pitching signing has been the Cubs’ surprising $38MM deal for Tyler Chatwood, while Mike Minor, Jhoulys Chacin, Miles Mikolas, C.C. Sabathia, Mike Fiers, Doug Fister, and Yovani Gallardo are also off the board.
- Six years and $160MM was said to be the starting point for Jake Arrieta in November, sources tell Levine. Even in making these predictions in late October, we went with four years and $100MM for Arrieta. Levine says Arrieta and fellow free agent Yu Darvish are currently looking for at least five-year deals. The pair of righties were born 163 days apart back in 1986, and the case can be made that Darvish doesn’t deserve more years than Arrieta based on age. Including Japan and the MLB postseason, Darvish has tallied 2,337 innings in his career, and he had Tommy John surgery in March 2015. Including college and the MLB postseason, Arrieta is at 1,910 2/3. Does this difference of 426 1/3 innings, thrown under many different stress levels, actually matter in terms of injury risk? I have no idea, but the respective agents will make a few claims. In the end, though, it’s just a bidding war. Teams bid on both pitchers until the agents decide they’re unlikely to do better, and then a deal is made.
- “It appears a four or five-year deal is expected” for free agent righty Alex Cobb, writes Levine. Cobb had Tommy John surgery in May of 2015, and has just over 700 innings in his pro career. A week ago, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports wrote that Cobb “likely sees Mike Leake ($80 million, five years) as a comp and is thought to have been asking for about $20 million a year.” However, Levine wrote yesterday that “Dan Horwits, Cobb’s agent, has denied a report that the Cobb camp was asking for $20 million annually.” Though we went with four years and $48MM in our early November predictions, I’d certainly take the over on the average annual value in light of the Chatwood contract. At the time, I was looking at Brandon McCarthy’s four-year, $48MM deal with the Dodgers from three years ago, but it’s fair to say the market has moved since then on this type of pitcher.
- Here on December 28th, the top four starting pitchers remain unsigned: Darvish (Wasserman), Arrieta (Boras), Cobb (Beverly Hills Sports Council), and Lance Lynn (Excel Sports Management). As the process drags into January, it will be interesting to see if any of the four have to settle for a bargain deal. The current free agency game of chicken between teams and agents has no recent precedent.