Changes in pitching usage seem likely to shake up the player market — but how? Jayson Stark of The Athletic takes a look at the question, which will in no small part be answered in this winter’s free agent market, in a subscription piece. The broad takeaway is that back-of-the-rotation starter types will still find a market, but perhaps won’t be pursued as forcefully in years past. (It seems fair to add that such pitchers may still be valued for their ability to eat innings, but may also not be asked to gobble up quite as many in hopes that they’ll be more effective.) Meanwhile, teams will perhaps be more willing than before to pay up for highly talented pitchers with durability questions.
Here’s the latest market chatter:
- The Phillies intend to pursue Japanese hurler Yusei Kikuchi, according to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia. It bears noting that the Philadelphia organization is also said to be interested in quite a few other appealing free agent hurlers, but it’s particularly notable that the Phils like Kikuchi after watching him pitch in his native Japan. Per a report from the Japan Times, it seems that Kikuchi’s formal posting will be processed sooner than later.
- If there are several starters on the menu for the Phillies, it seems they could also play at the upper reaches of the relief market. Morosi tweets that they are at least looking into top available closer Craig Kimbrel. Elsewhere, while a reunion between Kimbrel and the Red Sox can’t be counted out, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe suggests that it does not seem particularly likely, either. The vibe of the post is that the Boston organization is probably not preparing to out-bid the market on the veteran closer. Though Kimbrel would obviously still have appeal at a reasonable price, Cafardo seems to hint at relatively tepid interest. For instance, he writes, “Red Sox officials usually shrug their shoulders when asked about Kimbrel’s future.”
- Starter J.A. Happ is a popular early name on the market. The Twins can be counted among the many teams with interest, per Jon Morosi of MLB.com (via Twitter). It’ll be interesting to see whether the southpaw ends up signing relatively early in the winter. The lefty has been much more than a steadying presence in recent season, with intriguing peripherals that suggest he’s better than ever even at 36 years of age. You can track all the prior and future rumors on Happ right here.
- Veteran lefty Andrew Miller is “definitely seeking [a] multiyear commitment” in free agency, Andy Martino of SNY.tv tweets. While some have guessed Miller might seek to reestablish some value with a pillow contract, that doesn’t seem to be his preference. There’s also solid early interest. Martino (here) and Morosi (Twitter link) each tie Miller to the Mets, with Martino also noting that the Yankees also are interested. More broadly, Martino writes that the Mets are looking into the entire free agent market for relief help, including the best (and most expensive) arms available. It is difficult to guess at this point how things will turn out, particularly since the Mets have so many bullpen openings. MLBTR gave its best guess recently, though, predicting the Mets would land a pair of notable relievers. As for Miller, we expect he’ll have strong, multi-year offers to choose from.
- The Athletics have interest in a reunion with Edwin Jackson, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription link). The 35-year-old still managed to average better than 94 mph on his four-seam fastball and got good results from a cutter that became his most-used pitch. One would think he will have multiple suitors after throwing 92 innings of 3.33 ERA ball, though the interest will be tempered by less-than-exciting peripherals (6.7 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 1.2 HR/9, 36.4% GB) that left ERA estimators rather unimpressed by his 2018 effort (4.65 FIP, 4.88 xFIP, 4.98 SIERA). The Oakland organization secured excellent results from several bounceback hurlers this year and will surely weigh retaining at least some of them, even as it also seeks new possibilities.
- Right-hander Spencer Patton could weigh a return stateside after two campaigns in Japan, per Robert Murray of The Athletic (via Twitter). The 30-year-old may have found another gear while pitching for the Yokohama Bay Stars. He worked to a 2.64 ERA in his 116 innings over the past two seasons, recording 10.3 K/9 against 2.7 BB/9. Patton failed to hold down a big league job despite receiving some opportunities in the past, though he is said to have found some added velocity of late. It seems he’s hearing from a few interested MLB organizations as the offseason gets underway.
Can’t believe Edwin Jackson is only 35.
We demand his birth certificate.
And Albert Pujols is 38. Dude’s been 38 for 5 years.
Yeah, Pujols, Fat Elvis, and Ichiro all broke in in 2001. Only Pujols is still active (to be fair, he was a young young stud in 2001)
Again with Edwin Jackson?
The guy is always in demand. Just not so much from the most recent team he pitched for.
It’s to the point where on his baseball card the teams he hasn’t pitched for will be listed instead.
The man should be giving guest talks at the Wharton School on how to milk your limited commodity skills – becoming a multi-millionaire while working part-time…..part of the year. Naturally, he should be paid for the talk. Handsomely.
A couple of generations ago Mr. Jackson would have been lionized and celebrated in song.
And I’m pretty sure he’d played for half the teams in the league by his 30th birthday.
Let’s how the end of game relief markets plays out. Boston is not likely to outbid for a particular pitcher but also will likely not stay as is. The Phillies it seems are in on every top player and while they have bucks to spend, no team is limitless. As for the Mets, they are the one team that might blow up the market and make all relievers happy if their new sheriff has the authority to send a message to their fanbase. Hopefully for their fans, it will happen and I will no longer refer to the team as the “Mutts”.
Seeing Kimbrel pitch in PHI would cut deep.
Please EJax…play for another new team!!!
Yes! He’s only 35. He could crush the record!
He never played for the Pirates? They’ve had interest before, would be a good fifth starer/swingman.
Love to see the Yanks sign Corbin, Happ, and Miller. Don’t need Manny or Harper.
Agreed too. And along with your signings what do you think of a stopgap bat of Daniel Murphy? A Contact .290-300 hitter.
I really want to see Happ back in Toronto, but man he seems like a popular guy right now. That will undoubtably drive his price up and even though I think he’ll age fine like he has, he’ll get a pretty risky deal for whoever ends up with him.
I could see Happ back in Toronto easily. After he finished the season with the Pirates, they made him an offer and he was supposed to get back to them if he got any other offer because they wanted to match what he got offered as long as it was not outrageous. Word on the street was that after he got the offer from the Jays he took it and never called Pittsburgh. Reason was he really wanted to go back to Toronto. He and his family loved it there. If he still loves it, can see it happening like it did a couple of years ago.
Curious what his av per yr will be this year for a 36 yr old sp? I’m guessing 20 mil?
20 mil for a 36 year old?
$20 mil seems high, although he will get a short term so it could be a bit higher than what he should get.
Cafardo gaslighting. If he’s running down Kimbrel he’s doing it for a reason.
Edwin needs to go to a team he’s never been on
If he does he breaks the tie with Octavio Dotel for most teams played for in a career. They both are at 13 teams.
It’s still gotta be cool to have lived in so many different cities at one point or another for however long while making millions of dollars.
Mets should be fine with signing Kimbrel and Ottavino
How many paywalled sports sites are there these days? What an annoying business model.
Love the Hot Stove. Everyone wants everyone.
A high priced closer, without a championship team is wasted money… Maybe after they land a Machado/Harper.