Entering the offseason, the market for rotation upgrades was robust — arguably one of the strongest groups of free-agent starters we’d seen. Two bona fide aces — Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg — headlined a group that also featured the NL Cy Young runner-up (Hyun-Jin Ryu), one of baseball’s hardest-throwing starters (Zack Wheeler), a 30-year-old four-time All Star and three-time World Series winner (Madison Bumgarner) as well as a host of quality veteran innings eaters and midrotation options.
The result has been 14 multi-year deals for starting pitchers and nearly $1.13 billion spent on hopeful rotation upgrades. Granted, Cole himself accounts for nearly 29 percent of that sum. Combining him and Strasburg accounts for 50.4 percent of the total issued to starters on MLB deals this winter. Their presence skews those total figures a bit, but it’s nevertheless been a healthier free-agent market than we’ve seen over the past couple of years.
The accelerated pace of the market and the unexpected aggression of some teams not expected to be prime players for free agents — the Blue Jays and Diamondbacks, in particular — have left teams still seeking rotation upgrades with a dearth of options to pursue in free agency. So with all the high-end options gone, what’s left on the market?
Ivan Nova has averaged 30 starts per season dating back to 2016. He had a strong finish after a brutal start to the season with the White Sox in 2019. He’s probably going to post an ERA north of 4.00 with well below-average strikeout totals, but Nova is the best bet for serviceable bulk innings remaining in free agency. Other options in this mold include Jhoulys Chacin, Andrew Cashner and Jason Vargas. They’ve all been roughly 30-start-per-season arms since 2017, although both Chacin and Cashner lost starting jobs and were put into the bullpen in 2019. There’s not much excitement among this bunch, but if you’re looking for 150+ innings that won’t kill you, this isn’t a bad place to start.
Injury Bounceback Candidates
Alex Wood will turn 29 in January and, in 2017-18, posted a combined 304 innings of 3.20 ERA ball (3.43 FIP) with 8.5 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and a ground-ball rate better than 50 percent. The lefty’s delivery has led to durability issues throughout his career, but when healthy he’s at least a midrotation arm, if not more.
Jimmy Nelson, long a top prospect with the Brewers, looked like an emerging ace in 2017 when he pitched 175 1/3 innings with a 3.49 ERA, an even more impressive 3.05 FIP, 10.2 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 and a 50.3 percent grounder rate. Shoulder issues wiped out most of his 2018-19 seasons, but Nelson won’t turn 31 until next June.
Let’s not forget Taijuan Walker, who’ll pitch all of next year at 27. Once one of baseball’s truly elite pitching prospects, he’s barely pitched since 2017 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2018. Walker tallied 157 1/3 innings of 3.49 ERA ball with 8.4 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and a 48.9 percent ground-ball rate with the D-backs in ’17. He’s had no shortage of injury troubles in his career, but Walker offers as much upside as any still-unsigned player on the market.
Meanwhile, Danny Salazar has pitched in only one game (four innings) in the past two seasons but will pitch next year at 30 and has averaged better than 10 strikeouts per nine innings in his MLB career. Tyson Ross has completed just one healthy season in his past four but was an All-Star caliber pitcher back in 2014-15. Aaron Sanchez could technically slot into this bucket as well, but it’s still not fully clear when in 2020 he’ll be ready to pitch after undergoing shoulder surgery late in the season.
Veterans with a Bit of Upside
As improbable as it’d have sounded 12 months ago, Homer Bailey is probably among the more intriguing low-cost arms on the market. The 33-year-old never lived up to his $105MM contract in Cincinnati, but in 2019 he posted slightly below-average strikeout rates, better-than-average walk rates and solid ground-ball tendencies. Bailey’s 10.8 percent swinging-strike rate in 2019 was the second-best of his career.
Drew Smyly quietly turned in a solid showing with the Phillies down the stretch, and posted a huge 12.2 percent swinging-strike rate after signing in Philadelphia. His teammate, Jerad Eickhoff, is “only” 29 but hasn’t had a strong showing since the 2016 campaign.
Veteran Reclamation Projects
Several pitchers on the market carry name value but minimal results in recent years. Felix Hernandez, Matt Harvey, Marco Estrada, Wei-Yin Chen, Clayton Richard, Clay Buchholz and Trevor Cahill are all free agents, but no one from that group has been particularly healthy or effective over the past few seasons (although Buchholz’s injury-shortened 2018 season in Arizona was undeniably impressive). Shelby Miller is younger than anyone in that group, but his struggles over the past several seasons are well-documented at this point.
And on the Trade Market?
Everyone knows that Tigers lefty Matthew Boyd is available for the right asking price, but the Tigers have a lofty asking price on his final three seasons of club control. The Diamondbacks could make Robbie Ray, a free agent next offseason, available now that the free-agent market is largely devoid of options.
Less clear is whether the likes of Jon Gray or Chris Archer are available. Both possess the type of high-end stuff that will appeal to other clubs, but the Rockies and especially the Pirates could be selling low if they made a move this winter. Colorado also hopes to contend in 2020, though that seems rather unlikely with the Dodgers and D-backs ahead of them in the NL West and so many strong clubs vying for two Wild Card spots.
The Marlins have a bevy of young pitchers, and Caleb Smith’s name has persistently been kicked about the trade circuit over the past several months. Miami trading him is hardly a surefire thing, but one can imagine that for the right combination of prospects and controllable big leaguers, the Marlins would consider it.
Could some veterans be on the move? The Red Sox have been trying to find a way to move a portion of the remaining $96MM on David Price’s contract. The Cubs, also operating under an ownership change of course that has placed substantial payroll constraints on the front office, could mull a trade involving Jose Quintana as a means of opening some payroll space.
Mike Clevinger’s recent emergence on the rumor mill immediately made him one of the most popular targets among fans, but it’d be a rather significant surprise if the Indians dealt him away — recent trade of Corey Kluber notwithstanding.
Who’s Still Looking?
The Angels and Twins, two of the teams viewed as most in need of pitching help heading into the winter, haven’t yet made an impact move. The Minnesota org brought back Jake Odorizzi and Michael Pineda but still hasn’t improved its rotation over 2019. The Angels have acquired Dylan Bundy and signed Julio Teheran, but the big-name starter for which fans pined never materialized. Likewise, the Padres never found the top-of-the-rotation arm they’ve been seeking for awhile now.
The Dodgers were connected to the big fish, as they are every offseason, but once again opted against a substantial commitment to an open-market player. The Brewers have taken flak for their lack of starting pitching but continue to prioritize lower-scale value plays and depth over higher-priced options. That could put them in play for some of the upside candidates mentioned above, but it’s worth noting that they moved on from Jimmy Nelson already. The Astros have Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke and a returning Lance McCullers Jr. (Tommy Johns surgery), but they have limited certainty beyond that group. The defending-champion Nationals are among the clubs looking for fifth-starter candidates.
Starting pitching is tight.
And J.A. Happ is available for trade
no one wants Happ for 17 mil unless NYY includes Garcia
You don’t include your top pitching prospect to get rid of $17 million, rofl
Just like no one wants Price for 32 mil. Obviously yanks would have to include a prospect or eat a portion of the contract.
Stanton/Happ for Hosmer/Myers
I don’t think the Yanks would do that. Happ is a short term problem and Stanton may be overpaid but still has some serious potential future value. Myers is a long term problem with basically zero potential future value and Hosmer’s contract makes him even worse than Myers. The only name of any consequence in that trade is Stanton and you don’t give that up for 2 very expensive useless players just to shed $17 million dollars in 2020 for Happ. The trade might save Yanks some cash but not much. Certainly not enough to make up the potential difference in production between Stanton and Happ compared to unbelievably overpaid Hosmer and completely useless Myers. Stanton is overpaid and makes more than Hosmer but Stanton isn’t as OVERpaid as Hosmer. It’s better to spend $200 million on a player that might bring you $120 million worth of production value than it is to spend $150 million on 2 players that might combine to bring you $20 million worth of production value.
Plus Stanton had a full no trade clause that he has already previously used to block trades to teams like the Cardinals. Stanton will never accept a trade from the Yankees to a lowly team like the Padres. Why would he want to watch his stats get worse in a bigger park and have a far less chance of winning on top of that. Hosmer may have a no trade clause, too. I don’t know about Myers or Happ but it wouldn’t shock me if any of those three guys had some level of trade protection considering how ridiculous there contracts are. Stanton may have the biggest contract of all of them but it is still more reasonable than Hosmer or Myers contract because Stanton at least has talent when he’s healthy. Hosmer and Myers just have terrible contracts no matter how healthy they get.
Garcia isn’t going anywhere. They may eat some of that contract to get rid of him but that’s about it.
No way they do this… Stanton has more value than either of those two in the lineup and Happ can be used out of the pen or they can drop him completely.
Hosmer does nothing for the Yankees, neither does Meyers. Their outfield is already stocked and they don’t need a mediocre, overpaid first baseman when they have a Voit/Ford platoon that will perform better. They don’t have room at DH either.
$17mil & a option. Good luck releasing him without paying that option or Yanks face grievance #2 without a agreement beforehand.
Garcia is not the Yankees #1 prospect. Simply put, if I had to say you had to give up Garcia or Dominguez straight up for Josh Hader you are never going to say Dominguez.
BTW, Garcia is vastly overrated because the dude checks in 5’9″ So him lofting up FBs for 6IP starts to taller batters is not going to happen. He’s a RP and that will be found out in 2020.
Completely absurd and without any comparable history of it ever being done before. And no way should a team like the Yankees give away a top prospect to save the hit of a 1 year salary.
“Garcia is not the Yankees #1 prospect.”
Nope, But he is their #1 pitching prospect, which is what the OP said.
“Simply put, if I had to say you had to give up Garcia or Dominguez straight up for Josh Hader you are never going to say Dominguez.”
Luckily since this hypothetical Sophie’s choice exists only in your head, the Yankees will dodge that arbitrary bullet.
“Garcia is vastly overrated because the dude checks in 5’9″ So him lofting up FBs for 6IP starts to taller batters is not going to happen.”
Again he’s in luck on account of having a plus curveball, an average slider, and adding a solid changeup to his repertoire, so sticking to fastballs only won’t be an issue. Also, since teams in the minor and major leagues are comprised almost exclusively by adults, their isn’t an appreciable height difference that you seem to think Garcia would have to adjust to.
Nobody’s suggesting they not pay Happ, only that they would release him rather than participate in the trade mentioned above. Of course they would pay him if he was released – I get the reference to the Ellsbury situation, but it’s apples to oranges.
I think he edited the post because I could swear it read #1 prospect exactly that way with #1.. And that is why I wrote my comment the way I did.
I stand by my assessment on Garcia being 5’9″ and future RP roll. He’s still a long way to go to being a full time SP at the Major League level, yet the Yankees have brought him along already to AAA. Where he was rocked. It appears he was on a 110-120IP limit. That puts him in line of AAA starting for 2 seasons while probably shuttling him for spot starts at the MLB level. Or the fact that he’s up in the AAA so quickly with so few IP limits as a Starter, gives me the feeling NY already knows he’s just going to end up in the bullpen.
Sure saying he’s got 4 pitches to rely on is nice, but he had a 4+BBs per 9. in 2019. That won’t cut it for a starter unless he’s the #5 on a team. His career he has a HR/FB rate in the Teens. And he doesn’t deflect that stat being a ground ball pitcher(again 5’9″) You’re looking at around 40% there in that stat. Just remember I’ve said this. When he makes starts in the Majors and can’t go 5IP or if he does, he can’t carry an ERA below 5. Even pitchers at 6′ tall get dinged on their height. He’s 5’9″. That is less downplane, less extension on the throws to the batter. Maybe he can be Aaron Judge’s HR derby pitcher.
Stroman had the same knocks against him for the Jays as he’s also 5’9″. But he ended up doing quite well in a #2 or #3 role. And his groundball percentage routinely was higher end for all of MLB. Don’t count out a prospect based on height alone
dynamite drop in monty
Yeah we’ve all see the ScreenRant pitch meeting videos
The Phillies are also in the market for at least one backend starter – whether it’s via FA or trade.
Phils could bring back Vargas. He was at least serviceable most of last year.
I’d rather see Pivetta than Vargas.
are you kidding? id rather have a rando off the street as our 5th than have Pivetta even in our organization. that guy is completely garbage, and the only way we stop hearing about his “potential” is if he is no longer arround.
No. Pivetta has had so many chances and is not serviceable at all. I’d take Vargas or Velasquez over Pivetta, but honestly, I think the Phils need to make a trade.
Brixton, I’d rather see Pivetta than Vargas. However, I’d rather see Philadelphia gamble with an internal option like Cole Irvin, Damon Jones, etc. (heck even Spencer Howard) than go with Nick.
I’d much rather give Nick one last chance in relief. I point to the extra inning game against Washington where Nick was tossing 98-99 in the pen in the 12th and 13th innings as motivation to give him one last shot. Sometimes his stuff is beyond electric and I’d rather fail giving him too many chances trying to get it right than to see him find himself with another team.
Not really, at least for the Phillies
id take Vargas over a lot of remaining options or losing capital in a trade, but id much rather have Wood or even Smyly over him at this point.
I wonder if the Phillies could work something out to trade Odubel for David Price. Other guys included of course, and possibly cash.. The Red Sox also trying to get rid of Jackie Bradley Jr., which is potential for centerfield, at least as a 4th outfielder. Anyway, could be a trade of bad contracts.with Odubel and Price being the basis. I’d say Price in the NL is going to be better than Velasquez or Pivetta or bringing back Vargas.
If the Phillies want to go hard after Price, would a trade of Arrieta ($20m), Robertson ($11m/$2m buyout), and Herrera ($7.35m/$10.35m/$2.5m buyout) be worth selling Spencer Howard?
Pirates should sign Matt Harvey to be their #5. He was good with the Reds so why not bring him back to that division on the only team who might be able to use him?
If Williams and Archer bounce back and Keller breaks out as expected, filling out thr final 2 spots with Musgrove and Harvey looks pretty solid on paper.
Along with keeping all 8 starting batters and seeing how they do (with healthy Polanco).
The division is trash. Anyone can have it. I say give it a shot. First time they’ve had a player at every position (and that includes the playoff teams)
Keep the guys and add a plausible SP.
Trade Marte next year or at the deadline if it doesn’t work out.
did you miss him with the angels last year?
No but itd essentially be a pro-rated deal for a #5 .. not a big overpay like the Angels did.
Yes, the Angels overpaid for Harvey because other teams wanted him. No team wants him this year. There is a reason for that.
Big overpay? You sounds ignorant….in one breath you say to sign him based on what he did with reds which is what angels did and now you want to disregard his stats with angels lol.
I don’t understand your point.. The Angels competed to sign him last year with other teams that wanted to sign him. The Angels wanted him more, thus the overpay.
No team wants Harvey this year. There is a reason teams wanted Harvey in 2019 and there is a reason no team wants Harvey in 2020.
I’m only ignorant of the point you are trying to make.
made perfect sense to me.
I for one am still trying to figure out what Jkoms is babbling about
You have seen Colin Moran play–or rather, attempt to–third base I presume?
Jkom, Matt Harvey looks and says all the right things. Hes working on the things that made him The Dark Knight in NY. Hes ready. Then he takes the mound and throws batting practice. Unfortunately hes now more Robin than Batman.
He have up several of the longest HR’s I’ve ever witnessed, including batting practice.
One day game against the Twins he gave up a shot over both bullpens, another was more towards center but even further.
Or maybe he’s the Joker. Or Catwoman.
Why don’t we just bring back Ivan Nova? Nova will probably post similar, or better overall numbers than Harvey, will soak up more innings, and doesn’t come with the attitude that Harvey comes with.
You did not just say sign Matt Harvey. …. Oh you did!
First time they had a player at every position, including the playoff teams?? Please tell me how their catcher and 3rd base positions are. Plus Polanco in right? He’s a bust. He’ll hit .230 with no power and no stolen bases and then get hurt again. Their closer is who? Their bullpen had an ERA of like 8.00 if you don’t count Vasquez. I don’t expect Williams or Archer to do anything. Keller showed no signs of anything. Matt Harvey does sound like a Pirates signing though! I was thinking Buchholz or Homer Bailey…. they like old busted guys on the free agent market. Anyway, I think the Reds, Cubs, and Cards are easily better than the Pirates, And don’t count out the Brew Crew magic that keeps occuring. The Pirates will be lucky to win 75 games.
Id like the bucs to take a shot on someone. Walker, smyly, Nelson,wood or salazar. For tghe right price. Not a bad place for picthers to regain value.
The Cardinals need a big bat to fill Ozuna’s clean up position. Carlos Martinez and one of their over crowded outfielders will be dangled as trade bait to get that impact player!!!
Why not just sign Ozuna? Also no one wants CMart
Plenty of DH types out there. Unless you are exceptional they don’t have a lot of value. I think the Cards end up signing Ozuna.
twins are better off without Gibson and Perez. They will find better than those two in a trade or minors.
yeah i think Perez is easily replaceable and someone can fill Gibson’s void when prices on pitching come down later in the offseason.
Quintana and Almora for Broxton?
Buxton you mean? i dont see them moving him, and not for one year of Quintana as the main piece.
Jays should be all over Wood and Walker. Even if they don’t make the rotation they still get plenty of innings out of the pen and Walker seems like we would be great 7/8th inning guy
I know the A’s have an impressive young talented crowded pitching staff but Homer Bailey was great for Oakland. Billy Beane and co. Should bring Homer back to solidify the rotation and be a mentor for the young A’s talented pitchers.
I wonder how many innings Puk, Manaea, Luzardo and Montas can be expected to pitch? You figure a starting staff needs 800+ innings, Since they don’t need an innings eater, but need someone to take some innings, I would think Oakland would be better off adding an Injury Bounceback Candidate and hoping they get 100 good innings out of him.
The As will do as they do and make some okay pitcher look like Cy Young. My bet, this year Bailey is their man.
I want to see someone take a flyer on Wood. I’m shocked the Angels haven’t, and I believe the Jays may. He has a lot of potential as referenced herein with his 2017-2018 numbers. I feel like he can really help a rotation. Or maybe he’s the guy that reinvigorates his career pitching out of the pen?
Bailey should go back to the A’s. Clearly, that situation suited him pretty well. That’s a nice ballpark for a starting pitcher to work in. He could stick around on a 1-year deal and probably get himself a pretty substantial guarantee next go-round if he’s as good as he was last year for them.
Baily is going to compete with Bassit as the sixth man in that rotation. Why would a pitcher who wants to pitch 150 innings choose to do that?
Good point. As an A’s fan I’d love to have Bailey back, but there isn’t a guaranteed spot for him in that rotation. There are teams out there that need pitching more and could offer him that.
I wouldn’t mind Alex Wood on the right deal. With our six man rotation to accommodate Ohtani, we could potentially limit his innings. Or we could have Wood follow Ohtani and let each go 4 innings or so.
Basically, we could hope to cobble together 200 quality innings between the two of them, almost the equivalent of adding a legitimate top of the rotation arm.
Wood wouldn’t follow Ohtani, he’d be a 6th stater in a six man rotation.
That’s one thing the Angels can offer that few other teams can. They need a stater that will get an opportunity to pitch once a week and they only need around 100 innings. I would imagine that is what one of these Injury Bounceback Candidates would be looking for.
why not just sign ivan nova? he has pitched in all of band boxes except south side of chicago.
I feel like a Blue Jay fan who commented above that his team should sign both Walker and Wood. I’d love to see the Angels do just that. With their bounceback potential and the Angels years-long need for depth, the rotation would be on a more solid basis.
I actually like Jimmy Nelson in a similar role. I feel like he’s the “forgotten” one amongst the upside plays.
Totally guessing here, but my belief is if Nelson was even close to being all the way back (obviously he’ll probably never be who he was before the injury), the brewers would have a: not given up on him, or b: did everything they could to bring him back..and we would know there were talks.
How do you forget J.A Happ? He’s only the most talked about pitcher left “available”
I agree. It’s weird when the writers here do this – it almost seems intentional, because how can you forget perhaps the most talked about and probably best trade candidate aside from maybe Ray. In fact, Happ is probably a hair better of a pitcher than every other name above.
Right, the Yankees are being intentionally ignored. That’ll be the day.
As an Angels fan, nothing concerns me more than Yankees fans pitching us trades lol Oh, you want us to take Happ? That alone is reason to stay away
I’m going to miss those trade offers for greg bird and jacoby ellsbury. We still have lasagna and garcia though.
Did you forget Happ was in the pen for the playoffs while Boone used a bullpen day in the world series? Chad Green was picked to start instead of Happ. I doubt Robbie Ray would have been moved to the pen.
Padres need to be aggressive with LHP Alex Wood, he would be an affordable upgrade to a rotation that looks like it is going to fore-go having a TOR arm. The organization has been building a dynamic bullpen, to shorten games. He injury history might be a benefactor, all they will need is 5 innings a night from their starters.
Dabofus going to the Padres game
You don’t even need 5. Make him the 5th starter and it’s a pen day he gives 2-3, perdomo gives 2, etc.
The Twins front office is terrible. They are sleeping. Sox passing them easily
They, self admittedly spent the winter meetings “getting a gauge on the market” and filling holes in the pitching staff they let walk (including hitting coach. Why would you let a hitting coach walk after that season?) someone else said it best when they said Falvey and Levine operate like they THINK they’re the smartest people in the room only to continually get outsmarted
Clearly subscribers to the concept that the best deals are the ones you DON’T make.
The only ones who seem any worth while are all the injury bounce backs. Everyone else look to be minor league deals or maybe innings eaters on teams like the Tigers or Orioles.
You beat me to it. This is a pretty uninspiring selection, with the exception of Clevenger and maybe Price. The former doesn’t seem to be going anywhere and the latter doesn’t seem to be priced to move (so to speak). Otherwise a bunch of journeymen and projects.
I want my Tigers to sign anyone of those bounce back guys, except Smily. And it would be nice to find the guy who is excited to be rebranded as a long relief or opener type.
Billy Eppler, in the rare shot that you read this, the Halo fanbase still has the bad taste of signing Nordstrom hitters like Josh Hamilton and then signing Walmart pitchers like Tommy Hansen (rip). Please continue to shop for pitching this offseason and while Nordstrom is now closed, please visit at least Target. Thank you.
Eppler didn’t sign Hamilton. Eppler didn’t trade for Tommy Hanson.
I think Hamilton and Hanson are a distant memory. And signing Allen, Harvey and Cahill to one year deals that don’t affect 2020 was very very smart.
As for Cozart…. blame away.
Yep I’m aware the Hamilton, Hansen, Blanton etc signings were Dipoto gems. I’m asking Billy to right many offseason wrongs and sign one more quality pitcher. I think the fanbase would thank him and it would please Baby Yoda as well.
Matthew Boyd would be a great add for the Phillies, Angels, Cubs, Astros, White Sox, Athletics, Dodgers, Reds, Marlins etc…..
If a deal could be worked out with the Tigers…
Boyd needs a guru coach to help him get over the hump and become a solid 2-3 rather than 4-5. That would only be the Astros, Rays, As, Indians, Cards, and Dodgers. No one else knows how to develop a pitcher. Among those teams, I’d say the Cards and Astros are the only teams that are willing to make moves that cost prospects.
A Boyd trade makes no sense for the Marlins. They need to continue to add prospects, not trade them away for a mid-rotation pitcher who’ll be a FA in a few years.
You gotta think the Red Sox are a team worth keeping an eye on pitching wise. We know Price/Eovaldi can be had but what about Sale? He has 165 mil over 6 years with an opt out in 3 years with 50 mil deferred. If a team were to try to acquire him and his whole contract (Padres?) what would they have to send back after last year? His value, with that contract and last season is probably slightly in the negative but I still think they would want something to talk about in return.
dynamite drop in monty
Care to expand or is that all your brain can muster?
dynamite drop in monty
Lol … your comment made me chuckle because it was so dumb?
What’s so funny? Just laughing like an idiot without providing context makes you look like an idiot.
With five years and $145 million remaining on his contract, Chris Sale has a modest negative value of $11 million, according to Baseball Trade Values:
Nothing dumb about mentioning the injury-slowed Sale as a trade candidate in the Red Sox bid to get under the luxury tax threshold.
Sorry yes the last year and 20 mil is a vesting option.
If the Red Sox are that serious about getting under the tax and not trading Mookie and try to resign him next offseason moving Sale might be the fastest way to do that. I still think they would love to move Price or Eovaldi but they may be trade deadline guys.
Would Sale get as much as Strasburg if he were a free agent now? Maybe. More than Wheeler? Definitely. Sale’s contract doesn’t look that bad when you put it in the context of this market.
I could see any of the Phillies, SDP, LAA, LAD or a surprise team like the Twins getting in on him.
Sale pitched 25 games with a 109 ERA+, 4.40 ERA in 2019. He was injured. I think he would have a very hard time getting his own contract again, let alone David Price’s or Strasburg’s.
Yeah, I mean no offense, especially if you’re a Red Sox fan, buuuuuut, there is no way Sale is getting anywhere near Strasburg time or money, and he would be lucky to get Wheeler’s deal. Price is way overpaid and nobody wants him at that salary because he’s not a true number one. And, he has an attitude problem.
So, Sale’s delivery has always raised questions about his durability, and now that those very concerns have come to fruition, very few people will want to invest long term for a lot of money until he can prove he’s back. When he’s on, he is a true #1
I’m not a Red Sox fan in anyway but I could defiantly see Sale getting Wheelers contract if he were a FA. I don’t think he’d get Strasburg’s, although I don’t think anyone thought Strasburg would get that. I don’t think it’s a reach to see LAA or SDP reaching out for him, that’s 2 GM’s under a lot of pressure from both ownership and fans base. 5/145 for Sale seems quite reasonable after Cole got 9/324 and Strasburg, he of a more questionable injury history then Sale got 7/245.
You make a great point about his delivery but my brain keeps going back to the cost of high end pitching and Sale looks like a risk worth taking.
abgb: You make very valid points and could very well be accurately assessing his value. I can see someone paying him Wheeler-like money after this year’s FA market with starting pitchers. I just think he’s lucky if they do. But, the contracts have been telling a different story, more consistent with yours.
Agent would point out that despite his injury=diminished performance, his K/9 remaining a bananas 13.3, his WHIP a not-his-usual-superhuman but still stellar 1.08, and his FIP coming in a full run below his still-below league average 4.40 ERA is evidence that a healthy Sale would likely return to/close to his dominant form. They’d also point out that he ,is 30 (like Strasburg), has a far more impressive track record than (and this is not meant as a slight) Gerrit Cole, and is just a season removed from 6 straight top 5 CY Young finishes.
I think he would get something quite similar to the 5 year (with 6th year vesting option) extension he signed at the beginning of the season, though closer to/equal to Strasburg’s AAV. Maybe a 4 year with 5th year vesting option.
You got me… I’m in! Hell I’d pay him after that sales pitch. Nice job fella.
Sale has a better health record than Strasburg. Unlike Sale, Wheeler has NEVER been an ace for a full year, let alone six straight years.
On top of that, Sale is a power lefty.
Expect big things from Sale this year too. A lot of pitcher have a hard time the year after going deep in the post season for the first time, like Sale. With a full offseason again, he’ll be fine.
Also, I would want my favorite teams to sign him if it took Wheeler money because Chris Sale is awesome.
Still no word on BIG SEXY, huh?
I think most of us are happy to forget him.
I would like to see the Twins sign Colin McHugh, Alex Wood and Taijan Walker. McHugh was a solid starter for the astros and can fill that role again. That would cover the 4 spot in the rotation. You could pair wood with walker as health calls for it. I would even take on Danny Salazar.
You want the Twins to compete while comprising half of there rotation from the infirmary? If they want the opportunity to lose to the Yankees early in the playoffs again they’ll have to do better then that.
Injuries are a risk in sports period. We could have signed a big time pitcher and he blows his arm out. Yep these guys have medical issues but you are looking for this year and or maybe next. We are looking to fill 2.5 spots in the rotation. We are not talking about three to five years down the road.
Eppler will pay any one of the reclamation projects 100 times what they are worth and then wonder why they are 20 games below.
what are tomorrow’s lotto numbers, genius?
I know bashing Eppler has been fun for some, but in reality, I expect him to have learned a lot from Cashman. I think he has to work through the current bad contracts and mediocre players. He also must learn how to more strongly influence their owner.
I could be wrong, time will tell. But, we cannot justifiably blame Eppler for all the past poor decisions of the organization.
That said, whoever made the decision not to aggressively pursue SP this offseason put their organization back even further in terms of performance and timetable.
There will not be an available #1/2 on the market for four years at this point. If that was Eppler’s decision, which I doubt, then he is the punching bag. I feel it was Moreno, however, as he provides the framework within which Eppler must work.
Eppler had the backing of Arte Moreno to acquire pitching. They weren’t going to outbid the Yankees for Cole, Strasburg wasn’t leaving The Nats and Wheeler’s wife wanted to be close to her family in New Jersey. The number one and two starters are almost impossible to acquire. Where the Angels have failed most has been their inability to draft and develop their own pitching.
Which was always going to be the biggest hurdle when rebuilding a decimated farm system, on account of “there’s no such thing as a pitching prospect.”
I believe you. I’m sure he has the backing, but obviously that was within the framework Moreno set, because they capped their offer to Cole and for enough money, Stras may have gone west. Either way, there was other second-tier pitchers, like Dallas Kuechel, that they could’ve signed with enough effort.
I keep reading that the Angels pursued pitchers but just kept coming in second? Well, if so, Eppler decided where the cutoff was? Nah.
Anyway, Angel fans know best, but I’m not sure this all falls on Eppler, imo. Wish you guys luck with your season though.
I agree they need to draft and develop but they haven’t. The fact is they didn’t want to pay the price for pitching this offseason. I haven’t heard of one offer any of those pitchers left on the table which to me means they could have been had for the right price. I could understand the Angels not outbidding for Cole or Strasburg to a certain extent but Wheeler and Ryu were obtainable IMO. If you can afford Rendon you can afford Ryu. He may have a history of injury but he was one of the best in baseball last year. They needed quality pitching in a bad way and they just haven’t gotten it. At this point I’d make a trade or if you want to gamble sign Alex Wood on potential if he can stay healthy. I’m not an Angels fan but I’d like to see the team with one of the best to play the game at least be in the hunt
Would love my braves to go grab Alex wood for that 5th spot. Hey, I get he’s injury prone, but this will allow him to be a great 5th starter, and when he needs rest or goes down, good time to filter in those prospects instead of throwing them into the Fire day 1. Idk, just a thought
Homer Bailey is pretty solid especially in a good situation like he was with Oakland. Surprised he’s still out there.
I don’t see any of the free agent pitchers as even remotely filling the need for a high end starter for the Angels, Twins or Padres. And I doubt the Dodgers or Astros are looking at the dregs in the free agency pool either. Only the Brewers and the 2020, non-contenders will go shopping in what’s left of the starting pitching free agent market. However, there are still a few high level starters rumored to be available in the trade market. Weed out the high contract guys and the young controllable pitchers whose teams are asking for the moon, and even on the trade market, there aren’t enough high end pitchers to meet the demand from the Angels and Twins, who need more than 1 starter, and the Padres and Astros, who need 1 more starter. My personal opinion is that Robbie Ray is the cream of the crop. He has neither an expensive contract nor an outlandishly expensive ask in terms of prospects. So I expect him to be option A for the Angels, Twins and Astros.
In terms of prospects, it’s probably easier getting David Price than Robbie Ray. If they’ve had a conversation, no doubt Hazen want Jo Adell. That is to say, the price is high. Otherwise, he’d be gone. Plus, the Dbacks need an outfielder. Seems like their needs align but the Angels don’t want to pay that kind of prospect capital.
Nice job Twins, it’s very possible that the 2020 starting rotation is WORSE than 2019. Absolutely blew it!
Bummer, a slight step down from 7th in baseball WAR-wise, while still backed by the 3rd best bullpen, and a lineup that can’t stop hitting homeruns. Poor babies.
Ivan Nova or Alex Wood sound like potential Milwaukee signings. Guys that had some good seasons but have been mediocre or injured and will come CHEAP. I would say 5-10 of the guys mentioned sound like Brewers signings. Second rate pitchers that have potential to rebound. Brewers love that approach.
Attn: Steve Adams et al.:
Rich Hill exists.
Also, bail is likely cheap and he can probably work that into the contract.
He’s going to be out half the season with injury. I wouldn’t give him much unless he wants to prove he’s healthy and sign mid season
Wood is most likely still available because of the amount of interested teams not lack there of.
I’d only sign Salazar, and he would pitch out of the bullpen. Otherwise none of these are worth risking the money because nearly every team would rather use their mop innings to develop.
Eh, Salazar would probably get injured on the way to sign the contract. He showed a ton of upside early on in CLE, but as a Tribe fan it became obvious a couple years ago this guy can’t even stay healthy for a week much less a season. It’s unfortunate.