This offseason does not bring us many top-notch pitchers, but it is very diverse. It includes names from Zack Greinke to Rafael Soriano to Kyle Lohse to Jonathan Broxton. There is a free agent for everything. Here are the pitchers.
Zack Greinke (2013 age: 29)
2012 Stats: 15-5, 3.48 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 200 K's in 212.1 innings.
The undisputed top pitcher on the market is Zack Greinke. The righty, who almost quit baseball in 2006 due to a 5-17 2005 campaign compounded with a stress disorder, burst onto the national scene with an incredible 2009. Over 33 starts, he went 16-8 with a 2.16 ERA, not once during the entire season, from Opening Day on, surrendering the major league ERA title. A rough 2010 campaign was followed by a 16 win 2011, and that a strong 2012. After going 9-3 with a 3.44 ERA for Milwaukee, he closed out the season with Los Angeles and went 6-2 with a 3.53 ERA. Now with a 91-78 career record, a 3.77 ERA, and a 1.25 WHIP (20th among active pitchers), he hits the market and may sign for well over $100 million.
Kyle Lohse (2013 age: 34)
2012 Stats: 16-3, 2.86 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 143 K's in 211 innings.
Lohse was no star, but consistently dependable 2002-2009. He was roughed up in 2010, going just 4-8 with a 6.55 ERA in 18 starts, but since then, he has been stronger than ever. He was 14-8 with a 3.39 ERA in 2011, then broke out in 2012 at the age of 33, going 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA for baseball's best winning percentage (.842). Lohse may not make nearly as much as Greinke, but he can realistically be just as good in the near future.
Hiroki Kuroda (2013 age: 38)
2012 Stats: 16-11, 3.32 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 167 K's in 219.2 innings.
The Osaka native has been nothing but great since coming over from Japan. Now, after a 16 win 2012, he will move to free agency and look for a short deal. He will probably not see anything longer than three years, but the 37 year old has the short term performance many contenders need. The Dodgers have already expressed interest.
Brandon McCarthy (2013 age: 29-30)
2012 Stats: 8-6, 3.24 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 73 K's in 111 innings.
McCarthy's 2012 season was cut short by a September line drive to the head, as well as a July injury. However, he has been very good over the past two seasons, despite a rather lackluster 17-15 combined record. What that record does not show is that the 6'7" righty carried a sparkling 3.29 ERA while going unnoticed by most of the baseball world. The one red flag in his statistics is the discrepancy between his home and road stats (4-4, 2.88 ERA at home, 4-2, 3.66 ERA on road). This is because the Oakland Coliseum is such a pitchers' park.
Ryan Dempster (2013 age: 36)
2012 Stats: 12-8, 3.38 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 153 K's in 173 innings.
Dempster is the forgotten man in this free agent class. He had a terrific first half, as he went 4-3 with a 1.99 ERA, including a scoreless June. However, he struggled in the second half, most of which was in the American League with the Rangers, as he went 8-5 with a 4.76 ERA. However signs the 35-year-old Canadian hopes they get first half Dempster, not second half Dempster.
Anibal Sanchez (2013 age: 29)
2012 Stats: 9-13, 3.86 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 167 K's in 195.2 innings.
Sanchez did not see a big difference in statistics between his 19 starts in Miami and 12 starts in Detroit, boding well for anyone in the American League who wants to sign him but is worried about his acclimating to the AL. As an experienced but young right hander, he would fit right into the middle of any rotation.
Shaun Marcum (2013 age: 31)
2012 Stats: 7-4, 3.70 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 109 K's in 124 innings.
Marcum has quietly delivered for the Brewers and Blue Jays over the past few seasons. The Kansas City native had his best year in 2011, when he was 13-7 with a 3.54 ERA and 1.16 WHIP, but injury limited him in 2012. He still performed well in his 21 starts, winning seven games and keeping his ERA under 4.00 for the fourth straight year.
Dustin Moseley (2013 age: 31)
2012 Stats: 0-0, 9.00 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 4 K's in 5 innings.
Moseley will likely not get more than a minor league deal, but he will be one of the biggest steals of the season if he can stay healthy. Despite a dismal 3-10 record in 2011, he posted a 3.30 ERA for the Padres, which cannot be attributed to PETCO Park's pitcher-friendly conditions. His numbers were much better on the road, where he posted a 2.55 ERA and 1.17 WHIP, contrary to his 4.05 and 1.38 marks at home. Interestingly, he made exactly ten starts and pitched exactly 60 innings on the road and at home. This year, a shoulder injury limited him to just one less than stellar start.
Right Handed Relievers
Rafael Soriano (2013 age: 33)
2012 Stats: 2-1, 2.26 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 42 saves, 69 K's in 67.2 innings.
After opting out of his contract with the Yankees, Soriano becomes the top reliever on the market. After flying under the radar with stellar seasons in Seattle and Atlanta, Soriano burst onto the scene in Tampa Bay with a major league leading 45 saves, a 1.73 ERA, and a 0.80 WHIP in 2010. After a rough, injury riddled 2011, he bounced back last year with 42 more saves and a 2.26 ERA. He will probably be looking for a deal of at least two or three years.
Jonathan Broxton (2013 age: 29)
2012 Stats: 4-5, 2.48 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 27 saves, 45 K's in 58 innings.
After a rough couple of years in which he went from bona fide Dodgers closer to being pushed out of Los Angeles all together, Broxton bounced back stronger than ever in 2012 with a career best 2.48 ERA. He pitched for both Kansas City and Cincinnati, so teams should not be worried about him changing leagues. They should be careful, however, as he has been inconsistent and still has those 2010-2011 woes to worry about.
Jose Valverde (2013 age: 35)
2012 Stats: 3-4, 3.78 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 35 saves, 48 K's in 69 innings.
Valverde's struggles, especially in the postseason, were well documented. His ERA jumped over a run and a half from last year, and opponents batted .031 higher. He went from 49/49 saves to 35/40, so why is he ranked so high? He has been great over the past few years, saving at least 25 games, posting an ERA under 3.40, and keeping his WHIP under 1.20 every year from 2007-2011, and could even be the best closer on the market.
Joakim Soria (2013 age: 29)
2012 Stats: Missed Season
Soria did not appear in a game in 2012, and should be an interesting signing this offseason. He was absolutely dominant from 2007-2010, but had a rough 2011 that was followed by Tommy John surgery in March 2012. If he could be signed to an incentive loaded, one-year deal, as he will likely not be back until June. He has 160 career saves and a 2.40 ERA.
Koji Uehara (2013 age: 38)
2012 Stats: 0-0, 1.75 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, 1 save, 43 K's in 36 innings.
Uehara has become a shutdown pitcher since converting to a reliever in 2010, and came full circle with his 1.75 ERA, .160 BAA, and 0.64 WHIP over 37 appearances. He is aging, but does not appear to be slowing down.
Left Handed Relievers
Sean Burnett (2013 age: 30)
2012 Stats: 1-2, 2.38 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 2 saves, 57 K's in 56.2 innings.
The formal Nationals reliever hits the market as the top lefty. Deceptive and effective, Burnett posted a 2.38 ERA in 2012 and got ground ball outs with great frequency. He will make a great left handed set up man in any bullpen.
Randy Choate (2013 age: 36)
2012 Stats: 0-0, 3.03 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 1 save, 38 K's in 38.2 innings.
The absolute definition of a lefty specialist, Choate has led the NL in games pitched twice in his career, but neither time did he reach 50 innings. With just 38.2 innings over 80 appearances this year, he averaged less than two outs per appearance. Lefties batted just .158 off of him, while righties hit .325. His unorthodox sidearm delivery is very difficult to pick up.
Jeremy Affeldt (2013 age: 34)
2012 Stats: 1-2, 2.70 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 3 saves, 57 K's in 63.1 innings.
Affeldt has been fantastic in San Francisco, posting ERA's under 2.75 in three of his four years, and even leading the NL in holds with 33 in 2009. Though he is aging, like Uehara, he is not showing any signs of slowing down. He would be a great signing, and I would like the Nationals to sign him.
Teams followed in this update: Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, Colorado Rockies
If your team is not included, please leave a comment.
HR: home runs. RBI: runs batted in. AVG: batting average. SB: stolen bases. ERA: earned run average. WHIP: walks/hits per innings pitched. K's: strikeouts. WPCT: winning percentage