MLB Rumors: Predicting Where the Top 10 Free Agent Pitchers Will Go
If Mariano Rivera returns, chances are he'll remain a Yankee
Does your favorite MLB team need some pitching? Well this could be the year for them to go out and get it. A huge crop of free agent pitchers is available, the trick is sorting out the bargains from the busts.
A lot of the top name free agents--R.A Dickey, Gavin Floyd, Dan Haren, Tim Hudson, and Jake Peavy--have already had options exercised by their respective clubs, and are locked up for next season. Well, at least until the trade deadline.
One notable, New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, still remains unsigned, but it's certain if the best closer to ever play the game does decide to come back in 2013, it will be with the Yankees. Other closers that hit the market but are unlikely to move are Jonathan Broxton (Kansas City Royals), Francisco Cordero (Houston Astros), and Francisco Rodriguez (Milwaukee Brewers).
Detroit Tigers closer Jose Valverde is rumored not to be returning to the team, but his place among top free agent pitchers is in question given his less than stellar regular season performance in 2012.
If teams are looking for a really big bargain and reclamation project, there's a whole crop of dumpster fires such as Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Jeremy Guthrie, Derek Lowe, Jason Marquis and Chien-Ming Wang. A team can probably pick up any of those veterans for a song, but they'll end up singing the blues when all is said and done.
Here we'll take a look at the top 10 free agent pitchers that are currently available, their 2012 salary, and three teams where they could likely land.
#10: Ryan Dempster - Texas Rangers
2012 Salary: $14 million
Likely destinations: Texas, Atlanta, Miami
Dempster's age is a factor, but the veteran can probably help out a few teams with his experience. He'll be a costly addition however.
#9: Roy Oswalt - Texas Rangers
2012 Salary: $5 million
Likely destinations: N.Y. Yankees, L.A. Dodgers, Texas
Oswalt is another aging veteran who was a late season addition for the Rangers. The only question with Oswalt is whether he has enough stamina (and desire) to go a full season.
#8: Joe Blanton - Philadelphia Phillies
2012 Salary: $10.5 million
Likely destinations: Philadelphia, Atlanta, L.A. Angels
Blanton is one of those second tier type guys who shows real promise, but never really breaks through. The Phillies could decide to keep him around, but he's exactly the kind of pitcher the Braves love to have..
#7: Anibal Sanchez - Detroit Tigers
2012 Salary: $8 million
Likely destinations: Miami, Detroit, Texas
Sanchez hasn't panned out in Detroit the way they hoped. The Marlins are going to clean house and may bring Sanchez back to where he had some of his best seasons.
#6: Hiroki Kuroda - New York Yankees
2012 Salary: $10 million
Likely destinations: N.Y.Yankees, Boston, Chicago White Sox
It's doubtful that the Yankees give up on Kuroda, but much will depend on the decision of Mariano Rivera and how much money will have to be committed to him.
#5: Shaun Marcum - Milwaukee Brewers
2012 Salary: $7.7 million
Likely destinations: Milwaukee, Atlanta, N.Y. Mets
Marcum was the victim of some hard luck pitching in Milwaukee last year, but still finished with a winning record. The Brewers had a late season surge, and will more than likely want Marcum retained. Good fit for Atlanta if Milwaukee doesn't re-sign him..
#4: Brandon McCarthy - Oakland A's
2012 Salary: $4.3 million
Likely destinations: Oakland, N.Y. Mets, Texas
McCarthy started to come into his own in two seasons in Oakland. As a veteran in their core of young players, he'll be important for the A's to keep. Mets and Rangers are long shots if Oakland doesn't sign McCarthy..
#3: Edwin Jackson - Washington Nationals
2012 Salary: $11 million
Likely destinations: Washington, Miami, Boston
Jackson was a forgotten man in what was a stellar starting rotation for the Nationals, and he may get left out come contract time. It's likely the Nationals keep him, but they are going to have their hands full with the pursuit of free agent CF Michael Bourn. Perfect fit for Marlins if he leaves Washington.
#2: Kyle Lohse - St. Louis Cardinals
2012 Salary: $12.2 million
Likely destinations: Atlanta, St. Louis, Boston
This may be the one big name free agent pitcher the Braves make a hard play for in the winter meetings, as they are probably priced out of the Zack Greinke derby. The Cardinals may opt to keep Lohse, but they are probably looking to get younger in their rotation.
#1: Zack Greinke - Los Angeles Angels
2012 Salary: $13.5 million
Likely destinations: Texas, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers
The number one trade target last season now becomes the number one free agent. Greinke is the jewel of this year's free agent pitching class, but the teams where he could or would land are actually a short list. The Yankees and Red Sox are teams with enough money to land Greinke, but is social anxiety disorder makes them unlikely landing spots. Texas is probably the best fit, and will have the money to spend.