Saturday, September 19, 2009

Free Agent Market: Starting Pitching

Starting pitching is the most valuable commodity in baseball. It controls the flow of the game and elite starting pitching can win championships nearly on its own. There is a good reason the two largest contracts ever given out in Cobb were awarded to starting pitchers. Unlike last season with Dean Hernandez or Season 4 with Phillip Brown, no pitcher is going to command a salary anywhere close to $20,000,000 per year. However, there is still some fine talent available.

FIP: Far and away, the top pitcher available is Benito Rodriguez (3.06 in 166 IP). It would be surprising for Rodriguez to not double his present salary in free agency. The next best available pitchers are Jolbert DeLeon (4.01 in 148 IP- mutual option) and Jason Sheldon (4.27 in 185 2/3- mutual option). The top 5 is rounded out by Ruben Montero (4.38 over 199 2/3 innings) and the aging but still capable Josias Morales (4.41 over 180 1/3).

Strike out artists: Also available this offseason are RJ Winn (7.91 k/9, 3.47 ERA over 174 IP), Rabbit Leyritz (7.46 k/9, 5.09 ERA over 178 2/3) , Bernie Lopez (7.17 k/9, 4.60 ERA over 189 IP), and Mac Xaio (6.83 k/9, 4.54 ERA over 208 1/3). Xaio was the only free agent to pitch more than 200 innings in Season 13.

Ruben Montero is tops among free agent starters with 18 wins. Now a long relief pitcher, Wilson Sobkowiak had 20 wins as a starter back in Season 11.

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