Free agent starting pitchers countdown: #16-20

Drew Hallowell

The Indians need at least one starting pitcher. Here's a look at some of the best ones available.


Other entries in LGT's free agency series:

The Indians have already made Ubaldo Jimenez a qualifying offer, but he's likely to decline it. Scott Kazmir is a free agent too. That means two of the Tribe's five primary starting pitchers from 2013 are likely gone in 2014. One of those gaps will probably be filled in-house (Justin Masterson, Corey Kluber, Danny Salazar, and Zach McAllisterare all pretty safe bets for the rotation), but they'll need to go out and sign someone to fill that last spot. Here's a look at some of the best pitchers available (more to come throughout the week), with pertinent 2013 info for each of them:

20) Scott Baker
Team Age Throws IP ERA ERA+ FIP
Cubs 31 Right 15.0 3.60 112 5.65

Baker is an interesting case. He's only thrown 15 MLB innings since August of 2011, due to an elbow injury that led to Tommy John surgery in April of 2012. He was a very effective pitcher before that though, averaging ~180 innings a year with above average metrics. I think he'll have to settle for a one-year deal for $6 or 7 million, with the upside of being a solid #3 starter. Could be an interesting low-risk target for the Indians, if something bigger doesn't shake out.

19) Chris Capuano
Team Age Throws IP ERA ERA+ FIP
Dodgers 34 Left 105.2 4.26 84 3.55

Here we get into the 'meh lefties' section of the countdown. There are two solid southpaws that will be featured later this week, then a bunch of guys sure to be signed, but without much to get you excited about them. Capuano's strikeout rate has fallen in recent years, and he missed 15-20 games a piece with calf, groin, and shoulder strains in 2013, so his health should be a concern. He'll get one year for $6 million or so.

18) Paul Maholm
Team Age Throws IP ERA ERA+ FIP
Braves 31 Left 153.0 4.41 88 4.24

Maholm doesn't throw hard, but he's been reasonably durable, and consistently something like a #4 starter for 5 or 6 years now. That durability and his relative youth mean he'll probably be able to get two years guaranteed, likely for a total of ~$12 million.

17) Bruce Chen
2013 Team Age Throws IP ERA ERA+ FIP
Royals 36 Left 121.0 3.27 126 4.12

Chen was the best of the lefties in this section in 2013, which was one of the better years he's had (on a per-inning basis). He's not nearly as good as that 3.27 ERA, and it must be noted that he spent much of 2013 in the bullpen, where he did quite well, before moving to the rotation and seeing his numbers dip. He doesn't interest me, but I think he'll be able to get a two-year deal, probably for $12-14 million.

16) Roy Halladay
2013 Team Age Throws IP ERA ERA+ FIP
Phillies 36 Right 62.0 6.82 56 6.14

I'm not sure how to assess Halladay. From 2008 to 2011 he was the best pitcher in baseball. Shoulder issues have wrecked him though, and it's difficult to know what level of performance he'll be able to return to. He's lost ~4 MPH on all of his pitches, he's been missing the zone, and he's been getting hit hard when he is in the zone, with a line-drive rate and slugging percentage against unseen for him since he was just starting out in MLB. His pedigree could get him $10M a year, maybe even a 2-year deal, but he's an awfully big risk.

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