Other entries in LGT's free agency series:
- Indians 2014 roster overview
- Position players #16-20
- Position players #11-15
- Position players #6-10
- Position players #1-5
- Top relief pitchers
- Starting pitchers #16-20
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 for 2014. One of those absence will probably be filled in house (Justin Masterson, Corey Kluber, Danny Salazar, and Zach McAllister are 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:
15) Josh Johnson
Johnson was one of the best pitchers in baseball from 2009 to 2011, when a shoulder injury cut his season short. He wasn't the same pitcher when he returned in 2012, but was still above average. In 2013 though, a sore arm limited him to just 16 starts, and he was pretty terrible in most of those games. He still hasn't turned 30, and if he can get back to even his 2012 production, he'd be worth more than $15 million a year. I expect he'll take the best 1-year offer he gets (I'd guess $10-11M), and look to rebuild his value and make a big splash next offseason.
14) Scott Feldman
Feldman signed for $6 million last offseason, and pitched well enough to get a two-year deal this time around, probably for $16-18M. He doesn't do anything overly impressive, but he pitched well for the Cubs for the first half of the season, then went to Baltimore, and saw his effectiveness decline, but was still roughly league average, while playing in baseball toughest division. There's not much upside, but he's solid.
13) Dan Haren
As recently as 2011, Haren was one of the 15-20 best starting pitchers in baseball. He started having back problems that season though, which carried over to 2012, when he turned into something like an average pitcher, maybe a bit below that. He took a one-year deal in hopes of rebuilding his value, but turned in a very similar season. He's continued to have good control, with a low walk-rate, but he's getting hit much harder (his SLG has been 70 points higher over the last two than years than during the previous five). He's not old, but he's not young either. I think Haren is looking at 1 year, $11M, or something like 2/$18M
12) Phil Hughes
It feels like Hughes has been talked about forever, which makes it easy to lose sight of the fact that he's still only 27. He seemed to break out in 2009, but since then he's had two average seasons and two bad ones. Due to his youth, some still see upside. Others think he'll be better away from Yankee Stadium's short porch (he's been prone to the long ball). Those factors ensure there will be interest, but he may want a one-year deal to rebuild some value before going for a big score next winter, when he'll still be one of the youngest arms available. If he wants a multiyear deal now, I'd expect 2 years for $18-20M, from a team that thinks they can turn him around.
11) Tim Hudson
I find it jarring that Hudson has pitched for Atlanta for nine years now. My gosh, does time ever fly. He's continued to be a solid pitcher, though a fluke ankle injury caused by him being stepped on during a play at first base ended his 2013 prematurely. Hudson has always been great at avoiding home runs, and walked few hitters, allowing him to get away with low strikeout figures. Still, he's getting up there, and I have a hard time seeing him sign for more than a year, but he might land two. I expect something like $10M per, and he and Terry Francona have apparently already spoken.