FanPost

Dipping Into the Free Agent Starting Pitching Cesspool

Fact #1: The Boston Red Sox are in need of starting pitchers to fill innings this season behind their top 3

Fact #2: The Free Agent list of starting pitchers for the 2012 off-season just plain sucks

Now with those out of the way, let's take a look at the list of the 25 prominent free agent starters and see if we can come up with a few names that might be palatable at the back end of the 2012 Red Sox rotation. We could look at a number of stats but I've whittled them down to the following:

Age, 11 Salary, 11 xFIP, Career xFIP (c xFIP), Career WHIP (c WHIP), GB% and a stat I made up - IPY3 (Average innings pitched per year over the past 3 years).

Table after the jump with comments (table is pre-sorted by "c xFIP". I've also included John Lackey as a reference, since that's kind of who needs to be replaced 

Name

Th

Age

11 Salary

11 xFIP

c xFIP

c WHIP

c GB%

IPY3

Oswalt, Roy

R

34

$16,000,000

3.95

3.58

1.19

47.3

177

Kuroda, Hiroki

R

37

$11,765,724

3.56

3.62

1.19

48.6

172

Vavquez, Javier

R

35

$7,000,000

3.87

3.75

1.25

38.6

189

Wilson, CJ

L

31

$7,000,000

3.41

3.79

1.29

50.7

167

Bedard, Erik

L

33

$1,000,000

3.56

3.83

1.32

43.4

98

Harden, Rich

R

30

$1,500,000

3.68

3.94

1.30

38.9

105

Harang, Aaron

R

33

$3,500,000

4.21

4.06

1.35

38.2

148

Piniero, Joel

R

33

$8,000,000

4.38

4.17

1.35

49.2

170

Garcia, Freddy

R

35

$1,500,000

4.36

4.20

1.30

42.0

120

Buerhle, Mark

L

33

$14,000,000

4.14

4.22

1.28

45.9

209

Maholm, Paul

L

29

$6,250,000

4.03

4.22

1.42

52.3

181

Penny, Brad

R

33

$3,000,000

4.77

4.26

1.36

46.2

136

Kazmir, Scott

L

28

$12,000,000

14.75

4.30

1.41

38.9

100

Jackson Edwin

R

28

$8,750,000

3.73

4.38

1.48

43.3

207

Francis, Jeff

L

31

$2,000,000

4.29

4.40

1.43

43.9

96

Silva, Carlos

R

32

$11,500,000

0.00

4.41

1.40

48.0

48

Lopez, Rodrigo

R

36

$650,000

4.48

4.42

1.42

41.7

109

Hernandez, Livan

R

37

$1,250,000

4.28

4.53

1.44

41.8

190

Maine, John

R

30

$3,300,000

0.00

4.56

1.34

37.6

40

Garland, Jon

R

32

$4,442,023

4.86

4.58

1.38

45.1

153

Marquis, Jason

R

33

$7,500,000

4.02

4.62

1.43

50.4

135

Young, Chris

R

32

$1,100,000

4.73

4.66

1.20

28.2

40

Perez, Oliver

L

30

$12,000,000

0.00

4.67

1.48

32.9

37

Wakefield, Tim

R

45

$2,000,000

4.81

4.77

1.35

39.6

141

Davies, Kyle

R

28

$3,200,000

4.51

4.91

1.62

39.1

122

Lackey, John

R

33

$15,950,000

4.70

4.08

1.35

43.2

184

 

Comments: When looking at this group as a whole I noticed that the age 32-34 window seems to be a drop-off point for a lot of pitchers. This, of course, does not bode well when you look at the age of John Lackey. Now, when approaching this list as the Red Sox GM, the first question that we need to tackle is - are we willing to spend money and/or go multiple years to get one of the better pitchers in this list? Based upon the quality of pitchers on display here and the fact that we already have a boatload of money tied up in pitching, I'm going to say no. This basically puts us the realm of the one-year deals, maybe with some incentives thrown in for performance. This also most likely removes the following from our search: Wilson, Oswalt, Buerhle, Jackson and Kuroda. I'm not saying that feelers aren't sent to some of these players - just that I'm not willing to open the wallet to get them. 

We are now down to 20 pitchers. I'm going to have to be o.k. taking on some injury risk to fill the back end, because let's face it - the list is riddled with injured pitchers. Now let's get down to business. (1) I don't want Sox re-treads so Penny & Piniero are out. (2) I don't want extreme fly-ball pitchers (Young) and I really don't want extreme fly-ball pitchers who walk a ton of dudes (Perez). (3) Javier Vazquez has hinted at retirement and I want no business with him in the AL East anyway. (4) The team has probably had enough of clubhouse mysteria so Carlos Silva - no-way. I'm not willing to go HUGE reclamation projects so John Maine and Scott Kazmir - no thanks.

This brings us to 12 remaining pitchers. If I have my druthers, I'd rather not bring in some old guys with little upside, so Wakefield, Lopez, and Hernandez are gone, leaving us with 9 starters: Bedard, Harden, Harang, Maholm, Garcia Francis, Garland, Marquis, Davies.

My recommendations (assuming no trades are made to bring in pitching):

1. Sign Erik Bedard and Rich Harden to incentive laden deals and make one pitcher out of the two - Richrik Bedarden. Have them draw straws for which portion of the season each will pitch.

2. Sign at least one more vet for the 5th slot and AAA depth: I'm looking at Jon Garland (ground-ball guy who has pitched in the AL).

3. I would look at Maholm and Francis as secondary/tertiary options but only on one-year small contracts

 

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