Starting Pitching Market Beginning to Develop
Image courtesy of © Raj Mehta-USA TODAY SportsThe Atlanta Braves signed Drew Smyly to a one-year, $11 million contract yesterday. While Smyly did post some eye-popping numbers for the Giants this season, which was accompanied by a nice uptick in velocity, he’s also struggled to stay healthy and productive over his career.
Below is a discussion on the market, how Odorizzi stacks up against Smyly and how much Odorizzi may get in his next contract.
So with Smyly's signing we have one less free agent on the market, and another pitcher with a less than impressive overall resume walking away with a nice paycheck. Odorizzi figures to do quite nicely for himself.
Per ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Blue Jays, Giants, Mets and Twins have all shown interest in Odorizzi. All of this early activity has left the starting pitching market thin, which should help Odorizzi find even more suitors.
Here are the top-10 free agent pitchers remaining with their current ages:
1. Trevor Bauer (29)
2. Masahiro Tanaka (32)
3. James Paxton (32)
4. Jake Odorizzi (30)
5. Charlie Morton (37)
6. Taijuan Walker (28)
7. José Quintana (31)
8. Garrett Richards (32)
9. Mike Minor (32)
10. Corey Kluber (34)
This list is based on the rankings from FanGraphs and MLB Trade Rumors. I slotted in Morton at my own discretion, since he was not a free agent at the time the FanGraphs list was published.
The top remaining names from there include Adam Wainwright, J.A. Happ, Rick Porcello, Matt Shoemaker, Jon Lester, Cole Hamels, Chris Archer and Anthony DeSclafani, among others. It’s not exactly an inspiring group of arms.
Perhaps the Twins were always more likely to acquire a starter via trade anyway, as they did with Odorizzi and more recently Kenta Maeda. This lack of supply on the open market, however, could result in trade demands increasing.
This front office has been pretty passive in the free agent market. Here’s a look back:
Dec, 13, 2017: Michael Pineda two years, $10 million
March 12, 2018: Lance Lynn one year $12 million
Jan. 30, 2019: Martin Perez (ended up being one year, $4.4 million)
Nov. 14, 2019: Jake Odorizzi one year, $17.8 million (qualifying offer)
Dec. 10, 2019: Michael Pineda two years, $20 million
Dec. 31, 2019: Homer Bailey one year, $7 million
Dec. 31, 2019: Rich Hill one year, $3 million
Since Derek Falvey took over the Twins in October of 2016, the largest deal they’ve signed a free agent starter to was Pineda’s two-year, $20 million deal last December. I decided to include Odorizzi on this list, but I suppose a player accepting a qualifying offer is different from a true free agent signing. The earliest this front office has signed a starting pitcher on the open market was, again, Pineda’s deal last December.
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