Free Agent

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The Astros have had success in the past with under-the-radar signings of starting pitchers like Charlie Morton in and Wade Miley in Miley was excellent for most of the season before falling apart late and likely will leave in free agency. Bringing back Cole would solve everything, but there are other options. Offensively, the Astros are in a good spot. They can return everyone in their regular starting lineup with the exception of catcher, with both Robinson Chirinos and Martin Maldonado entering free agency. He should be the most handsomely paid, too.

Predicting landing spots for the top 25 MLB free agents

Who doesn't love a good MysteryTeam? Eight years will. The Padres spent plenty in the last two seasons, foolishly so in the case of Hosmer. It could cost them Cole. The Astros are the premier pitching Svengali in the game, resurrecting careers and launching top-end starters toward historic heights. Cole had electric stuff in Pittsburgh.

The Astros unlocked a new level of dominance. The track record and comfort of returning to the same team work in Houston's favor. But how likely is it the club will win a bidding war? Presumably the Astros would also like to dish out extensions to cornerstones George Springer and Carlos Correa soon. It seems most likely the Astros will be relegated to just one ace in Realmuto and attempted to shore up their bullpen by signing David Robertson.

Expectations remain high entering Philadelphia had the No.

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Do the Phillies still have "stupid money" to spend? The guess here is yes. The only question is how high the bidding for Cole goes. Will Brian Cashman snag the premier pitcher on the market? Where Rendon has a disadvantage relative to Harper and Machado is his age.

Going to six years is possible, but the Nationals may be the only team willing to do so. His average fastball velocity was the lowest of his career After a 4. His age will prevent him from getting an extremely lengthy contract, but he appears headed for a very lucrative two or three-year deal. Any contender needing a third baseman ought to be calling Donaldson. Martinez will not opt out of his deal.

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He also has an opt-out clause after the season. Player Notes Martinez was very good in ; his. Nonetheless, that performance represented a significant step down from his. Not only did he not hit the ball quite as hard in — his exit velocity dipped from Between the suggestion that his bat is slowing down as he moves into his mids and his defensive liabilities Grandal declined his option with Milwaukee and hits the market again this winter in much the same place he was last year.

Two Octobers ago, he struggled with his receiving and lost playing time as the Dodgers advanced through the playoffs. It was perhaps a small matter, but nonetheless, the final impression he gave potential suitors was not a positive one. Louis seem like a disappointment. Ozuna does have one more year in his 20s, and there are a few reasons to think he might improve over his performance the last few seasons.

Louis is a tough park to hit homers in for right-handed batters, and a new home might unleash a little more power. His past playoff performance and general makeup are seen as nice separators in a crowded starting pitching marketplace. Player Notes After two injury-shortened seasons, Bumgarner was back to being his workhorse self, throwing more innings than all but eight other pitchers, five of whom were clustered within four outs of each other.

His run prevention was solid but not stellar; his 93 ERA- on a 3. So, too, were both his strikeout and walk rates He did get batters to chase curveballs outside the zone — particularly below it — with greater frequency That reduced rate is worth bearing in mind if he moves to a less pitcher-friendly ballpark, particularly considering that he was touched for a 5. But here we are in , and Zack Wheeler is a prized free agent.

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His last two years have been both consistent and effective: more than innings, a FIP- in the low 80s, and strikeout and walk numbers better than league average. His October Tommy John surgery ate into the first half of , and the combination of greater exit velocity and a higher launch angle led to a career-high rate of barrels, but also more strikeouts, fewer walks, and a. There are a lot of elements for success here, but enough recent bumps in the road to temper enthusiasm. His run prevention numbers barely budged from , though they were accompanied by modest improvements in his strikeout and groundball ratios.

Player Notes After being limited to 15 starts in due to a severe groin strain, the portly port-sider pitched enough innings to qualify for the ERA title for the first time since his rookie campaign. Through July, he posted a 1. His strikeout rate was a modest It seems like that should end this year? Gibson was the player with the most helium amongst team-side analyst-types consulted for the first iteration of this list. Some have him over Keuchel, in part because his mph heater gives more margin for error in games, in projecting his future, and in projecting a role in a playoff rotation.

Player Notes Gibson has grown from his humble origins as a sinker-balling, groundball specialist to a guy who struck out more than a batter per inning last year. Player Notes After being, if not a bad boy, then certainly a middling boy for the first few years of his career, Will Smith was able to focus, put six degrees of separation between himself and his earlier struggles, and embark on an Ali-like run of greatness in , when he was the best pitcher in baseball by WPA.

Will his pursuit of happyness keep him in the wild wild west, with the Dodgers? Will he see the collateral beauty of playing in Miami or Tampa Bay, the two teams in his home state of Florida? Whichever team secures his John Hancock hopes his future will be bright, rather than a return to being a bad boy for life. And his future should be bright!

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Player Notes The soon-to-be year-old right-hander just put up a very impressive season with the Twins. Odorizzi is not an innings horse, with just two of his starts going beyond six innings and 20 of 30 starts coming in under six. He also had a few minor injuries, though none were arm-related, with an IL stint due to a blister and hamstring issues toward the end of the season.

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Is it bad analysis to slice up a season into even smaller samples? Quite possibly! Want a guaranteed 2 WAR? Keep looking. Want offense, highlights, and hijinks? He returned from the shoulder issue to make one start at the end of September, and he dominated, striking out eight Cardinals in just four shutout innings, allowing two hits and walking none. His velo was up in that start, a tick better than it had been during the month-long stretch between when he returned from the oblique issue and was shut down because of the shoulder.

This is a backend starter, but a good one. This likely means he gets a one-year, make-good deal with incentives and possibly an option. Player Notes For much of the season, Michael Pineda seemed primed to enter free agency in a relatively strong position. Coming off a full season lost to Tommy John surgery, the year-old performed consistently for the unexpected division-champion Twins, with a 4.

The violation in question was a drug called hydrochlorothiazide, which, while not a performance-enhancer, is often used as a masking agent for anabolic steroids.