Monday, November 14, 2011

Free Agent Pitcher Predictions

This week I will make my free agent predictions for pitchers. Last week I made my hitter predictions, and just like last week, I will include where I think the pitcher will go along with my reasoning for it. Also, I have predicted the pitchers’ locations assuming the Rangers do not get Prince Fielder, as I no longer believe that they will sign him.

SP Mark Buehrle, CWS (13-9, 3.59 ERA, 109 K)
GOING TO: Miami Marlins
REASONING: The Marlins have been very aggressive so far this offseason, having already offered contracts to Albert Pujols and Jose Reyes, along with Buehrle. While I don’t think they’ll land the other two, the Marlins seem to be going all-out for a big splash this year to try and get the fans excited to come to their new ballpark, and I think they will end up over-paying to try and get a pitcher who is only solid, like Mark Buehrle.

SP Yu Darvish, JAP (18-6, 1.44 ERA, 276 K in Japan)
GOING TO: Toronto Blue Jays
REASONING: The Blue Jays have the cash to spend this offseason and are trying to make a run at the playoffs within the next couple of years, and their main focus is going to be on pitching during free agency. Darvish will be a very expensive player, coming from Japan and considered to be the best pitcher in free agency by many scouts, as teams will have to bid to even get the rights to negotiate a contract with him, but I think that Toronto will be willing to do that.

SP Edwin Jackson, STL (12-9, 3.79 ERA, 148 K)
GOING TO: New York Yankees
REASONING: The Yankees can obviously afford Edwin, and he is definitely the kind of pitcher the Yankees always seem to like. Edwin is a guy with very high potential, throws a hard fastball, and is capable of greatness. However, some qualities that the Yankees have been prone to overlook, like mental toughness, Edwin lacks.

SP Hiroki Kuroda, LAD (13-16, 3.07 ERA, 161 K)
GOING TO: Los Angeles Dodgers
REASONING: The Dodgers seem to be the only team that Hiroki is interested in signing with. He has played there his whole career, and turned down trades this July with his no-trade clause because he wanted to stay in LA. It has been reported that if he doesn’t play for the Dodgers that he’ll be back in Japan. I think he stays in America and stays with the Dodgers.

SP Roy Oswalt, PHI (9-10, 3.69 ERA, 93 K)
GOING TO: Texas Rangers
REASONING: The Rangers have expressed interest in Oswalt, who wants a two-year deal and is coming off of a year full of back problems. Texas also fits the profile of a team that Roy wants to go to. Roy wants to stay close to home, in Mississippi. Check. He really wants to win a World Series for the first time in his career, and his agent said it mostly came down to him getting an opportunity to get a ring. Check.

SP Javier Vazquez, FLA (13-11, 3.69 ERA, 162 K)
GOING TO: Retired
REASONING: It has been reported that if Javier doesn’t get at least a $10 million dollar contract with Miami he will retire. With the Marlins going after so many top free agents, I don’t see them giving him that contract.

SP CJ Wilson, TEX (16-7, 2.94 ERA, 206 K)
GOING TO: Washington Nationals
REASONING: The Nationals, much like the Marlins and Blue Jays, are planning on making some major free agent splashes this offseason, in order to both make a playoff run and to get their fans excited. I think the Nats will be willing to offer CJ the most money, and so I think that’s where he goes. I think CJ would rather go to the Yankees or Rangers, but the Yanks don’t seem overly interested, and I don’t see the Rangers giving him the kind of money that Washington will.

CP Heath Bell, SD (43 SV, 2.44 ERA, 51 K)
GOING TO: San Diego Padres
REASONING: Heath loves it in San Diego, and didn’t want to leave at the trade deadline. I don’t think he’ll want to leave now, either. He is willing to take a major home-town discount and the Padres want him back. I don’t see him leaving.

CP Francisco Cordero, CIN (37 SV, 2.45 ERA, 42 K)
GOING TO: Cincinnati Reds
REASONING: Co-co has been in Cincinnati for four years now and seems to enjoy it there. The Reds aren’t going after any big free agents this offseason, so they have the means to keep Francisco for a playoff run with a solid team next year, and I think they will use their resources to keep Cordero.

CP Ryan Madson, PHI (32 SV, 2.37 ERA, 62 K)
GOING TO: Texas Rangers
REASONING: With the Rangers looking to move Neftali Feliz into the rotation next year, they are trying to get a closer this offseason, and Madson is one of the better ones available via free agency. He had a great year in his first full season in a closer role in 2011, and is a clutch pitcher in the playoffs. It is a very good fit.

Come back next week for my updated Top 50 All-Time Rangers List.

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