The 2020 MLB season is a few months away. The offseason is about to heat up as marquee free agents are starting to sign. The starting pitching market is very deep this offseason with top guys like Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg out there. Jake Odorizzi has already accepted his qualifying offer with the Minnesota Twins, which means there is one already of the board. Long-time Cardinal Adam Wainwright has also resigned with his team at the age of 38. Where will the next big names sign?
1. Gerrit Cole: Cole is now arguably the best pitcher in the game at the age of 29. Three straight seasons now he has hit the magical 200 innings and all he has to show for it is dropped his ERA in each of the last three seasons. Finishing last year with a career-low 2.50 along with hitting the 20-win mark. Cole will get one of the largest contracts in the game and probably the largest by a pitcher. The former Astro will most likely find a new home after a disappointing World Series loss and now the franchise under investigation.
Options: Yankees, Phillies, Angels, Padres, Dodgers / Prediction: Angels
2. Stephen Strasburg: Is not better than Cole but he is not much worse. Strasburg’s biggest issue has been the injury bug which is the only thing that seems to be able to slow him down. He is coming off leading the Nationals to a World Series title from one of the most dominant postseasons a pitcher can have. In 6 games 36+ inning a 1.98ERA with 47Ks. IN 2019 he led the NL in innings pitched and most win with 209 and 18 respectively. Finished the season 18-6 with a 3.32ERA with that being his second-lowest ERA in his career.
Options: Nationals, Phillies, Yankees, Cubs, Angels / Prediction: Phillies
3. Madison Bumgarner: He will hit the 30-year-old mark by the start of the next MLB season which for pitchers can be a little scary when they already have started a little decline. This is one of the riskier options. His ERA has gone up each year since 2016 which was his last All-Star game appearance which was also in a pitcher’s park. He finished the 2019 season with a 9-9 record with a 3.90ERA. His home to road splits shows how much he has benefitted from the Giants ballpark where his ERA was a 2.93 versus a 5.29 ERA. Does he still have the capability to eat innings as he hit 207 but is the price worth it?
Options: Phillies, Braves, Yankees, Cubs, White Sox / Prediction: Braves.
4. Zack Wheeler: This might be one of the most interesting pitchers on the market. He is a player with a lot of believed potential that has not pitched to it yet. The 30-year-old is coming off an 11-win season where he had a 3.96 ERA and his best career ERA was a 3.30. Wheeler still has that potential to breakout and will most likely lower his ERA from this year. The question that is not clear is how much is he worth?
Options: White Sox, Reds, Angels, Yankees, Phillies / Prediction: White Sox
5. Hyun- Jin Ryu: This is another interesting pitcher this offseason he is coming off his best season but will be 33 to start the season next year. He has been crushed by injury after injury. Ryu should have been Cy young winner this past season after post an NL leading 2.32 ERA and going 14-5. He had his career-high in innings pitched at 182 and his lowest ERA in a season with at least 100 innings pitched. How much does he have left in the tank and what will his deal be like is the question?
Options: Reds, White Sox, Cardinals, Dodgers, Angels, Padres / Prediction: Reds
Honorable Mention: Cole Hamels (36) Michael Pineda (30), Dallas Keuchel (32), Kyle Gibson (32)
– Andrew Santangelo