Free agency is open, let’s look at starting pitchers
As of November 2nd, at 5:00 PM the MLB free agency market was officially opened. With that being said, what I want to do with this article is take a look at some free agents that I think the Phillies should think about signing this offseason. Obviously, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are at the top of the list, but for this article, I will be looking at other players. This will be the first of a series of articles that will break down some of the free agents I think the Phillies should sign. For this article, let’s look at starting pitchers.
Corbin will be one of the most sought-after starting pitchers on this market. He is 29 years old and finished the 2018 season with a 6.3 WAR (which was the highest among free agent starters). 2018 was his best season. He finished with a record of 11-7 and 3.15 ERA. This goes with 200.0 innings pitched and 246 strikeouts.
D-backs intend to extend the qualifying offer to aj pollock as well as Patrick Corbin
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 2, 2018
I started with Corbin because I think the Phillies need a lefty in the rotation. However, Corbin may end up being too much money. If I were the Phillies, my main goal is to go after Harper and/or Machado and then look towards the pitching staff. Corbin has shown promise leading the staff in Arizona the past couple of seasons. The Phillies are not looking for an ace or even a number two starter. However, Corbin could be a great fit if the Phillies could get him for the money it would take to sign a number three starter. Just imagine sending out Aaron Nola, Jake Arretta, and Corbin in a three-game series.
My offer: I think Corbin is going to get the most money on this market. I am not willing to pay him more than Arretta, which I think he is going to get. If I had to guess, I think the Yankees will offer him 5-years and $125 Million. If for some reason the Phillies can get him at the $20 million per year range, do it no more than four years though.
Keuchel, just like Corbin, will be one of the most expensive starting pitchers on this market. But again, I think adding a left-handed pitcher to the rotation would help the 2019 Phillies. Keuchel is 31 years old and finished the 2018 season with a 3.6 WAR. However, Keuchel had a terrible start to the 2018 season, and in the second half, he was MUCH better. That first half affected his season numbers. Those numbers were a 12-11 record and a 3.74 ERA, throwing 204.2 innings with 153 strikeouts.
Astros extend qualifying offer to Keuchel, let’s see what happens next in this chess match.
— Jeff Gephart (@Gephart_Jeff) November 3, 2018
The first thing I want to say is don’t worry about the strikeouts. Keuchel is a lefty that relies on location. He is a ground ball pitcher that consistently gets the double play ball. Unlike Corbin, Keuchel has won a Cy Young Award before, and because of this, he may get more money than the Phillies are willing to spend for a starting pitcher this offseason. If you were to ask me, I would rather have Keuchel over Corbin, especially for Citizens Bank Park where the ball flies.
My offer: I would offer Keuchel a four or five year deal for $20 Million a year. Cole Hamels is set to make $20 Million in 2019 in his age 35-season. This has set the standard for the pitching market, especially for a guy who is about to be 30 and who has a Cy Young.
I’m sure you were watching the playoffs this season, and Eovaldi looked unhittable in almost every inning he threw. This most likely caused him to make more money than he would’ve originally. My initial reaction for Eovaldi is that the Red Sox are going to do everything they can to re-sign him. This might be best for the Phillies. Eovaldi has come back from not one, but two Tommy John surgeries. As a person who has had Tommy John myself, I wouldn’t wish that recovery on my worst enemy and I couldn’t even think about going through it twice. When I think about it from that aspect, Eovaldi is a guy that I want on my team. But the Phillies have to be realistic, there is a high probability that he will get hurt again and the price for him may have risen above what is realistic.
Nathan Eovaldi fought through struggles to become a force in October. He shut down New York, then Houston, and laid his twice surgically repaired arm on the line to try and win Game 3. I have never seen a more incredible performance, win or loss. No. Words. Resign this man.
— Roger Baddell (@TB12goatfan87) October 29, 2018
Joe Kelly and Nathan Eovaldi in about ten days… pic.twitter.com/G4iIe7NLCF
— Jason Fonder (@jfonder10) October 25, 2018
My offer: I would offer Eovaldi a two-year deal worth $20 Million. This would allow the Phillies to solidify a strong number three starter without breaking the bank.
If you haven’t noticed by now, the Phillies need a lefty. Ryu may be the cheapest and most interesting option out of all of the starting pitchers. Ryu has dealt with some injuries the last couple seasons, and only pitched 82.1 innings in 2018. He finished 7-3 with a 1.97 ERA and 89 strikeouts. Ryu is not a pitcher that will blow the fastball by you, rather he is going to change speed and location to get outs. The only question becomes, how healthy is Ryu.
How is Hyun-Jin Ryu even up for debate the man's a treasure pic.twitter.com/SITLlHrUDM
— Mari (@OFA_Mari) November 2, 2018
My offer: I think this is a perfect situation for a one year deal with a team option for a second season. Give Ryu a chance to prove himself and potentially help the Phillies in a playoff run in 2019.
This one makes no sense, and I know that, but I just have a feeling that Harvey will have a bounce back year. He did not have a good 2018 season or a 2017 season or a 2016 season. That’s three years in a row where he was not the Dark Knight. With that being said, something in my gut is saying to give Harvey a chance. There are no statistics that back this up, but there is a feeling. Believe it or not, Harvey is not statistically the worst out of all the free agent starting pitchers.
— Zesty MLB Reds (@zesty_reds) November 3, 2018
My offer: Just like Ryu, I give Harvey a one year deal with a team option for a second year. I would offer Harvey $2-$5 Million for that one year.
2019 starting rotation
I have no idea what the Phillies‘ starting rotation will look like in 2019. However, I do think that there are options to add starting pitchers this offseason. The Phillies could go in a totally different direction, but I really like these five guys. I hope the Phillies go after at least one of them.