|Truth, Rumors and Pure Speculation: Starting Pitchers|
Written by Daniel Paulling (Contact & Archive) on November 28, 2009
Welcome to the first Truth, Rumors and Pure Speculation column of the 2009-10 offseason. This is designed to provide you with insight as to how the offseason will go and the latest rumors on who is headed where. Today, we're discussing starting pitchers.
a lengthy blog post on Wednesday about how the Halladay market is developing after a report that the Red Sox were going after him. It's likely that Halladay will go somewhere this offseason; the Blue Jays won't be able to compete with the Yankees and Red Sox in 2010. Halladay will be gone as a free agent after next season, if they choose to keep him.
Toronto has a strong core of talent ready to compete soon, which means it's positioned to chase talent ready to play sooner rather than offer Halladay arbitration and wait for four or five years for those players to make it to the Major League level.
Where could he be heading? The Red Sox are likely candidates because they need to chase down the Yankees in the division, while the Angels are going to need an ace to replace John Lackey (more on him later). It's doubtful the Dodgers are going to be major players when the Blue Jays are likely asking for a quality, young pitcher in return.
The Cubs don't have the money, and there doesn't appear to be any dark horse teams out there right now. The Yankees haven't solidified their budget for the 2010 season yet, and a lot rests on whether Andy Pettitte returns.
Curtis Granderson's and Miguel Cabrera's names have floated around the free agent market, and it appears the Tigers are in dire financial straits. Detroit isn't doing well economically as a city, and the Tigers have a large chunk of their payroll committed to Magglio Ordonez and Cabrera next season.
Jackson doesn't earn much, and he could bring back some decent talent. That would be good considering Jackson struggled to a 5.83 over his last 11 starts. There are plenty of teams that could take interest in Jackson, considering he was an All Star last season, finished with 200-plus innings and is a hard-throwing right hander.
Buyer beware however. That was Jackson's first season of throwing more than 200 innings at the Major League level, and he was a horrible pitcher over basically one-third of the season.
It's been rumored that Lackey is looking for A.J. Burnett-type money, and that certainly is reasonable. Lackey is the better pitcher of the two, in a thinner free agent market for top arms and is more consistent. Considering he's looking for that type of money certainly limits where he could go.
The Angels would be a good fit, but they haven't been doling out big contracts for their homegrown players recently. The Dodgers could be another fit, but I don't see them handing out tens of millions of dollars considering the front office situation going on.
The Rangers could be a player, but it would be difficult with owner Tom Hicks' maneuvering as owner of the team. Lackey is from Texas and is a Cowboys fan but may have to give a discount for the Rangers to add him.
That leaves the Red Sox and Yankees, once again, bidding for him. The Orioles could make themselves players because they could use someone to front their rotation, but it's difficult to see Lackey ending up there. There just doesn't seem to be any other team with that type of money to spend.
Trading for Johnson could be the steal of the offseason. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com writes that the Marlins offered Johnson a three-year deal, while Johnson's agent wanted something similar to Zach Greinke's four-year deal with the Royals. Johnson is a free agent after the 2011 season, meaning the Marlins would be buying out one year of free agency with their deal. It seems they are just being reluctant to lock someone up for four seasons; it would be smart to sign Johnson to a four-year contract and buy out two years of free agency.
If I were the Yankees or Red Sox or some other big market team, I'd be asking the Marlins what they wanted for Johnson. He's cheap, years away from the prime of his career and has good control. Sure, it would take a top prospect in return, but when you consider the reward of having Johnson around, it's worth it.
It's highly unlikely the Marlins will trade Johnson, but his name should make a few rounds on the rumor mill this offseason. It won't be long until they will move him, so it makes sense for them to put their feelers out there after he had an excellent season.