Best Free Agent Pitchers
These are based on CHONE projections for an average team, and 4.84 million per win above replacement. Replacement level is set at a 4.55 ERA for relievers and a run higher than that for starters, in a league with an average ERA of 4.43. I'll show the projected ERA, innings pitched, one year value, and 3 year value. For the 3 year value, the projection is advanced by the appropriate aging factors, an assumption that $ per win keeps rising 10% per year, and that expected innings drop 10% per year. I have a formula to estimate a reliever's leverage rating, and it is considered for the closers.
8. Ryan Dempster, 153 IP, 4.30 ERA, 1Y 10.3, 3Y 29.3. Signed for a bit more, 13 per season, on a 4 year extension, but it's not too much of an overpay. Dempster is a tough one to project as he defied the norms, he threw harder, pitched better, and was more durable starting than he had been as a reliever. I can't criticize the Cubs.
7. Kenshin Kawakami, 136 IP, 4.04 ERA, 11.5, 33.3 34 year old pitcher coming over from Japan, should be a solid middle of the rotation guy with good control, like Hiroshi Kuroda
6. Randy Johnson, 152 IP, 4.11 ERA, 1 year, 12 million. I'm not putting a 3 year dollar value out there because it ain't happening. Johnson will get a one year deal to get his 300th win and another shot at the playoffs. D-Backs could have kept him for significantly less than this amount.
5. Andy Pettite, 180 IP, 4.34 ERA, 12 mil, 34.8 mil. Doesn't want a pay cut from his 16 million. Still solid, but probably not worth it.
4. Ben Sheets, 167 IP, 3.84 ERA, 15.7 mil, 45.9 mil. Yankees could probably get this guy if they waved Andy's 16 million around. But fear of signing another Pavano like injury case might deter them.
3. Derek Lowe, 180 IP, 3.78, 17.5 mil, 51.5 mil. A lot of us laughed 4 years ago when the Dodgers gave him 36 million over 4 years, but he earned every penny, and has been one of the most reliable and best pitchers in baseball.
2. A.J. Burnett, 187 IP, 3.67 ERA, 19.8 mil, 57.5 mil. What can I say, projection systems like strikeouts, especially from a pitcher who does it in baseball's toughest division. I don't think I'd want to pay him quite that much, but if he gets a deal for 5 years and 80 million, it would be a fair one. Part of my apprehension is his health record. He pitched a ton of innings last year, and when it comes to projecting playing time, my system is very what-have-you-done-lately.
1. C.C. Sabathia, 214 IP, 3.22, 27.7 mil, 81.8 mil. A case can be made that he has passed Santana and is the best pitcher in baseball right now.
4. Juan Cruz, 47 IP, 3.50 ERA, 3.8 mil, 12.6 mil - A strikeout machine, a bit wild though.
3. Kerry Wood, 46 IP, 3.50 ERA, 3.9 mil, 11.8 mil - he was great last year, but the health record says to be cautious on him.
2. Brian Fuentes, 62 IP, 3.34 ERA, 5.8 mil, 16.4 mil - The system is projecting a leverage in the 1.4 range. That's a new feature that I may need to tweak a bit, but fact there just aren't enough 2.0 leverage roles to go around. Fuentes is a good pitcher but not a great one, so his projected leverage comes short of the K-Rod's, Riveras, and Papelbons of the world. Also, Jeremy Affeldt signed for 4 million. Fuentes is a better pitcher, but I don't think he's that much better, not enough to be worth 2-3 times as much, as some rumors seem to indicate.
1. K-Rod, 69 IP, 3.01, 10.4 mil, 30.8 mil. He's not worth the 5 year, 75 million dollars that were initially talked about. Doesn't look like anyone really wants to pay that anyway. Reports are that the Angels are moving on, but if he comes back with reasonable demands - say 4 years, 40 million, he might stay an Angel after all.