Free Agent Rankings: Starting Pitchers (3 of 3)


Today we finish looking at the free agent starting pitchers that the Marlins may be interested in. I can’t see the Marlins signing a big name free agent pitcher, rather I expect them to pursue a short-term deal with a pitcher that has a high upside/low floor. If it ends up being a bust, they can just cut ties with him without losing too much money. If it works out, they can trade the pitcher to a contender and hopefully get additional young talent. Let’s continue with the players.

Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Maholm:

Maholm pitched with Atlanta last year, and after losing Tim Hudson to the Giants, I expect the Braves will make a push to resign the left-hander. Maholm is not a power pitcher, relying heavily upon deception to keep hitters off-balance. He started off 2013 strong, but really struggled down the stretch.

He doesn’t strike out a bunch of people, and his control isn’t particularly great either. Maholm is very average in every sense of the word. An average pitcher, coming off of a bad season equals a cheap contract, and that is why Miami may be interested in Maholm. He would provide them with a veteran lefty in the rotation, and could be traded mid-season and replaced by Brian Flynn or even Andrew Heaney.

A real concern for the Marlins would be injury. It is much harder to trade an injured pitcher than even a struggling one. Maholm injured his shoulder toward the end of last year, but is expected to be healthy for the start of 2014. Still concerns have to remain about his shoulder holding up.

Ultimately, I don’t think Maholm will sign with the Marlins, but if the contract is 1 year, 6 million dollars, he may be worth the risk.

Likelihood of Becoming a Marlin: 3/10

Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Ervin Santana:

One of the top free agents on the market, was almost unwanted a year ago. Santana will show other pitchers just how important it is to turn in an excellent season in the last year of a contract. Santana is a hard throwing pitcher with excellent control. It is a little surprising that he doesn’t have more strikeouts with the speed on his fastball, but that can be contributed to his lack of walks and pitching to contact.

Santana really struggled in 2012, but that appears to now be an outlier, rather than an actual problem. He had a ghastly home run rate that year that largely contributed to his spike in ERA, and his issues. In 2013 he returned to normal and that should earn him quite a big pay raise. Santana is projected by Steamer to post an ERA of 3.80 to go along with a 7.42 strikeout rate in 2014.

Santana is going to command a very large contract. I have even heard of some numbers in the 5 year/75 million dollar range. This will likely price the Marlins out of the market for Santana. That is a large contract for a number 2 starter, but someone likely will pay it. If he duplicates this last season, then that contract may be worth it. Either way, don’t expect him to see him in Miami next year, unless it is on another team.

Likelihood of Becoming a Marlin: 1/10

Here is the complete list of free agent starting pitchers from MLB Trade Rumors

Alfredo Aceves (31)
Bronson Arroyo
Scott Baker (32)
Erik Bedard (35)
Travis Blackley (31)
A.J. Burnett (37)
Chris Capuano (35)
Chris Carpenter (39)
Bruce Chen (37)
Bartolo Colon (41)
Scott Feldman (30)
Gavin Floyd (31)
Jeff Francis (33)
Freddy Garcia (37)
Jon Garland (34)
Matt Garza (30)
Chad Gaudin (31)
Roy Halladay (37)
Jason Hammel (31)
Aaron Harang (36)
Dan Haren (33)
Roberto Hernandez (33)
Phil Hughes (28)
Ubaldo Jimenez (30)
Jair Jurrjens (28)
Jeff Karstens (31)
Scott Kazmir (30)
Hiroki Kuroda (39)
John Lannan (29)
Ted Lilly (38)
Paul Maholm (32)
Shaun Marcum (32)
Jason Marquis (35)
Daisuke Matsuzaka (33)
James McDonald (29)
Jeff Niemann (31)
Ricky Nolasco (31)
Sean O’Sullivan (26)
Roy Oswalt (35)
Felipe Paulino (30)
Mike Pelfrey (30)
Greg Reynolds (28)
Clayton Richard (30)
Ervin Santana (31)
Johan Santana (34)
Joe Saunders (33)
Kevin Slowey (30)
Masahiro Tanaka (25) – right to sign will be acquired via posting system for Japanese players
Ryan Vogelsong (36)
Edinson Volquez (30)
Tsuyoshi Wada (33)
Jake Westbrook (36)
Chien-Ming Wang (34)
Suk-Min Yoon (27)
Barry Zito (36)

A couple of things worth noting. Tanaka could be the best pitcher available, the problem is, he’s not yet available. MLB is still trying negotiate a new deal that would allow the Japanese player to sign with a team after a significant posting amount. Obviously, there are bunch of names on this list. Does anyone else jump out at you as a potential signing for the Marlins? Would any of these pitchers provide the Marlins with some added depth? Let us know what you think in the comments below.