In the thick of the MLB offseason, teams are still looking to acquire dependable pieces to bolster the rotations before the season. This year’s crop of free agent starting pitchers includes All-Stars, World Series Champions and a Cy Young Award winner.
Jake Arrieta has been a starter in the MLB since his debut for the Baltimore Orioles in 2010. After four mediocre seasons in Baltimore, Arrieta found himself a home in the Chicago Cubs rotation. In 2014 he pitched his first full season with the club and finished the season with a career best 10-5 record and a career best earned run average (ERA) of 2.53. The following season, Arrieta outdid himself and won an MLB best 22 games. He finished the 2015 season with a 22-6 record and miniscule 1.77 ERA, that was second only to Zack Greinke’s 1.66 ERA with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Arrieta won the National League Cy Young award that season.
After winning the Cy Young, Arrieta went on to go 18-8 in 2016, and then won the World Series with the Cubs. In his last season with the Cubs, Arrieta posted a record of 14-10 and recorded a 3.53 ERA. Arrieta is reportedly seeking a $200 million contract. Arrieta’s agent Scott Boras has a reputation for making excessively lucrative deals for his clients. The Milwaukee Brewers are rumored to be in talks of signing the Cy Young winner, as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Chicago Cubs were reportedly interested in retaining Arrieta, but have since signed starting pitcher Yu Darvish.
Another quality starter available this offseason is former St. Louis Cardinal Lance Lynn. He’s pitched for the Cardinals his entire career thus far. Lynn won a World Series with the club as a reliever in the 2011 World Series. Following the World Series season, Lynn moved into the rotation for the 2012 season. He posted a 3.78 ERA and compiled a record of 18-7 on the year. Aside from missing the 2016 season due to Tommy John surgery, Lynn has been a reliable starter. He has had double digit wins in each full season he’s pitched in. Last season Lynn tied for first in the National League for 33 games started. The teams rumored to be interested in signing the 30-year-old hurler include the Brewers, New York Mets, Washington Nationals, Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays and Minnesota Twins.
Alex Cobb is also up for grabs this offseason. The 30-year-old right hander has been a member of the Tampa Bay Rays since his debut in 2011. Cobb, in his four full seasons as a starter, has recorded double-digit wins each time. In 2013, Cobb went 11-3 in just 22 starts. Last season Cobb posted a career high in wins with 12. He also reached a career high in innings pitched with 179.1. Cobb, like Lynn, missed the 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Teams rumored to have interest in Cobb include the Twins, Brewers, Texas Rangers, St. Louis Cardinals and the Philadelphia Phillies.
This offseason has not seen a big splash, and as Spring Training approaches it is odd that quality pitchers like Arrieta, Lynn and Cobb have not been signed. They will soon enough, but where they will go has yet to be determined