The starting pitching market this season is woefully void of high quality pitchers, meaning excessive prices for a quality pitcher, likely. Rich Hill, Jeremy Hellickson and Ivan Nova appear to be the best available free agents, and in line for significant pay-days, with each plausibly set to receive $50M + multi-year deals. Speculation on trades for starting pitchers is surely going to be rife, with nearly all teams looking to add not subtract, meaning the Shelby Miller for Swanson, Albies and Blair trade, could be a benchmark, for selling teams. That is a ridiculously high benchmark, as Arizona found out, when Miller struggled awfully, and their form top prospects all had fine seasons, and each a chance of been on the opening day roster for Atlanta.
Looking to rebound in 2017
There is numerous pitchers, looking to rebound in 2017, following injuries or poor seasons, meaning the signing team will need to be vigilant in their summaries of the players status. Certainly, no place can be found in the game, for misdemeanours like AJ Preller and his withholding of medical information of his trade pieces. Names, such as CJ Wilson, Jered Weaver, Doug Fister, Brett Anderson, Henderson Alvarez, Mat Latos and Felix Doubront, all fit this bill and could potentially have fine seasons, for a club that takes a gamble on them. Other pitchers, who are not as established as stars but will provide depth, include Colby Lewis, Charlie Morton, Tommy Milone, Jon Niese, Bud Norris and Edinson Volquez (though the Royals could exercise his option). Finally, there are some exciting veterans that are likely to find themselves pitching every 5 days, albeit as back-of-the-rotation staff. These include, Bartolo Colon, RA Dickey (if he chooses to play-on), Jakey Peavy, and Jorge De La Rosa.
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The relievers market is set to boon, with several quality mid-relief types, and then the closers mentioned above. The mid-relief staff, is headlined by Joaquin Benoit, Neftali Feliz, David Hernandez, Daniel Hudson, Kevin Jepsen, Fernando Salas and Ryan Webb, as well as the others already mentioned. There are 3 superstar closers, Jansen, Chapman and Melancon, then there is a host of veterans that have closed, and should still have some good years ahead, such as Greg Holland, Drew Storen, Fernando Rodriguez and Jason Grilli. Apart from those, there is other veteran relievers, such as Casey Fien, Jesse Chavez, Yusmeiro Petit, Joe Blanton, JJ Hoover, Carlos Torres, Jonathan Papelbon and Fernando Rodney, who have all got potential to fill club needs.
On the positional side of the markets, apart from the above mentioned stars, Bautista, Encarnacion and Cespedes, who all could eclipse 9 digit contracts, others such as Wilson Ramos, Justin Turner, Mark Trumbo, Ian Desmond, Dexter Fowler, Neil Walker and Mike Napoli should all land significant deals. While, the market is not as laden with talent as other offseasons, this merely means that trade creativity will be tested, for General Managers and other Front Office personnel. It is sure to be an intriguing offseason, with plenty of blockbusting trades.
Finally, a look at the Qualifying Offer candidates; Encarnacion and Buatista are certainties, with Michael Saunders possibly set to be another from Toronto. Mike Napoli could be offered one from Cleveland, but it is unlikely that he would accept, which is true for EE and Bautista of Toronto also. Justin Turner is another certainty, as well as Kenley Jansen, with Turner much more likely to accept than the stud Curacao product. Neil Walker, may well be in line to receive, the $17.3M offer, but may not be inclined to take the Mets up. Ian Desmond and Dexter Fowler, are probables, as is Jeremy Hellickson, perhaps the only SP to receive this season.