Starting Pitcher FAs – Take 2

Time to turn our attention back to what FA pitcher(s) to sign. An update to a previous post on Starting Pitchers.

Steve: First off Don, that left-handed power bat article that we started writing in December kind of nailed it on Joey Gallo. Let’s see if we can be that good on guessing who Rizzo might snag as his starting pitcher to be signed.

Don: We removed Shota Imanaga, Marcus Stroman and James Paxton since they have each signed, or in Paxton’s case is close to signing with another team. And we added Matthew Boyd, Brad Keller, Eric Lauer, Jake Odorizzi and Hyun Jin Ryu to list from before that included Michael Lorenzen, Jordan Montgomery, Blake Snell and Alex Wood. And some of these are clearly tier-3 candidates. But even a tier-3 guy could potentially push Trevor Williams to the bullpen.

Steve: I liked that Jon Heyman of the NY Post thought that the Nats would be trying to get a tier-2 pitcher — but I am very skeptical on Michael Lorenzen because he was really bad and looked burned-out after throwing that complete game no-hitter. Where have we seen that before? Johan Santana comes to mind and the near no-no with Atlanta’s Sean Newcomb changed both pitcher’s futures after that. I’m sure there are more names. Also, Heyman had Ryu as a tier-2 pitcher with Alex Wood, Stroman and Paxton. Going from what I heard is Rizzo has his eyes on Ryu. My fear is that if he doesn’t get his price on Ryu that this drops to a tier-3 signing, and then I think, why bother?

Don: First are the Games Scores. Both the James and Tango versions. Note that since Odorizzi did not pitch in 2023, we have used his 2022 Game Logs data. As discussed in the previous post, the first games column includes relief appearances. The second one only includes starts.

Next are the details of innings pitched (in starts), include the quartiles.

And last, the per 9 innings metrics (including starts and relief appearances).

Steve: The charts are certainly interesting, but you have to wonder what Montgomery has left after that long run to the World Series win. He was over 200 innings of work with the postseason. Snell would be a Ted Lerner type of move. Woodruff, a roll of the dice towards the future. Ryu just seems like the Rizzo move here or do nothing.

Don: I agree on Ryu. He looks like a good choice. My first choice is still a flyer on Woodruff. I’d put Boyd and Odorizzi next up. They both have upsides. And the Nats could certainly afford both. And maybe Ryu with one of them? Or Woodruff with one of them.

Steve: To me this is a D+ offseason so far for Rizzo. Get Ryu and it’s C+. I go to a B- or solid B if he extends CJ Abrams with Ryu. That C+ represents Rizzo meeting his stated goals and working with a limited budget — but he must get a starting pitcher upgrade. He did get Dylan Floro when he didn’t need to spend any money on the bullpen. My fear is Rizzo ends up with a tier-3 pitcher, and that is all that we get. Ryu made $20 million last year just for a price comparison and he pitched one-third of a season. I think $12-$14 million is the number. Boras is his agent so obviously he will want more. I’m thinking Rizzo wants to spend $12 million to $14 million tops and that would take the payroll to $123 million-to-$125 million. This will be something to watch.

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