Pitching Market On Hold Until Tanaka Signs By Friday Deadline

tanakaThe clock is ticking on Masahiro Tanaka.

He has until Friday, January 24th to sign with a MLB club, and until he’s signed, sealed, and delivered – the rest of the free agent pitching market is in limbo.

The Yankees want Tanaka, but will he sign to play in New York?

Once he signs, the rest of the market will begin to fall. If I were the agent of 4 of the 5 top remaining Free Agent starters, I would hope that Tanaka signs anywhere, but the Bronx. Why? Because with the Yankees desperate to improve their starting pitching, they’ll be in the hunt for at least one or two of the top remaining arms and that means big dollars and over-sized deals.

That lull in the big-name free agent market is about to end and the Hot Stove will be heating up again by the end of this week.

Top 5 Remaining Free Agent Starting Pitchers:

Ubaldo Jimenez – Back in 2010, Ubaldo looked like he was about to become one of the dominant pitchers in the game. He was taming the thin air in Colorado and in the first half of the season, he went 15-1 with a 2.20 ERA in 18 starts. He came back to Earth with a 4-7 record and a 3.80 ERA in the second half. His 2011 and 2012 seasons weren’t anything spectacular by any imagination going a combined 19-30 (including a league leading 17 losses with the Indians in 2012) and saw his ERA climb to 4.68 and 5.40 over those two years. He returned back to form in 2013 for the Indians, going 13-9 with a 3.30 ERA and had a strong second half – going 6-5 with a 1.82 ERA in 13 starts down the stretch after a 4.56 ERA in the first half. He does take the ball regularly and will give whatever team signs him innings and has started at least 31 games for six consecutive seasons. If I were a GM, I’d be hesitant to tie up a lot of money and a lot of years in him. He’s a pitcher that had a great first half of 2010, a strong second half of 2013, and a lot of mediocre in between.

Ervin Santana – Ervin will take the ball. He’s started at least 30 games for the last four seasons and at least 23 games in all of his 9 MLB seasons. While he only had a 9-10 record last year, he posted a career low 3.24 ERA in 211 innings. He’s posted a sub-4 ERA 3 of the last 4 years while pitching over 200 innings those same three years. He was solid both at home and on the road as well as in the first and second half of 2013. Aside from his terrible 2012 season, his splits were also relatively consistent in 2010 and 2011. I wouldn’t go anywhere near the 5 years and $100 million he was reportedly asking, for he’s nowhere near a $20 million per year pitcher – but the back of his baseball card suggests that he’ll take the ball, give you innings, and more than likely will give you a solid outing.

Matt Garza – Every time I think of Matt Garza, I think of him spitting. Because he does it. A lot. That aside, we’re looking at a pitcher that’s made just 24 and 18 starts the last two seasons after a stress fracture in his elbow that cost him the end of 2012 and a lat strain that cost him the beginning of 2013. These injuries aside, he’s posted a sub-4 ERA for 7 straight seasons. 2014 will be his age 30 season. He may be a career .500 pitcher, but he can be a solid addition and a winning pitcher on a good team.

A.J. Burnett – A.J. is going into his age 37 season, but once he got out of New York, he’s proved he can still pitch – posting ERA’s of 3.30 and 3.51 in 2013 and 2012. He’s started at least 30 games each of the last 6 seasons and has had an ERA of 4.07 or lower in 8 of the last 10 seasons (the only exception being his last two years with the Yankees). A.J. will probably look to stay in the National League and in a smaller market. As long as he’s not in the Bright Lights, Big City – he should still be able to put up Big Numbers, Big Results for the right team next year.

Bronson Arroyo – Bronson is also entering his age 37 season but he also takes the ball every five days without fail. Arroyo’s made no fewer than 29 starts the last 10 years and since 2005, the only time he failed to reach 200 innings was in 2011 where he threw 199 innings. He’s also posted an ERA between 3.74 and 3.88 in 4 of the last 5 seasons. He should still be able to repeat over the next year or two.

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Roger is a lifelong Mets fan since 1981, now married with kids and still knows that there is no such thing as a bad day at the ballpark with your child. Growing up, he wanted to be either the Second Baseman for the Mets - or their statistician. Follow him at @BigMetsFan1. email him at metsfanontwitter@aol.com
  • Justin Anthony

    Lots of good starting pitchers left on the market. I think the Yankees will sign Tanaka. The Twins will sign Arroyo. The Angels will sign Garza. The Mariners will sign Santana. And the Orioles will sign Jimenez

  • I agree with you on Tanaka an Arroyo, but I have a feeling that the Dodgers get Garza, the Cubs get Jimenez and Santana goes to the Orioles.

  • Captain America

    Will the Angels pull the rabbit out of the hat again (pujols, Hamilton, tanaka)?

    Each time as a stealth team…

  • Lotus1209

    I remember a post about Ubaldo a couple of years back titled “What could have been?” Apparently, The Mets could have signed him for a few more bucks if they wanted to, well it’s safe to say at this point that while had a lot of potential he didnt really live up to it.

  • Lotus1209

    Santana sounds like a perfect pitcher to go to the Pirates.. but they have a filled rotation at this point. Unless… AJ really decides to retire.

  • Bail4Nails

    I hope the Yankees get Tanaka, and as a result, don’t go after Aledmys Diaz. I also hope Arizona gets none of these FA Pitchers. I would like Owings still an option for us, in case the Mets don’t spend money on Diaz or Drew. I desperately hope all of these 3 options are in Sandy’s plans this coming month.

  • Benny

    Actually it wasn’t about money at all. Ubaldo was offered a contract by the Mets, but his parents turned it down because they wanted him to finish school.

  • Alex68 (Ch)

    Instead of colon, I was hoping for Santana, but his price range is just crazy. ? Teams are afraid of guys coming off career year right after they hit free agency

  • Lotus1209

    Ahh was that the reason? Ahh yes I confused the Cano situation with this.

  • Name

    I think the Cubs will get Tanaka, the Yankees will get Garza, and the Angels will sign Santana. The Yankees don’t exactly go for the youngest of the bunch….

  • And each time they didn’t get the payoff they were hoping for.

  • Lotus1209

    At this point its almost impossible the Yankees dont get Tanaka.

    Cubs will get Jimenez IMO. Angels sign Garza and Santana goes to the Orioles.

  • Benny

    Must be frustrating…

  • Alex68 (Ch)

    At least they try… meanwhile our FO waits 3 years to clear payroll, only to waist it right back on garbage like Colon and CY

  • Captain America

    Did the ’92 Mets “try” ?

  • Charley’s Twin

    tanaka has thrown an awful lot of innings for someone with no MLB experience…would be wary of signing this guy (if we didn’t root for a yard-sale team)

  • MLBGM Fire TC

    I hope he desides to take the mets offer lol

  • There was a time when I wanted the Mets to sign Tanaka, and then trade Syndergaard for the best young bat they could find. Baez, Profar, heck Buxton…Minnesota is starved for pitching aren’t they?? I’m dreaming, I know. But while I love Syndergaard, I would gladly take Tanaka and any one of those three over any scenario where it’s just Syndergaard with the Mets. Oh well. If only we weren’t a team with a lack of resources and a lack of creativity and ingenuity in the front office.

  • Jack

    Tanaka is a start for the Yanks because he is young but they need more than him to fill out the remainder of their rotation. Mets seem to have that problem figured out once Harvey returns in 2015 and the rotation usually gives the team success