If anywhere and generally speaking, teams nowadays tend to pony up to keep what quality starting pitching they have. When they don't/can't, it's essentially for 2 different reasons, and neither of which that likely ends up playing into our hands as some best case scenario worth "waiting" for.
That's why i could never really slam Theo for Lackey, btw and for the record. The waiting game there is basically all but taking the absolute stance that you are going to live in die by the starting pitching your farm yields you, imo. As one just isn't going to find any potentially good starting pitching options in free agency nowadays that don't come with serious baggage in one form or the other (whether it be injury risk, the godly sum you had to pay out/commit to get what everybody else out there wants, ect..).
I agree with some aspects of what you're saying, but but what are these two reasons?
Regarding retaining quality pitching, I disagree. Most teams cannot afford to retain quality pitching once arbitration years are up, with the first exception being those players who are signed to long-term deals well in advance, David Price for example. The Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies are currently the three exceptions, though with little history, it's tough to know if the Phillies will remain in this tier. CJ Wilson is a much better example of the current market. Texas hardly made a good faith effort to resign him and has long since accepted that he will hit the market, despite being their best pitcher for two successive World Series runs (excluding Lee since he was acquired for the stretch). Instead they'll look to promote from within. For the handful of truly elite pitchers, the second exception, teams will make more an effort to shift money in order to be able to retain them, that's why Texas will at least make a pitch to CC, despite letting Wilson walk. Even this exception is hardly business as usual. If it was CC and Lee would still be in Cleveland.
Looking at the top 10 pitchers this year according to fWar:
Halladay - Traded and signed long-term deal prior to FA
Sabathia -Hit free agency.
Verlander - Signed long term deal 1 year after drafted.
Kershaw - Still in ARB years.
Lee - Hit free agency.
Haren - Signed long-term deal three years into major leagues.
Wilson - Will hit free agency
Weaver - Signed long-term deal w/ 2 ARB years left.
Fister -Still in ARB years.
4/10 - Hit or will hit FA
3/10 - Signed long-term contract well in advance
2/10 - Still in ARB years
1/10 - Traded and signed long-term just prior to FA
The results are similar beyond this group; guys still in ARB years, guys who were signed long-term in advance, hit free agency, or were moved and signed long-term. Few can be pointed to resigned just prior to free agency or hit the market to be resigned.
Edited by untilthebombs, 31 October 2011 - 09:45 AM.