Let’s sign a starting pitcher!

The Gray Eagle

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 1, 2001
15,283
There are several ways to improve last year’s lousy pitching. Signing a free agent starting pitcher is one obvious one.

This thread is about the starters available as free agents, who they are, and whether the Red Sox might be interested in them. These quick profiles include the basic numbers from this past year, the “Marcel” projections for next year, and info primarily from Aaron Gleeman’s recent look at free agent pitchers for The Athletic, and the free agent preview on MLB Trade Rumors. EDIT: And now Fangraphs' Steamer projections as well.

The Red Sox starting pitching situation is up in the air right now, with Eovaldi, Wacha, and Hill all free agents, Sale being a huge injury question mark, Paxton back on the roster, Bello and maybe a couple other guys possible internal solutions, along with Houck and Whitlock. We might sign 2 free agent starters, or none. The available free agents include a lot of any mid-rotation guys, which the Sox could use. (I would like Whitlock and Houck to be in the bullpen this year, but it looks like that might not be happening, and that topic is for another thread.)

EDIT: From Jen McCaffery on The Athletic about qualifying offers:
The Red Sox went over the luxury tax threshold and will forfeit a second- and fifth-round pick as well as $1 million in international bonus pool money for signing a QO free agent. The penalty is a bit steeper this time around. The Red Sox will, of course, receive a fourth-round pick if any of their free agents that are extended qualifying offers (Eovaldi and Bogaerts) sign elsewhere.
This year’s free agent starters are headlined by two big-name vets, Verlander and Kershaw, who are likely to be offered really good deals to stay where they are, and I don’t see any way Boston outbids their current teams or anyone else to sign any of them, so I am ignoring them in this thread.
Here are the other possibilities:

Jacob DeGrom:
RHP, will be 35 in June. 5-4, 3.08 in 64 IP this year, 2.13 FIP, 126 ERA+.
Marcel the Monkey” projection for 2023: 7-5, 2.85 in only 101 IP.
Steamer: 13-7, 2.62 in 168 IP, 2.33 FIP.
MLB Trade Rumors:
When healthy, deGrom is the best pitcher on the planet. His fastball regularly pushes triple-digits, and he backs it up with a power slider that averaged an absurd 92.6 MPH this past season. No pitcher comes close to matching deGrom’s ability to miss bats, and the two-time Cy Young winner has never posted a single-season ERA higher than 3.53… He’ll hit the market with some concerns about his durability. He missed over a full calendar year between July 2021 and this past August due to various arm issues. After battling elbow discomfort late last season, he lost the first half of the 2022 campaign to a stress reaction in his scapula (shoulder blade). deGrom returned brandishing the same otherworldly raw stuff and finished the season healthy, but between the truncated 2020 schedule and the various ailments the past two years, he’s made just 38 combined starts since the start of 2020.
The Athletic says:
DeGrom seems certain to join Max Scherzer ($43 million) and Gerrit Cole ($36 million) as the only pitchers making more than $35 million per season, but how many years will even the biggest-payroll teams be willing to hand a soon-to-be 35-year-old with 156 innings the past two seasons? No one compares on a per-start basis, so we’re about to find out how front offices weigh risk versus reward.
He got a Qualifying Offer, so we would lose draft picks and international money if we sign him.
Jen McCaffrey's guess at his contract:
He is likely to get a three-year deal worth at least $40 million per year.
The only thing DeGrom doesn’t offer is predictability. He hasn’t exactly been an innings-eater lately and is old. The Red Sox could definitely use his top end talent, but they have so many question marks already, it might not be wise to tie up a huge chunk of payroll in another guy with health question marks.
B-R nicknames: DeGrominator or DeGOAT.

Carlos Rodon:
LHP, will turn 30 in December. 14-8, 2.88 in 178 IP, 2.25 FIP, 140 ERA+.
Marcel projection for 2023: 12-8, 3.06 in 162 IP.
Steamer: 12-9, 3.19 in 175 IP, 2.99 FIP.
MLB Trade Rumors:
Rodon had a breakout 2021 season with the White Sox, pitching to a 2.37 ERA while striking out 34.6% of opponents. He missed a few weeks late that summer with shoulder soreness, though, and his velocity was down a few ticks when he made his return. It earned him an All-Star nod and a fifth-place Cy Young finish, but there seemed enough trepidation about the health of his shoulder he didn’t find a long-term deal to his liking. The southpaw bet on himself, signing a two-year deal with the Giants that allowed him to opt out after the first season. His season in San Francisco was arguably even better than his final year on the South Side of Chicago. Rodon avoided the injured list (aside from a season-ending stint related to a pre-planned innings limit) and made a career-high 31 starts.
From The Athletic, Jen McCaffrey's guess at his contract:
He’s projected to get a deal around five years for $130-$150 million.
He got a Qualifying Offer, so we would lose draft picks and international money if we sign him.
Rodon was roommates at NC State with Trea Turner. How did they not win the College World Series? Maybe they will team up again on the Red Sox.
Gleeman on The Athletic says:
Rodón is a 30-year-old lefty with a mid-90s fastball and a filthy slider coming off back-to-back Cy Young-caliber seasons, and if anything he’s been healthier recently than many free-agent starters. Last offseason, Robbie Ray and Kevin Gausman got five-year deals worth $115 million and $110 million, respectively. That should be the baseline for Rodón unless the injury-prone label intercedes.
B-R nickname: Los, short for Carlos. Not very creative. Why not Rodan?

Kodai Senga (Japanese free agent):
RHP, will be 30 in January. 104-51, 2.24 ERA in 1340 career IP in Japan. 1486 K with 509 walks.
MLB.com profile:
While Senga’s NPB stats are outstanding, the number that MLB teams are likely to be most interested in is 101.9: reportedly the peak velocity Senga reached in 2022. According to a scouting report from Sports Info Solutions’ Mark Simon in 2019, Senga saw his average fastball velocity jump to 95-96 mph (from 92 mph previously) during the 2019 season while routinely touching 98-99 mph.
The Athletic says:
His relatively high walk rate is a potential red flag, but Senga’s raw stuff is billed as excellent, with a high-90s fastball that reaches triple digits, a very good forkball and two usable breaking balls. Some scouting reports on Senga suggest his best chance to dominate in MLB could be as a two-pitch reliever, and perhaps that will become a fallback plan if his control issues are difficult to overcome, but enough teams likely view him as a starter to receive big long-term offers.
Jen McCaffrey's guess at his contract:
Bloom spoke highly of Senga at the GM Meetings, calling him an impressive arm. He is projected to earn a four- or five-year deal around $55-$65 million.
Senga throws a low-90s cutter and a low-80s slider. His fastball touched 101.9 MPH this year. His forkball has been called devastating, and has been nicknamed the Ghost Fork:
View: https://twitter.com/PitchingNinja/status/1423975475890827265?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1423975475890827265%7Ctwgr%5E214bff48569941ee5617671cb2b7cf3c9009b344%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cbssports.com%2Fmlb%2Fnews%2Fjapanese-star-pitcher-kodai-senga-expected-to-consider-mlb-offers-this-offseason-per-report%2F


Chris Bassitt:
RHP, will turn 34 in February.
Marcel: 12-7, 3.40 in 167 IP.
Steamer: 11-11, 4.03 in 193 IP, 3.96 FIP
Bassitt turned down a $19m mutual option for next year after going 15-9, 3.42 in 181.2 IP. Since missing all of 2017, he’s gone 44-23, 3.29, 3.77 FIP, 125 ERA+ in 594 IP for Oakland and the Mets.
The Athletic says:
Chris Bassitt totaled just 191 big-league innings in his 20s, but since returning from Tommy John surgery in 2018 he’s quietly been one of MLB’s best starters… Bassitt lacks high-end stuff, instead relying on a deep pitch mix led by a 92-94 mph sinker to generate grounders while his four-seam fastball, cutter, slider and curveball each miss a fair amount of bats. His walk and strikeout rates are good, not great, but he limits damage by being hard to square up, allowing fewer than one homer per nine innings each of the past three seasons.
He got a Qualifying Offer, so we would lose draft picks and international money if we sign him.
Jen McCaffrey's guess at his contract:
Bassitt is expected to land a deal in the range of three years and $50-60 million, a more affordable pitcher compared to Rodon, but less dominant.
B-R nickname: C-Bass. Why not Bassitt Hound?

Nathan Eovaldi:
RHP, will be 33 in Feb. 6-3, 3.87 in 109 IP this year.
Marcel: 8-6, 3.86 in 133 IP.
10-9, 3.89 in 155 IP, 3.83 FIP.
Like Bassitt, he missed all of 2017. Since then, he’s gone 29-22, 4.08, 3.79 FIP, 111 ERA+ in 518 IP. The Athletic says: “He started just eight of Boston’s last 105 games, allowing 27 runs in 41 innings as his average fastball velocity dipped from 96.8 mph in April and May to 94.1 mph in August and September. Eovaldi has always been one of MLB’s hardest-throwing starters, so it’s unclear if he can remain a front-line arm throwing 93-95 instead of 96-98. He’s become a strike-throwing machine in his 30s, with just 1.6 walks per nine innings since 2020, but command lapses within the zone have turned into homers. If the velo doesn’t return, his splitter and curveball will need to do a lot of heavy lifting.” He likes Boston, said he’d like to come back, but will all come down to money and years. Sox could offer him a QO, but it’d be better if they could get him to sign for 2 or 3 years for less per season. Likely Eovaldi’s last chance for a big contract, so he might want more. B-R Nicknames: Nitro, Evo. Should be Big Nate, Nate the Great, or Nathan For You.

Noah Syndergaard:
RHP, will be 30 in late August. 10-10, 3.94 with 2 teams. 134 IP. 3.83 FIP, 103 ERA+.
Marcel: 8-9, 3.83 in 126 IP.
Steamer: 8-10, 4.62 in 153 IP, 4.37 FIP
Came back from Tommy John and was decent, but his velocity did not come back. The Athletic says:
Once the majors’ hardest-throwing starter, Syndergaard’s fastball was missing 4-5 mph, and as a result his go-to changeup lost effectiveness when paired with a pitch that was 93-95 instead of 96-98… That version of Thor lacks upside beyond a mid-rotation starter, but pounding the strike zone and keeping the ball on the ground is certainly a viable recipe for success in that realm. Syndergaard got a one-year, $21 million contract from the Angels last offseason and that level of annual salary is surely out of the question now, but some teams may still be willing to bet on his velocity returning.
Nickname: Thor.

Jose Quintana:
LHP, will be 34. Had a surprisingly good year, especially after being traded to the Cardinals. 6-7, 2.93 in 165 IP and 2.99 FIP, 137 ERA+.
Marcel: 5-7, 3.73 in 140 IP.
Steamer: 10-10, 3.99 in 164 IP, 3.98 FIP.
Only made $2 million last year.
The Athletic:
While he’s generally done a good job limiting homers in the past, eight homers in 32 starts simply isn’t sustainable, especially attached to a neutral ground-ball rate. That doesn’t mean Quintana hasn’t legitimately resurrected his career, but rather that expecting him to be more than a quality mid-rotation starter would probably be a mistake requiring his low-90s fastball to remain damage-proof.
Nickname: Q, or Lelo.

Carlos Carrasco:
RHP, will turn 36 in March. The Mets have club option on him for $14 million. Seems like they would opt to keep him. They haven’t picked it up yet, but have until Thursday to do so. Went 15-7, 3.97 in 152 IP this year. 3.53 FIP, 97 ERA+. Marcel: 10-8, 4.12 in 142 IP. Nickname: Cookie.
EDIT: the Mets picked up his option, so he is OFF the market.

Sean Manaea:
LHP, will be 31 in Feb. 8-9, 4.96 in 158 IP. 4.53 FIP, 75 ERA+.
Marcel: 9-9, 4.33 in 156 IP.
Steamer: 9-9, 4.05 in 154 IP, 4.00 FIP.
The Athletic:
Sean Manaea’s go-to changeup failed him in 2022, turning his lone season with San Diego into a mess after six solid years in Oakland. As usual, the left-hander used the pitch nearly a third of the time versus right-handed batters, but instead of neutralizing them, his changeup got clobbered for a .528 slugging percentage compared to .305 the previous three years. He had a 4.96 ERA in 158 innings. Teams convinced they can fix Manaea’s changeup likely view him as a solid mid-rotation option, but below-average velocity and middling control leave little margin for error if they’re wrong. Manaea has benefited from pitcher-friendly home ballparks in both Oakland and San Diego. His career ERA is 3.68 at home and 4.45 on the road, with a 20 percent increase in homers and a 25-point jump in batting average on balls in play explaining the difference. He also hasn’t been quite the same since his 2019 shoulder surgery, looking much more like a No. 4 starter than a No. 2 starter.
Nickname: Baby Giraffe. Can't beat that one.

Andrew Heaney:
LHP, will be 32. Went 4-4, 3.10 in 72 IP. 3.75 FIP, 136 ERA+.
Marcel: 6-6, 4.43 in 104 IP.
Steamer: 9-8, 3.59 in 140 IP, 3.53 FIP.
Was never very good, then was horrendous last year with the Yankees. The Dodgers seemed to fix him. Will anyone else be able to keep him effective?
The Athletic:
Clearly the Dodgers were able to unlock something in Heaney, but interested teams must now decide how much they believe in his overall improvement and how much they trust his shoulder. Reintroducing his once-decent changeup to go with the souped-up fastball-slider combo may be intriguing, although suitors betting on his breakout probably don’t want to stray far from the Dodgers’ plan.
Nickname: Heandog. Who cares anyway, he will either stay with the Dodgers and be good again, or he will go somewhere else and stink again.

Corey Kluber:
RHP, will be 37 in April. Went 10-10, 4.34 in 164 IP with Tampa. 3.57 FIP, 84 ERA+.
Marcel: 9-8, 4.20 in 150 IP.
Steamer: 9-11, 4.45 in 159 IP, 4.36 FIP.
MLB Trade Rumors says:
He posted a 4.34 ERA but walked a minuscule 3% of batters faced. Kluber’s fastball is down to around 89 MPH, but he still generated swinging strikes on more than 11% of his offerings and was adept at getting opponents to swing at pitches outside the strike zone. He has a good chance at beating last offseason’s $8MM guarantee as a result.
Meh, if all the Devil Rays could get out of him was an 84 ERA+, then there’s little chance the Red Sox would get any more out of him, or even that much.
Jen McCaffrey's guess at his contract:
The Red Sox were close to signing him each of the last two winters, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if they’re in on him again this offseason. Kluber, who turns 37 in April, owns a home in Winchester, Mass. and resides there in the winter with his family. He’s projected to earn a one-year deal worth around $10 million.
Nicknames: Klubot, Hans Kluber, or Klubes.

Tyler Anderson:
LHP, will be 33. Came out of nowhere to go 15-5, 2.57 in 178 IP with the Dodgers.
Marcel: 11-8, 3.49 in 165 IP. They need to have a separate Marcel projection of him with the Dodgers, and then a second, much, much worse one with all other teams.
Steamer: 10-11, 4.29 in 177 IP, 4.35 FIP.
The Athletic says:
Tyler Anderson came into 2022 with a career 4.62 ERA, including a 4.49 ERA the previous two years even after leaving Colorado. Far from a hot commodity last offseason, he signed a one-year, $8 million deal with the Dodgers after the lockout and made his first All-Star team at age 32, going 15-5 with a 2.57 ERA in 179 innings, including a 2.01 ERA after July 1. And yet, skepticism abounds. Only five NL starters had a lower BABIP than Anderson and two of them were rotation mates Julio Urías and Tony Gonsolin. It’s not a coincidence. As a staff, the Dodgers had a .256 BABIP. No other NL team was below .280. Anderson is better than he was before joining the Dodgers, but he’s unlikely to be as good anywhere else.
He got a Qualifying Offer, so we would lose draft picks and international money if we sign him. Please, Red Sox, do not outbid everyone and give up the picks and international money to sign this guy to a long term contract. Unless the entire Dodgers pitching coordination and coaching staff comes with him.
Jen McCaffrey's guess at his contract:
He’s projected to earn a two- or three-year deal in the $30-$50 million range, making him an affordable, solid option for the middle of the Red Sox rotation.
Nicknames: Ricky F., or Mr. Duck.

Jake Odorizzi:
RHP, turns 33 in March. Went 6-6, 4.40 in 106 IP with 2 teams. 4.28 FIP, 90 ERA+. Seems like he pretty much always has an ERA just a bit over 4.00 in fewer than 150 IP. And his Marcel projection is: 7-7, 4.24 in 123 IP. Has a player option of $12.5 million, or a $6.25m buyout. So if he is sure he can get a one-year deal of over $6m, he should opt out. Nickname: Odo, which is lame. He should be nicknamed Odor Eater, or Over Easy.
EDIT: looks like he opted in and just got traded, so he is OFF the market. No big loss.

Taijuan Walker:
RHP, will be 30. 12-5, 3.49 in 157 IP with the Mets. 3.65 FIP, 111 ERA+.
Marcel: 10-8, 3.80 in 154 IP.
Steamer: 9-10, 4.39 in 152 IP, 4.38 FIP.
The Athletic says:
Walker lacks a second above-average pitch, and his fastball got knocked around too often last season despite good velocity, but he has a deep repertoire of usable offerings and generally throws strikes. Two offseason ago, when injuries were a much bigger worry, Walker got a two-year, $20 million deal from the Mets that included a $6 million 2023 player option that became a no-brainer to decline.
The Mets did not give him a QO, so he can be signed without losing draft and international money.
Seems like his nickname should be Tie One On, but instead it’s Tai-Weezy. If he married Jameson Taillon, his name would be Taijuan Taillon.

Michael Wacha:
RHP, will be 31. Went 11-2, 3.32 with Boston in 127 IP. 4.14 FIP, 127 ERA+.
Marcel: 8-5, 4.06 in 133 IP.
Steamer: 9-10, 4.42 in 150 IP, 4.36 FIP.
He seemed to figure things out at the end of 2021, and the Sox signed him for cheap. He was really good with Boston until September, when he either came back down to earth or was tired from pitching more innings than he has in a while.
The Athletic
:
Wacha struggled for most of 2021 with Tampa Bay, but he finished on a high note with a 45-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his final 39 innings to earn a one-year, $7 million deal from Boston last offseason. Building on that success in 2022, he started 23 times with a 3.32 ERA and 104-to-31 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 127 innings for his best season since his lone All-Star year in 2015. While his fastball is far too hittable, Wacha has relied on it less and less recently while leaning more on his great changeup. His last 30 starts show some upside remains.
Nickname: Wachamole. I always assumed that’s pronounced Whack-a-mole, but maybe it’s Wacha-mole-ay, like guacamole? Wacha is a weird name. Was he named by Fozzie Bear? It’s even weirder to hear it spoken by people from Massachusetts, because it sounds like they are calling him Michael Walker.

Jameson Taillon:
RHP, will be 31. Went 14-5, 3.91 in 177 IP for NYY with a 3.94 FIP and 100 ERA+. Both seasons he pitched for the Yankees he had an exactly average ERA+ of 100.
Marcel: 11-6, 4.03 in 163 IP.
Steamer: 10-11, 4.33 in 170 IP, 4.20 FIP.
The Athletic says:
Given his non-linear career path and demonstrated ability to alter his approach, Taillon seemingly has more potential for upside than most 30-year-old veterans, but he’s also a league-average starter as is. In recent offseasons, starters like him have tended to get two- or three-year deals worth around $12 million per, but it wouldn’t be surprising if some teams value the former No. 2 pick a bit higher.
Jen McCaffrey's guess at his contract:
It wouldn’t be a flashy signing, but he could be a good fit. He’s projected to earn a three- or four-year deal in the $45-$60 million range.
Nickname: J-Mo. Pretty weak nickname for a guy named after Catholic whiskey. If he married Taijuan Walker, his name would be Jameson Walker, which sounds like a distillery.

Mike Clevinger:
RHP, will be 32. 7-7, 4.33 in 114 IP with a 4.97 FIP and 86 ERA+.
Marcel says he will be pretty much the same next year: 7-7, 4.11 in 116 IP. But that’s what happens with Marcel when a guy barely pitches in the pandemic year, then misses the next season with injury.
Steamer: 9-10, 4.44 in 151 IP, 4.40 FIP.
The Athletic:
Clevinger seemed to run out of gas in his first season back from Tommy John surgery, allowing 34 runs in his final 54 regular-season innings before two awful playoff starts. However, before things unraveled he was looking a lot like his pre-surgery self, averaging 94.1 mph on his fastball and posting a 3.13 ERA with 59 strikeouts through 60 innings. Clevinger turns 32 in December and this was his second Tommy John surgery, so the front-line, bat-missing starter with a 3.20 career ERA for Cleveland may be gone for good, but it seems natural to think he could be a solid mid-rotation option another year removed from surgery. He feels like a prime candidate for a one-year deal to reestablish his value and re-enter the market next offseason.
Nickname: Sunshine, apparently after the character from “Remember the Titans.” Seems like Cleaver would be a better nickname, and could lead to other even better nicknames, like Beaver and/or The Pork Store Killer.

Rich Hill:
LHP, will continue to be old, and then be even older. Went 8-7, 4.27 this past year in 124 IP. 3.92 FIP, 98 ERA+.
Marcel: 7-8, 4.11 in 138 IP.
Steamer: 6-6, 4.39 in 94 IP, 4.39 FIP.
Has said he’d like to pitch in the World Baseball Classic and might not sign till after that. SOSH nickname: Dick Mountain. B-R also lists “Field of Genes” as a nickname, which is a reference to the great charity that Hill runs.

Johnny Cueto:
RHP, will be 37. Went 8-10, 3.35 in 158 IP with a 3.79 FIP and 118 ERA+.
Marcel: 8-9, 3.87 in 149 IP.
Steamer: 8-10, 4.68 in 152 IP, 4.62 FIP.
The Athletic says:
Wasn’t added to the active roster until May 16, at which point he started every fifth game for the next five months and finished with a 3.35 ERA in 158 innings. Was 4th in the AL in IP after mid-May, which is remarkable for a 36-year-old who hadn’t topped 150 innings since 2016. His velocity tank is empty, but he’s a master at keeping hitters off balance with a five-pitch mix and varied deliveries, avoiding walks and hard contact while getting chases outside the strike zone.
Could he be a poor man’s version of Luis Tiant for a year or two? Just saying, Tiant went 26-16, 3.60 with a 115 ERA+ in his age 37 and 38 seasons. Nickname: Johnny Beisbol.

Martin Perez:
LHP, will be 32. Somehow went 12-8, 2.89 in 196 IP after leaving Boston for the Rangers. 3.26 FIP, 136 ERA+.
Marcel: 10-9, 3.57 in 164 IP.
Steamer: 11-12, 4.18 in 191 IP, 4.15 FIP.
We’ve seen him here before. Had a shockingly effective season this time, due mostly to an unsustainable HR rate. He would be a good innings eater if he cost the same as in 2020 and 2021, but not worth what he’ll probably get offered after this contract year.
He got a Qualifying Offer, so we would lose draft picks and international money if we sign him. No thanks!
Nicknames: El de Guanare (“The one from Guanare”) or El de las Matas (“The one with the bushes”?? Is he a big fan of George W and George HW?? Is he from Kennebunkport??)

Chris Archer:
RHP, will be 34. Wow, I thought he was 3 or 4 years younger than that. The Twins declined their $10M option on him after he went 2-8, 4.56 in 102 IP with a 5.02 FIP and 83 ERA+.
Marcel: 4-8, 4.30 in 113 IP.
Steamer: 7-8, 4.73 in 114 IP, 4.66 FIP.
MLB Trade Rumors says:
His days as an upper mid-rotation arm are behind him, but he could find another big league contract as a back-of-the-rotation type.
Nickname: Flaco Fuerte, or Skinny Strong. Why not Sterling Archer?

Shintaro Fujinami (Japanese pitcher will be posted):
RHP, will be 29 in April.
From his Wikipedia page:
Listed at 6‘6” and 220 lbs. With a three-quarters delivery, he throws a fastball topping out at 101 mph, a splitter, and a solid mid-80's slider. He mostly uses his fastball-slider combination in games.
From MLB trade rumors:
All of this seems to make Fujinami a high-risk, high-reward possibility for teams in free agency. On the one hand, he has hit 162 km/h (101 mph) with his fastball and has been elite in the past. Despite his decade-long track record, he’ll be just 29 years old next season. On the other hand, he has struggled so badly in recent years that the Tigers haven’t let him be anything more than a depth arm since 2016. There is likely to be a wide variance in how he is viewed by MLB clubs, with some completely uninterested and others willing to take a chance on his arsenal with the aim of helping him harness his tools. Once he is formally posted, there will be a 30-day window where MLB clubs can negotiate with his representatives. If a deal is reached, the signing team will also owe money to the Tigers, with that amount being relative to the size of the contract given to Fujinami. Any big league team that signs him would owe the Tigers a fee equal to 20% of the contract’s first $25MM, 17.5% of the next $25MM and 15% of any dollars thereafter.
Might be worth a shot since he hits 101 with the heater. Maybe would be a good reliever?
Nickname apparently is “The Yu Darvish of Naniwa,” which is clunky in English. Since he is tall, maybe Mount Fujinami, or Fuji-san?

Ross Stripling:
RHP, will be 33. 10-4, 3.01 in 134 IP, with a 3.11 FIP, 129 ERA+. Really good year, especially being in the AL East.
Marcel: 8-6, 3.84 in 129 IP.
Steamer: 9-10, 4.31 in 147 IP, 4.24 FIP.
The Athletic says:
Stripling’s low-90s fastball and lack of a swing-and-miss breaking ball are why he hasn’t been handed full-time rotation spots, but he’s got a 3.86 ERA in 104 career starts, including a 3.77 ERA in 45 starts for Toronto and a 3.93 ERA in 59 starts for Los Angeles. His mistakes tend to get crushed for homers, but he throws strikes and keeps left-handed hitters off balance with a good changeup.
From MLB Trade Rumors:
Had a 3.01 ERA in 134 1/3 frames, with 24 of his 32 appearances coming as a starter. Stripling has a below-average strikeout rate but showed elite command in 2022. He probably won’t replicate a 3.7% walk rate, but his career 5.7% mark shows that his plus command is real. He has a strong case for a full-time rotation job somewhere in free agency.
Will Ross go on a break from the Blue Jays?
Jen McCaffrey's guess at his contract:
Stripling has split his career between starting and relieving so he could be a solid option for a Red Sox rotation in need of depth. He could earn a two- or three-year deal in the $20-$30 million range.
B-R nickname: Chicken Strip. Should have gone with “Stripper”.
 
Last edited:

Tokyo Sox

Baka Gaijin
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Feb 16, 2006
5,560
There
Kodai Senga (Japanese free agent) RHP, will be 30 in January. 104-51, 2.24 ERA in 1340 career IP in Japan. 1486 K with 509 walks. MLB.com profile: “While Senga’s NPB stats are outstanding, the number that MLB teams are likely to be most interested in is 101.9: reportedly the peak velocity Senga reached in 2022. According to a scouting report from Sports Info Solutions’ Mark Simon in 2019, Senga saw his average fastball velocity jump to 95-96 mph (from 92 mph previously) during the 2019 season while routinely touching 98-99 mph.”
The Athletic says: “His relatively high walk rate is a potential red flag, but Senga’s raw stuff is billed as excellent, with a high-90s fastball that reaches triple digits, a very good forkball and two usable breaking balls. Some scouting reports on Senga suggest his best chance to dominate in MLB could be as a two-pitch reliever, and perhaps that will become a fallback plan if his control issues are difficult to overcome, but enough teams likely view him as a starter to receive big long-term offers.”
Senga throws a low-90s cutter and a low-80s slider. His fastball touched 101.9 MPH this year. His forkball has been called devastating, and has been nicknamed the Ghost Fork on Twitter:

Shintaro Fujinami (Japanese pitcher will be posted) RHP, will be 29 in April.
From his Wikipedia page: “Listed at 6‘6” and 220 lbs. With a three-quarters delivery, he throws a fastball topping out at 101 mph, a splitter, and a solid mid-80's slider. He mostly uses his fastball-slider combination in games.“ From MLB trade rumors: “All of this seems to make Fujinami a high-risk, high-reward possibility for teams in free agency. On the one hand, he has hit 126 km/h (101 mph) with his fastball and has been elite in the past. Despite his decade-long track record, he’ll be just 29 years old next season. On the other hand, he has struggled so badly in recent years that the Tigers haven’t let him be anything more than a depth arm since 2016. There is likely to be a wide variance in how he is viewed by MLB clubs, with some completely uninterested and others willing to take a chance on his arsenal with the aim of helping him harness his tools. Once he is formally posted, there will be a 30-day window where MLB clubs can negotiate with his representatives. If a deal is reached, the signing team will also owe money to the Tigers, with that amount being relative to the size of the contract given to Fujinami. Any big league team that signs him would owe the Tigers a fee equal to 20% of the contract’s first $25MM, 17.5% of the next $25MM and 15% of any dollars thereafter.” Might be worth a shot since he hits 101 with the heater. Maybe would be a good reliever?
Nickname apparently is “The Yu Darvish of Naniwa,” which is clunky in English. Since he is tall, maybe Mount Fujinami, or Fuji-san?
Quick correction on the Fujinami blurb -- I know the error was in the source material and not yours, but 101mph is 162kph, not 126.

Anyway just for some color on these two guys:
I think Senga is a legit starter. He throws gas, and the splitter is devastating. He has been well known to scouts for years, and I think there will be no shortage of starter-level offers for him. In the MLB forum FA Prediction thread the guesses for his deal ranged from 4/12.5 (total!) to 5/105. Quite a range of AAV guesses; my own guess is something like 4/60 or 5/75. He is an international Free Agent, so there will be no posting process.

Fujinami I think is likely better used as a bullpen arm, hopefully on a team that can help him with the control issues. The part about "some completely uninterested and others willing to take a chance on his arsenal with the aim of helping him harness his tools" is spot on, imho. When he was drafted in 2012 in the same draft class as Ohtani, he was actually more sought after (though that was in part because most teams thought Ohtani was going directly to the US), and went to the Tigers in the 1st round. Then the Tigers did absolutely nothing to develop him, protect him, or manage his workload. He threw twice as many innings as a 19yo than Ohtani. I think I've mentioned this here before but a few years ago I saw him make his first start of the season on a cold drizzly early April night at Jingu, and although he was clearly gassed around 90 pitches, he went on to throw over 140. Just criminal usage by the Tigers.

A guy called Yakyu Cosmopolitan on Twitter is, imho, putting out the best NPB content in English these days and yesterday released a video on Senga & Fujinami (and Masataka Yoshida):
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dobhf35uyg


At 2:11 Senga K's some guy on Team Netherlands named Bogaerts.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 13, 2021
6,703
Taillon seems interesting to me. Young, durable, division tested. Not high profile but pretty solid. Signing him to a 3 year / $40ish type deal seems moderately appealing. With all the high risk high reward starters under control, someone like this could help.
 

Minneapolis Millers

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
4,335
Twin Cities
I was thinking similarly on Verlander, but if he were a lock to stay in HOU, wouldn’t they have worked out an extension already? The Astros have cut bait on Springer and Correa and have a ton of pitching. If Verlander gets 3 year offers or a Scherzer+ AAV, I could easily see HOU walking away. I’m not saying BOS will be the last team standing in one of those scenarios, but you can squint and see it.

Separately, the range of options on this list tells me we won’t extend a QO to Wacha. EO? Maybe. $20M isn’t a bargain for him, even on a one year deal, but it’s reasonable. I’d put the chances at 55/45. I think Chaim probably wants to add one legit starter to the mix, so it will depend on if they intend to go after (1) someone better, like Verlander/Rodon, (b) bargain hunt, or (c) go with the devil they know. If they decide they want Eovaldi to stay, and plan to offer the QO, I think there’s also a good chance they offer a two year deal at a slightly lower AAV (say, 2/$36M).
 

BoSox Rule

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
2,288
They’ll never do jt but Just sign deGrom and Bogaerts or one of the better defensive SS if you want to make a huge splash and be competitive. If he sinks you were F’ed anyway because you rely on Sale. 3/$120.
 

The Gray Eagle

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 1, 2001
15,283
Quick correction on the Fujinami blurb -- I know the error was in the source material and not yours, but 101mph is 162kph, not 126.

Anyway just for some color on these two guys:
I think Senga is a legit starter. He throws gas, and the splitter is devastating. He has been well known to scouts for years, and I think there will be no shortage of starter-level offers for him. In the MLB forum FA Prediction thread the guesses for his deal ranged from 4/12.5 (total!) to 5/105. Quite a range of AAV guesses; my own guess is something like 4/60 or 5/75. He is an international Free Agent, so there will be no posting process.

Fujinami I think is likely better used as a bullpen arm, hopefully on a team that can help him with the control issues. The part about "some completely uninterested and others willing to take a chance on his arsenal with the aim of helping him harness his tools" is spot on, imho. When he was drafted in 2012 in the same draft class as Ohtani, he was actually more sought after (though that was in part because most teams thought Ohtani was going directly to the US), and went to the Tigers in the 1st round. Then the Tigers did absolutely nothing to develop him, protect him, or manage his workload. He threw twice as many innings as a 19yo than Ohtani. I think I've mentioned this here before but a few years ago I saw him make his first start of the season on a cold drizzly early April night at Jingu, and although he was clearly gassed around 90 pitches, he went on to throw over 140. Just criminal usage by the Tigers.

A guy called Yakyu Cosmopolitan on Twitter is, imho, putting out the best NPB content in English these days and yesterday released a video on Senga & Fujinami (and Masataka Yoshida):
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dobhf35uyg


At 2:11 Senga K's some guy on Team Netherlands named Bogaerts.
Thanks, great info. (Also, I edited that km/hr mistake.)

The video makes me want to see us sign Yoshida even more. Senga looks nasty, but I think his limited innings total and some of the other teams mentioned as being interested means we are not as likely to outbid everyone for him. Seems like if we lay out big money for a pitcher, it'd be for a guy more likely to eat innings, based on all the question marks we have on our staff. Though Bloom is always looking for future value, and if he think there would be some, he might get involved.

I hate, hate, hate the idea of us signing Heaney. But based on previous offseasons and deadlines, I expect the fanbase to be irate at some of our moves after we bring in guys who are not big names and who haven't done well recently. Like when we were all like "Hunter Renfore? He hit .140 last year!" and then "Schwarber isn't a first baseman and he's hurt!" and then "How can we let Renfroe and Schwarber leave?" and then "Wacha stinks, what a waste of money!" etc.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 23, 2009
17,626
Maine
Heaney is intriguing, but not the guy I'd want to be the top or only pitcher signed this winter. He has potential to fit into a swing role similar to Whitlock's 2021 role...covering 3-4 innings every 4-5 days out of the pen. He missed time with shoulder issues during the first half last year, but in the second half he took regular turns through the Dodger rotation. His only real flaw seems to be the stamina to pitch deep into games. He threw only 65 innings over 14 starts (just under 5 innings per start) before moving to the pen as a long man in preparation for the postseason. His final line was 16 games, 72.2 IP, 3.10 ERA, 13.6 K/9, 1.087 WHIP.
 

Daniel_Son

Member
SoSH Member
May 25, 2021
1,007
San Diego
Sign me up for Chris Bassitt. Guy's been a top-10/15 pitcher in baseball for two years now (ERA, K/9, BB/9, HR/9, GB%... etc.). The lack of home runs especially would play especially well at Fenway. Would 4/20 get it done?
 

manny

lurker
Jul 24, 2005
202
Sign me up for Chris Bassitt. Guy's been a top-10/15 pitcher in baseball for two years now (ERA, K/9, BB/9, HR/9, GB%... etc.). The lack of home runs especially would play especially well at Fenway. Would 4/20 get it done?
Assume you're saying $20 mil AAV. That probably would get it done, probably a bit of an overpay--Clemens at Fangraphs predicts 3x17 ($54 mil).
 

Beomoose

Member
SoSH Member
May 28, 2006
20,430
Exiled
Sign me up for Chris Bassitt. Guy's been a top-10/15 pitcher in baseball for two years now (ERA, K/9, BB/9, HR/9, GB%... etc.). The lack of home runs especially would play especially well at Fenway. Would 4/20 get it done?
His lack of home runs have come from doing a lot of pitching in 2 of the 5 best parks for pitchers. Looking at his BaseballSavant visualization page, I'm a bit worried that, facing AL East hitters, his flies would find a lot of Wall and the short porch in the toilet. Additionally, he doesn't miss a lot of bats even though he paints around the edges of the strike zone.
 

chawson

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 1, 2006
3,324
I wouldn't hate a Chris Bassitt signing but I don't know what we'd be getting with him that we wouldn't with (a healthy) Eovaldi, and we wouldn't be giving up a pick.

My name is Nathan Eovaldi and I graduated from one of Texas's top high schools with a really good fastball. Now I'm using my knowledge to help struggling pitchers make it in the major leagues. This is Nathan for you.

Last year the Red Sox starting rotation was decimated by injuries:
View attachment 57458
Incredible.
 

The Gray Eagle

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 1, 2001
15,283
My name is Nathan Eovaldi and I graduated from one of Texas's top high schools with a really good fastball. Now I'm using my knowledge to help struggling pitchers make it in the major leagues. This is Nathan for you.

Last year the Red Sox starting rotation was decimated by injuries:
View attachment 57458
Awesome work!

I edited the original post to add info about Qualifying Offers, and some estimates about some of these guys' expected contracts.
 

grepal

lurker
Jul 20, 2005
30
not a huge fan of the Sox going after journeymen pitchers who had a good year with the Dodgers. It is pretty well established in baseball that Dodger Stadium is one of the most pitcher friendly parks in the majors. A lot of pitchers have better numbers there than elsewhere.
 

effectivelywild

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 14, 2005
419
not a huge fan of the Sox going after journeymen pitchers who had a good year with the Dodgers. It is pretty well established in baseball that Dodger Stadium is one of the most pitcher friendly parks in the majors. A lot of pitchers have better numbers there than elsewhere.
I mean, it has a park factor of 102 so no, it's not one of the most pitcher friendly parks---it's slightly above average for hitters (Fenway, FWIW, is at 109). What you probably meant is that a lot of Dodger pitchers have had good years after signing there which they haven't necessarily replicated esewhere, which likely has more to do with their coaching staff and defense rather than the park itself.
 

NJ_Sox_Fan

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 2, 2006
9,098
NJ
deGrom - if you can sign to 2/3 year deal, it’s worth it IMO. Assuming Sale doesn’t sneeze or ride a bike or breathe too aggressively, what an incredible 1/2 that could be.
 

Minneapolis Millers

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
4,335
Twin Cities
deGrom - if you can sign to 2/3 year deal, it’s worth it IMO. Assuming Sale doesn’t sneeze or ride a bike or breathe too aggressively, what an incredible 1/2 that could be.
Boy, I love DeGrom’s talent. Who doesn’t? But I’m not sure his recent track history of less-than-stellar durability is what this Sox team needs right now. Not with Sale, Paxton, and potentially Whitlock in the rotation, too. I’d rather get Verlander, whose arm at least was perfectly healthy and still dominant last year. And I’m not sure I’d want Verlander on a 3 year deal at the AAV he’s likely to command.
 

RedOctober3829

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
52,992
deep inside Guido territory
Just make some big moves and show the fan base and more importantly the clubhouse that ownership still wants to win. That’s all I want. Re up X at least make progress if not sign Devers plus another big bat/high end starter/multiple good relievers.
 

ElcaballitoMVP

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 19, 2008
3,769
deGrom - if you can sign to 2/3 year deal, it’s worth it IMO. Assuming Sale doesn’t sneeze or ride a bike or breathe too aggressively, what an incredible 1/2 that could be.
I would be fine taking the risk on a 2/3 year deal, but I have a feeling he's going to get more than that from somebody like Texas.
 

Dewey'sCannon

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
781
Maryland
I would be fine taking the risk on a 2/3 year deal, but I have a feeling he's going to get more than that from somebody like Texas.
Yeah, I get the feeling that Texas is going to throw stupid money at deGrom, and if they can't get him (or maybe even if they do) at Rodon, Verlander or maybe Senga - like last year, I think they want two big FAs, this time for the rotation. And Steve Cohen is certainly going to open his wallet to resign deGrom or bring in a replacement for him and Bassitt. I kind of doubt the Sox want to spend stupid money on the rotation, so unless they can snag Senga, I think that any major additions to the rotation will come via trade.
 

Sad Sam Jones

Member
SoSH Member
May 5, 2017
1,699
I'm still holding out hope of the pipe dream of trading for Shane Bieber. Would we have enough in the prospect tank (Outside of Mayer)?
Nope. Cleveland won't be dealing Bieber this off-season anyway but even if they did, Mayer wouldn't carry as much weight with them as most teams. They have a plethora of middle infield prospects now battling for one future spot after Jimenez's breakout season. Casas might be interesting to them, but Bieber would take a lot more than an still unproven first baseman and most of Cleveland's best bats are already lefties.

If Cleveland was to make a major trade, Boston just doesn't seem like a match. When they do deal a star, the Guardians get immediate major league help at an area of need, and the Red Sox don't have big league ready right-handed outfielders or first basemen.

Cleveland is looking to deal at least one of Plesac or Civale. Obviously neither is a front of the rotation guy, but neither requires a serious haul. Civale is actually a pretty good twice-through-the-rotation guy (don't judge last year's numbers until you look at his game log or monthly splits).
 

jon abbey

Shanghai Warrior
Dope
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
64,903
If Cleveland was to make a major trade, Boston just doesn't seem like a match. When they do deal a star, the Guardians get immediate major league help at an area of need, and the Red Sox don't have big league ready right-handed outfielders or first basemen.
Also don't they basically always send them to the NL?
 

Sad Sam Jones

Member
SoSH Member
May 5, 2017
1,699
Or the Rangers. I don't think it's necessarily that they insist on sending them out of the league, but if Cleveland can get what they're looking for from a team they know they won't see in the AL playoffs, it's certainly an advantage.

The only people speculating about a Bieber trade are click bait writers with zero insight about the Guardians. It makes no sense to deal your ace coming off a feel-good season, when you're the favorite to win the division again and most of the youngest roster in baseball will still be making less than $1M. They have MLB ready pitchers to replace Plesac and Civale, but not Bieber replacements.

If/when Bieber is heading into his last year of team control next winter, and Daniel Espino and/or Gavin Williams is major league ready (two guys who reached AA this year and have higher ceilings than those who made their MLB debuts in 2022), then trading their ace could make sense.

Since Bieber has insisted on betting year-to-year on himself, I expect him to pass on any extension at this point, and continued success probably prices him out of the Cleveland market. However, the Guardians also finally solved their minority ownership problem earlier this year, giving the Dolans much needed cash flow after 5 years. That's a wild card in future negotiations. I have no doubt David Blitzer was a determining factor in resigning Jose Ramirez. I don't know how much he can actually help, but he'll eventually be majority owner and I don't think he wants to be branded as the cheapskate the Dolans are.