Blue Jays: Looking ahead to the free agent pitching market

BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 31: Marco Estrada
BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 31: Marco Estrada /
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BALTIMORE, MD – SEPTEMBER 03: Brett Anderson
BALTIMORE, MD – SEPTEMBER 03: Brett Anderson /

Lower Tier options

Brett Anderson

We’ve had a first hand look at the left-hander this fall, and he’s looked pretty good overall. The issue with Anderson of course, is that he’s had a hard time staying healthy throughout his career, something the Blue Jays may shy away from. That said, he’s shown enough upside that if the price is right, there’s good reason to expect mutual interest.

For Anderson, it’ll likely come down to the opportunity that he’s presented, in addition to a guaranteed big league deal. He was signed to Toronto on a MiLB contract after having been designated by the Cubs, so he’s likely looking for a guaranteed contract, and an honest chance at winning an opening day rotation spot.

If the Blue Jays’ other options fall through and Anderson doesn’t like the market he finds elsewhere, a reunion makes some sense, for both parties.

Probability of being a Blue Jay= C+

John Lackey

Lackey is a veteran of the AL East as well, but has spent the last ___ seasons in the National League with the Chicago Cubs. He’ll be 38 next season, and it’s expected that the Cubs will move on from him and look at other rotation options for 2018 and beyond.

He’s 11-11 with a 4.62 ERA in 28 starts this season, and has provided 159.2 innings for the defending World Series champions. He’ll be 39 at the start of next season, so it’s entirely possible he calls it quits at the end of the year, but he’s probably got something to offer a big league team as well.

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He won’t be asking for a long contract, and he shouldn’t be terribly expensive either, so it’s possibility there’s a fit here. Admittedly, it feels like a pretty big long shot though.

C.C. Sabathia

I could have listed many different pitchers here, but I chose to go with Sabathia because I am mildly intrigued with him, depending on the price of course. He’s had a decent season for the Yankees, going 11-5 with a 3.85 ERA in 24 starts. During spring training it wasn’t necessarily a guarantee that he’d be in the rotation, so it’s been a nice season for the former staff ace.

His contract finally comes to an end this offseason, and he should have something to offer a big league rotation for a season or two. If the Yankees don’t bring him back on a much more club-friendly deal, it could be worth checking on the big lefty, especially if he’s still looking for a job late in the offseason.

We’re also into the lower tier options now, so this is where teams take risks, especially with aging veterans who are looking for a guaranteed job and pay cheque. If Sabathia ends up fitting that category, don’t be surprised if the Blue Jays at least ask about their long time division rival.

Other possibilities: Jaime Garcia, Jhoulys Chacin, Andrew Cashner, Hector Santiago, and more

Next: 7 reasons Otani should consider Toronto this offseason

Who did I miss? Do you think the Blue Jays will spend money on their rotation? As I said yesterday, your guess is as good as mine, so feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.