The free agent pitcher market continues to dwindle

It’s not even Christmas and the shelves are not nearly as stocked as they were not long ago. And no, we are not talking about a run on a popular kid’s toy, but free agent starting pitchers.

They went fast. Of the top nine pitchers, as ranked among the top 50 free agents by, just one remains. And that is one of the biggest fish in lefty Carlos Rodón, rated as the No. 6 overall free agent, but tops among the pitchers.

Where does that leave the Orioles? Well, with a much smaller pool of decent hurlers to pick from and try to sign. Barring a shocker with Rodón. 

Righty Noah Syndergaard is still out there for now. Over a seven-year career he has gone 57-41 with a 3.42 ERA and 1.176 WHIP. That is a 116 ERA+.

After rejecting the Mets' qualifying offer after the 2021 season, Syndergaard signed a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels for $21 million. But then they traded him to Philadelphia on Aug. 2 at the trade deadline.

In 25 games between the two teams last season, he went 10-10 with a 3.94 ERA. In 134 2/3 innings he allowed 138 hits with 31 walks and recorded 95 strikeouts. He yielded 1.255 WHIP and a 2.1 walk rate, recording a modest 6.3 strikeout rate and 0.9 home runs per nine innings.

Syndergaard was fourth in the 2015 National League Rookie of the Year voting and was eighth the following year for the Cy Young Award with a record of 14-9 and a 2.60 ERA.

Righty Nathan Eovaldi is also still on the market and clearly knows the AL East pretty well.

Eovaldi is a pitcher who has had three pretty good seasons for Boston when he has been able to stay off the injured list. He features a fastball with good velocity, he ranks high in chase rate and limits walks as well as about any starter out there.

Last season in 20 starts for Boston he went 6-3 with a 3.87 ERA, producing an ERA+ of 109, which is nine percent above league average. Over 109 1/3 innings, Eovaldi, who turns 33 on Feb. 13, allowed 115 hits with 20 walks and 103 strikeouts. He recorded 1.235 WHIP, giving up 9.5 hits per nine innings and 1.7 homers per nine, which is well above his career mark of 1.0 per nine. He walked 1.6 per nine with 8.5 strikeouts.

Eovaldi had some interesting metrics in producing a top 19 percent chase rate. But he was in the bottom six percent in hard-hit percentage and barrel percentage.

TradeRumors rated Eovaldi as the No. 23 free agent on its top 50 list and projected he would get a two-year deal for $34 million.

But there are several factors working against Eovaldi’s market right now. For one, he turned down a qualifying offer from Boston. So any team that signs him will have to give up a draft pick. It would cost the Orioles their third pick if they were to come to terms with Eovaldi.

Eovaldi also missed time last season with a back injury in June and a shoulder issue later in the year. When he returned from the first injury his velocity was down. He has also had two Tommy John surgeries, one in high school and one in 2019. He is well past all that now, but it’s on his resume, and coupled with last year’s issues, there have to be concerns here that this pitcher would have a hard time making 30-plus starts for any club in 2023.

Over the past three years with Boston, Eovaldi pitched to a 3.79 ERA with a below-average walk rate of 4.4 percent and above-average K rate of 24.6. And he produced a respectable 44.6 groundball rate. 

Other pitchers still available include Michael Wacha, Corey Kluber and even former Oriole Dylan Bundy.

Here is the list, from, of remaining free agent starters and their ages.

Chris Archer (34)
Kohei Arihara (30)
Dylan Bundy (30)
Johnny Cueto (37)
Zach Davies (30)
Danny Duffy (34)
Nathan Eovaldi (33)
Erick Fedde (30)
Chi Chi González (31)
Zack Greinke (39)
Rich Hill (43)
Drew Hutchison (32)
Dallas Keuchel (35)
Corey Kluber (37)
Chad Kuhl (30)
Michael Lorenzen (31)
Jordan Lyles (32)
Wade Miley (36)
Mike Minor (35)
Michael Pineda (34)
Carlos Rodón (30)
Joe Ross (30)
Aaron Sanchez (30)
Aníbal Sánchez (39)
Drew Smyly (34)
Noah Syndergaard (30)
Michael Wacha (31)

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