Well, left-handed pitcher J.A. Happ is getting a three-year, $36 million deal from Toronto, while Detroit has agreed with right-hander Jordan Zimmermann on a deal reportedly for five years and $110 million.
Of those two, Happ got more than I would have figured and Zimmermann actually got less. Detroit will have to give up a draft pick for signing Zimmermann, but it will be a second-round selection, as their No. 9 overall pick is protected.
Zimmermann sure could have helped the Orioles, but he’s Detroit-bound now. MLBTradeRumors.com rated Zimmermann as the No. 7 overall free agent and third pitcher behind David Price and Zack Greinke.
If the Orioles are very unlikely to be the winning bidder for Price or Greinke with Zimmermann gone, where should they turn now? Wei-Yin Chen is predicted to get a five-year deal worth $80 million and the Orioles figure to pass at that amount.
Johnny Cueto: MLBTradeRumors.com projected that the right-hander will get a five-year deal worth $115 million. On the plus side, since he was traded last season, he was not eligible for a qualifying offer and the team signing him will not lose a draft pick.
Cueto, who went 11-13 with a 3.44 ERA last year, will be 30 on opening day. He pitched to a 2.62 ERA for the Reds last season, but an ERA of 4.76 after his trade to Kansas City. But he has finished in the top four twice in the Cy Young balloting, has thrown 200-plus innings in three of the last four years and has a career 3.30 ERA and 1.181 WHIP.
Jeff Samardzija: After pitching to an ERA of 2.99 in the 2014 season, Samardzija went 11-13 with a 4.96 ERA for the Chicago White Sox in 2015 and led the majors in hits and earned runs allowed.
Samardzija is big, strong and durable, and his control has been very good the last few seasons, but he has an ERA of 4.00-plus in two of the last three seasons. He has a career 4.09 ERA and is predicted to get a five-year deal for $80 million, an amount that seems too much for me. Especially since the team signing him will also lose a draft pick.
Mike Leake: The No. 8 overall pick in the 2009 draft (the year the O’s selected Matt Hobgood No. 5), Leake went 11-10 with a 3.70 ERA and 1.161 WHIP with Cincinnati and San Francisco.
He is not tall (just 5-foor-10) and his average fastball is 90.9 mph, but he has pitched to a 3.75 ERA or less with a 190 innings or more for three straight years. He won’t strike out or walk many (2.3 walks per nine innings) and his 50.2 career groundball rate is strong.
Leake could be a sought-after pitcher as the winter goes on. He also will pitch at 28 all next season and won’t cost the signing team a draft pick.
After Price, Greinke, Zimmermann, Cueto, Samardzija, Leake and Chen, MLBTradeRumors.com ranks four other pitchers in the top 20 overall among available free agents:
No. 14: Kenta Maeda, projected to get a five-year, $60 million deal after a $20 million posting fee
No. 18: Scott Kazmir, projected to get a four-year, $52 million deal
No. 19: Ian Kennedy, projected to get a four-year, $52 million deal
No. 20: Yovani Gallado, projected to get a four-year, $52 million deal
Gallardo has already been linked to the Orioles. Both Gallardo and Kennedy turned down qualifying offers, so you have to give up a pick to get them. For the Orioles, that means parting with the No. 15 overall pick next June.
That pick potentially could be moved up a few spots if one or more teams with unprotected picks ahead of the Orioles sign a free agent that turned down a qualifying offer. Seattle has the 11th pick next June followed by Boston, Arizona and Tampa Bay.
Where should the Orioles be looking for pitchers right now?