Barely any free agent starting pitchers have been signed since the offseason began, leaving the Phillies with plenty of options.
This offseason, everyone knows the Phillies need to acquire rotation help. They have several avenues to do so, one of which is free agency. The club has expressed interest in acquiring help through trade rather than through free agency, but they may still wind up having to go through the free agent market.
Surprisingly, many of the better starting pitchers that hit free agency this winter are still available here in January. The top starter to be signed according to MLB Trade Rumors’ rankings was C.C. Sabathia. Otherwise, the only notable starters to be signed were Jhoulys Chacin and Tyler Chatwood.
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Many of the top arms that were linked to Philadelphia are still available. Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn, and Alex Cobb are all still available. The Cubs appear ready to move on from Arrieta, meeting with Yu Darvish and signing Chatwood.
Meanwhile, the markets for Cobb and Lynn have come to a complete stop. Both have qualifying offers attached and Tommy John history.
Teams certainly have reason to be hesitant about handing out the deals these two are probably asking for. As we get closer and closer to spring training, their asking price will certainly fall.
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This leaves the Phils in a position where they can sign someone to a cheaper contract than they thought because of how slow this market has developed. If a potential free agent gets worried about finding a team before spring begins, they would be more willing to sign a cheaper contract or with a below-.500 team like Philadelphia.
Arrieta, Lynn, and Cobb are some of the top options still available, but some lower-end arms are also available if the Phils are just looking for someone to serve as depth. Andrew Cashner, Jason Vargas, and Wade Miley are all guys that fit this bill.
For all we know, the club could even wind up bringing back Jeremy Hellickson or Clay Buchholz. At this point in the offseason, there is still plenty of uncertainty in this market.