Phillies: Breaking down the 2020 starting pitcher market

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - AUGUST 03: Starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the MLB game at Chase Field on August 03, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Nationals 18-7. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - AUGUST 03: Starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the MLB game at Chase Field on August 03, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Nationals 18-7. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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PHOENIX, ARIZONA – AUGUST 03: Starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals walks to the dugout before the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 03, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Which starting pitchers could be available for the Phillies this offseason?

The Phillies entered the 2019 season giving their young starting pitchers one last opportunity to prove they can be major league starters. Zach Eflin, Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, and Jerad Eickhoff have all disappointed, leading to the club’s fall from grace.

All four have either been demoted to the minors or bullpen at some point this season despite having multiple opportunities to clinch a spot in the starting rotation.

While the front office focused a majority of last offseason on building a star-powered offense behind J.T. Realmuto, Bryce Harper, Andrew McCutchen, and Jean Segura, this offseason it will be all about the pitching.

There are multiple All-Star caliber starting pitchers expected to be available this offseason, whether through trade or free agency.

We’ve broken down who will be available and start with those who could opt out of their contracts to become free agents.

Player options

Stephen Strasburg

Stephen Strasburg could be the best player available on the free agent market should he decline his player option. If Strasburg declines his option he would be gambling the $85 million remaining in his contract with Washington, $40 million of which is deferred.

According to the Washington Post, “Strasburg is due $25 million in 2020 (of which $10 million is deferred), $15 million in both 2021 and 2022, and $45 million for 2023 (of which $30 million is deferred).”

Strasburg, who just turned 31, could make that money up in a new deal this offseason, but it depends on whether he wants to leave Washington and gamble the $85 million.

Yu Darvish

Yu Darvish has a lot of money remaining on his six year, $126 million deal with the Chicago Cubs, which he has not lived up to since leaving Texas. Darvish has a 4.50 ERA in 31 starts after making only eight appearances last season due to injury.

Darvish would forfeit $81 million guaranteed over the next four years, each of which are player options. He turns 33 this season and has an injury history, two things general manager didn’t touch last offseason with pitchers. It’s unlikely Darvish opts out given his age, injury history, and the money left on the table.

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