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2016 Free Agent Series: Pitchers

In the last installment of the 2016 free agent series, we'll review pitchers who may be on the move.

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The 2016 free agent pitching class is mix of a few fantasy studs, many back end arms, and a large pile of garbage afterwards.  Here's the list:

Starting Pitchers


Brett Anderson (28)


Brandon Beachy (29)


Chad Billingsley (31)


Clay Buchholz (31) - $13MM club option with a $245K buyout


Mark Buehrle (37)


A.J. Burnett (39)


Trevor Cahill (28) - $13MM club option with a $300K buyout


Chris Capuano (37)


Wei-Yin Chen (30)


Bartolo Colon (43)


Johnny Cueto (30)


R.A. Dickey (41) - $12MM club option with a $1MM buyout


Marco Estrada (32)


Doug Fister (32)


Gavin Floyd (33)


Yovani Gallardo (30)


Jaime Garcia (29) - $11.5MM club option with a $500K buyout


Zack Greinke (32) - can opt out of remaining three years/$71MM


Jeremy Guthrie (37) - $10MM mutual option with a $3.2MM buyout


J.A. Happ (33)


Aaron Harang (38)


Dan Haren (35)


Tim Hudson (40)


Hisashi Iwakuma (35)


Scott Kazmir (32)


Kyle Kendrick (31)


Ian Kennedy (31)


John Lackey (37)


Mat Latos (28)


Mike Leake (28)


Cliff Lee (37) - $27.5MM club/vesting option with a $12.5MM buyout


Tim Lincecum (32)


Kyle Lohse (37)


Corey Luebke (31) - $7.5MM club option with a $1.75MM buyout


Justin Masterson (31)


Brandon Morrow (31)


Bud Norris (31)


Mike Pelfrey (32)


David Price (30)


Jeff Samardzija (31)


Alfredo Simon (35)


Ryan Vogelsong (38)


Jerome Williams (34)


Chris Young (37)


Jordan Zimmermann (30)

As always, lets cover the players to drop first: Brandon Beachy, Chad Billingsley, Mark Buehrle, A.J. Burnett, Trevor Cahill, Chris Capuano, Bartolo Colon, Doug Fister, Gavin Floyd, Jeremy Guthrie, J.A. Happ, Aaron Harang, Dan Haren, Tim Hudson, Kyle Kendrick, Mike Leake, Cliff Lee, Tim Lincecum, Kyle Lohse, Corey Luebke, Justin Masterson, Brandon Morrow, Bud Norris, Mike Pelfrey, Alfredo Simon, Ryan Vogelsong, Jerome Williams, and Chris Young see ya later.  This is a mix of guys who struggled, guys who are swingmen, guys who lost their starting jobs, and pitchers who are retiring.

Then we have players who you should keep:

Brett Anderson, believe it or not he came out and pitched 168.2 innings.  Anderson has always been a solid arm when healthy, and after making it though a full season, he managed a very nice 3.52 ERA, and a 107 ERA+.  He's no ace, but when he pitches, Anderson does a fine job as his career 3.68 ERA indicates.  Another side note, he'll only be 28 on opening day in 2016.

Clay Buchholz, sadly had his season shortened by injuries, but prior to that he was playing great. His 8.5 K/9 would put him in the top 30 and his 1.83 BB/9 would tie him with #13 Chris Sale.  If your league still plays with wins, the Boston Red Sox vastly underperformed this year, and I wouldn't anticipate it happening again in 2016.  Expect Red Sox starters to accumulate more wins next season.

Wei-Yin Chen, nothing new here, second consecutive year with an ERA under 3.6 and a whip under 1.25, and looks like he'll surpass his career high innings total of 192.2 this year.

R.A. Dickey, the classic back end innings eater.  A move away from Toronto should help him get his HR/9 below 1, which it was in all his years as a Met.  The double-digit HR/FB ratios should dip after he gets out of Rogers Centre.

Marco Estrada, has had an ERA under 4 in three of the last four seasons.  I was close to putting him on the cut list, but he's a reliable MLB starter, and there's value in guys who get the job done without being flashy.

Yovani Gallardo, I thought he was getting lucky last year, and now it seems like he's getting even luckier this year.  If he comes back to earth, at least he won't be doing it in Texas or Milwaukee where the park will be a little more forgiving.

Jaime Garcia, I love me some Jaime.  He's always managed to have one elite skill to make everything work.  His strikeouts have come down recently, but his 62.4% ground ball rate is Keuchelian.  When you are inducing worm burners at that rate, you severely limit offenses ability to have blow up innings.

Hisashi Iwakuma, coming into this year I was a huge Iwakuma supporter, and he really let me down.  His early season struggles made him hard to trust, and then he hit the DL.  He's been better lately, but his history of playing hurt makes me wonder how well he'll hold up in his age 35 season.  With that said, he was very good only a year ago, so another stellar performance is a definitely possibility. He is a true high risk, high reward player.

Scott Kazmir, I love this guy.  You'd think the sheen on his comeback story would be going away, but after coming back to the bigs, he keeps getting better and better.  His Ks are slowing, but his batted ball profile is still strong.

Ian Kennedy, great peripherals, terrible results.  Give me the guy who has a K/9 over 9 next season.  The only concern to me is his poor ground ball rate.

Jon Lackey, old reliable.  He'll go out and give his team a good chance to win.  While I hate a lot of the old adages, when people dub someone a "bulldog" they are talking about the Lackey's of the world.

Mat Latos, it's scary to think I tried to acquire him early this season, but at 28, he's losing the gleam he once had.  After leaving Cincinnati, his K rate has dropped, his walks have remained the same, and his homers have gone up despite moving to two very nice pitchers parks.  The two consecutive injury plagued seasons are frightening, but there's talent there.  He's worthy of one last shot.

Jeff Samardzija, his nightmare season is almost over, and I think a move to a new stadium will be welcome by fantasy owners and White Sox fans.  A career fly ball pitcher in US Cellular was a bad idea to begin with, but his Ks regressed below 7 for the first time in his career.  As a new member of my dynasty team, this is a player I'll definitely write a more detailed report on this offseason.  Something interesting is that his velocity on all of his pitches remained within a half mile an hour of his career norms, perhaps his movement or mechanics were off, or he just didn't like Flowers and Soto.  Regardless, there needs to be an explanation as to why he had such an uncharacteristic year after multiple seasons of being a solid #2,3 fantasy starter.


There are 4 household names that will be on the move this offseason, perhaps creating one of the better pitching markets in recent memory.

Johnny Cueto, some of his peripherals this year are better than what he was doing last year in his 20 win season.  His walk rate is at a career low, leading to his best career K/BB 4.25.  His .277 babip is above his career average, and entering his age 30 season, I wouldn't expect a fall off in production for the former Reds ace.

Zach Greinke, likely returning to the Dodgers because nobody else will be able to pay him the largest free agent salary awarded in the 2016 offseason.  True ace, no research necessary.

David Price, true ace that has shown interest in returning to Toronto, obviously not ideal for fantasy numbers, but if you own him, you aren't worrying about Price.

Jordan Zimmerman, a concerning ace as his K/9, BB/9, have both gotten worse, and his HR/9 has almost doubled from last year.  Obviously a 3.68 ERA and 1.21 WHIP are great for mere mortals, but Zimmerman is expected of more.  Its interesting that his LD% dropped, and he traded medium hit balls for softly hit balls, while maintaining an identical hard hit rate to last season, and his ground ball percentage grew, and somehow had worse luck on balls in play than last year.  This leads me to believe Zimmerman was a bit unlucky with homers this year, and should return to sub 1 HR per 9 innings next season.


Lastly, we cover the redheaded step children of fantasy.  Santiago Casilla and and Soakim Soria may both reach free agency this offseason.  Casilla has a vesting option, which I do not know, and if he's asking for a lot from the Giants, they may be just as well off letting him move and running with Romo and Strickland who both have had monstrous seasons.  Soria is boring to me, and i have no interest in him.