Looking for bargain starting pitchers
By Beau Eastes
The White Sox just picked up Derek Holland on a one-year, $6 million deal. What other affordable starters are still out there?
As we’ve discussed before, the Royals have some question marks at the back end of their rotation. Jason Vargas is set to open the year as Kansas City’s fourth starter while the No. 5 spot appears to be open for competition. Earlier this offseason manager Ned Yost said he could see veteran Chris Young and rookie Matt Strahm battle for the final spot in the rotation.
Ideally, the Royals will sign a veteran like Holland looking to have a bounce-back season to compete for one of those two spots as well.
Here’s a few options that are still unsigned:
Hyeon-jong Yang, 28, LHP
Yep, he appeared on our original list of free-agent bargains and he’s still available.
A 10-year veteran out of Korea, Yang has been trying to get to the states since at least 2014.
He had a bit of down year in 2016, going 9-11 with a 3.58 ERA. In 2015, though, Yang went 15-6 with a 2.44 ERA. He was also recently selected to compete for Korea in this spring’s World Baseball Classic.
Yang allegedly has four pitches, including a fastball that tops out at 95 mph. Scouts have projected him as a No. 3 guy in the rotation, possibly No. 2.
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Jhoulys Chacin, 28, RHP
A 14-game winner for the Rockies in 2013, Chacin owns a career 3.94 ERA over 842.2 big league innings.
He went a combined 6-8 with a 4.81 ERA for Atlanta and the Los Angeles Angeles last season and even pitched a bit out of the bullpen. His last four starts of 2016 he allowed just two runs over 24 innings.
Brett Anderson, 28, LHP
A lean, mean ground-ball machine, Anderson missed most of 2016 after back surgery. He went 10-9 and tossed 180.1 innings for the Dodgers in 2015, though, and owns a respectable 3.86 career ERA over his eight-year career.
Not much of a swing-and-miss guy – he recorded just 116 strikeouts in those 180.1 innings in 2015 – Anderson could benefit from a quality defense like Kansas City’s as much as anyone. Unfortunately, he’s on almost everyone’s list as a low-risk, high-reward type signing.
Tyson Ross, 29, RHP
After going 13-14 with a 2.81 ERA and 195 strikeouts in 195.2 innings for San Diego in 2014, Ross was pegged as an emerging ace.
He was solid but not spectacular in 2015, going 10-12 with a 3.26 ERA and 212 strikeouts in 196 innings. Ross missed almost all of last season, though, after having a thoracic outlet syndrome procedure – same issue Luke Hochevar had – and could be a question mark to open the season in uniform for whoever signs him this offseason.
He’s on this list as San Diego surprisingly non-tendered him earlier this month.
Ross has one of the highest ceiling’s of any starter still on the open market. When healthy, the 6-foo-5, 240-pound right-hander has top of the rotation stuff. In 670 innings as a big leaguer, Ross has averaged 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings.
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So, who should the Royals sign?
The above candidates could all be likely had on short-term deals as they’re hoping to reestablish themselves as Major League contributors.