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Sunday 18th Feb 2018

Last week, we took a look at some of the interesting free agent hitters looking more for a new contract than work.

I guess this is because arms are so volatile that the general age of the hurlers is less than their hitting counterparts we examined last week, and there are some guys on this list I find more than interesting as fantasy investments in the future.

So, this time, let's take a peek at the hill, and see what is lurking (age is in parenthesis).

Jon Lester (30): I still want to believe that Oakland swapped for Lester figuring they would have dominant pitching and that would lead them through the playoffs, as opposed to Billy Beane being worried that if say the Angels copped the southpaw from the Red Sox that Oakland would have to face their nemesis. I guess I understand the trade, anyway, but I doubt Lester will be back in Oakland save starting for some opposition. Still, he is very good, and should command a four-year plus deal to lead a rotation somewhere. He is the kind of #2 starter I love in a mixed league for $20.

James Shields (32): Poor James. He is another one of those workhorse guys who cannot seem to win a game in the spotlight, so his resume bears a bit of tarnish as a result. However, this is also a guy who averages 14 wins, 227 innings, a 3.72 ERA and 1.22 WHIP over the past nine years. He deserves a deal a la Lester, and again, if I can get him around $18 as a #2 (or spend $35 on both Lester and Shields), I am a happy camper.

Brandon McCarthy (31): Talk about ups and downs in a career (I was at the game when McCarthy got beaned by a liner). Well, last year pretty much defined his career, as McCarthy was 3-10, 5.01 with Arizona over 109.6 frames, then 7-3, 2.89 over 90.3 innings with the Yankees. When he is on, he is pretty good, and I think the lanky (he is 6'7") guy is over the trauma of the beaning. And, I think he will be a bargain whether he re-signs with the Yanks, or if you can grab him for $7 or $8.

Jake Peavy (33): Peavy is sort of the NL's answer to McCarthy in the sense that he was 1-9, 4,72 for the BoSox over 124 innings, then 6-4, 2.17 over 74.3 innings after returning to the NL West. He is a nice fit in San Francisco, and I would not be surprised to see the former Cy Young recipient stay at AT&T. He'll get a two-year deal with an option somewhere, and will be a solid fourth starter on your roto team for around the same cost as McCarthy (and they both will be worth it).

Francisco Liriano (31): If you read my mate the Drook's Friday article, then you know Liriano had the best whiff rate in the Majors last year. It is true he has durability issues, but last year Liriano whiffed 175 over 162.6 innings, but I am thinking with age and experience come pitching smarts and that his best years are ahead. Because of the potentially fragile nature of Liriano, I suspect he won't get the four years he seeks, but he will be good, and another fantasy bargain.

Edinson Volquez (31): Volquez re-established himself last year much like Chris Young the pitcher with the Mariners. He put up the most innings he has tossed since 2008 when he threw 196 frames for the Reds (17-6, 3.21). Did you notice though that the righty was 13-7, 3.04 with a 1.23 WHIP last year? Undervalued is written all over him.

Brett Anderson (26): Crapshoot city for a guy who has only tossed 494 innings over the past six years. But, he has a 3.73 ERA and 1.285 WHIP over that span, and probably has a Rich Harden year of 190 innings and some deadly numbers in there somewhere. One year with an option, maybe, and a reserve pick for your roto team. But, could be pay-dirt with a guy who is talented and brittle and to this point, disappointing and tempting at best.

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