Where Will the Top 3 Free Agent Starting Pitchers Land?

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As usual, there will be several big-name free agents available this offseason who will be looking to cash in. Agents will start bidding wars, and there will undoubtedly be teams suffering from buyer’s remorse in the next five to six months. Contracts are fully guaranteed in Major League Baseball, which greatly hinders the loyalty players have to their current clubs. Guys will be looking for the largest contracts they can find, and that often means changing teams. Here is a look at where the top three free agent starting pitchers may land this offseason.

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1.  Max Scherzer

2014 stats:

  • 220.1 innings pitched
  • 18-5 record
  • 252 strikeouts
  • 1.18 WHIP
  • 3.15 ERA
  • 33 starts

Career stats:

  • 1,239.1 innings pitched
  • 91-50 record
  • 1,321 strikeouts
  • 1.22 WHIP
  • 3.58 ERA
  • 198 starts

Scherzer took a major risk by turning down the Detroit Tigers’ six-year, $144 million offer last offseason. The risk is looking like it is going to pay off for the 30-year-old right hander, who is expected to sign a contract worth $25 million to $27 million over seven years.

The contenders:

  1. Detroit Tigers
  2. Chicago Cubs
  3. Los Angeles Dodgers
  4. Texas Rangers
  5. Chicago White Sox

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2.  Jon Lester

2014 stats:

  • 219.2 innings pitched
  • 16-11 record
  • 220 strikeouts
  • 1.10 WHIP
  • 2.46 ERA
  • 32 starts

Career stats:

  • 1,596.0 innings pitched
  • 116-67 record
  • 1,457 strikeouts
  • 1.28 WHIP
  • 3.58 ERA
  • 252 starts

The 31-year-old Lester has a big-time résumé that includes extensive postseason experience. He already turned down a four-year $70 million offer from the Red Sox before his trade to the Oakland Athletics. Like Scherzer, it looks like Lester’s gamble is going to pay off. Early reports are out that Lester will receive a contract worth $20 million to $25 million per year for five to six years.

The contenders:

  1. Boston Red Sox
  2. Chicago Cubs

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3.  James Shields

2014 stats:

  • 227.0 innings pitched
  • 14-8 record
  • 180 strikeouts
  • 1.18 WHIP
  • 3.21 ERA
  • 34 starts

Career stats:

  • 1,910.1 innings pitched
  • 114-90 record
  • 1,626 strikeouts
  • 1.22 WHIP
  • 3.72 ERA
  • 285 starts

Shields was a major part of the Kansas City Royals’ surprise run to the World Series this fall, but his services will likely be too costly for the small-market Royals to make him a market-rate offer. He is a legitimate ace and is expected to sign a five-year contract worth $15 million to $20 million per season.

The contenders:

  1. Texas Rangers
  2. Boston Red Sox
  3. New York Yankees
  4. Kansas City Royals
  5. Chicago Cubs