This is the quietest winter of recent memory, and the free-agent market is still largely frozen. It is particularly unusual to see so many quality rotation arms available in an industry in which the supply of frontline pitchers never exceeds the demand.
At some point, the ice-cold offseason will thaw, and the biggest names will begin to find work, presumably before pitchers and catchers report to the sun-soaked backfields of spring training complexes.
Although bullpens have taken on a greater workload, particularly in the postseason, no player impacts a game like a starting pitcher. The top free-agent arms available are usually signed by the New Year. While part of the lack of activity is likely due to stiffer penalties for exceeding the luxury tax and part of it is perhaps because executives are more leery of free agency while keeping an eye on next year’s historic free-agent class, another part of it is caused by the growing divide between the Haves (the super teams) and the Have Nots (the rebuilding clubs).
Still, there are some teams for which a significant starting pitcher would move the needle.
Using FanGraphs’ free-agent rankings, let’s take a look at where the top four remaining free-agent starting pitchers might fit.