Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) delivers a pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays in the first inning during Game 1 of a best-of-five American League Division Series baseball game in Houston, Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Top Pitching Free Agents

The MLB offseason is in full swing and teams are eager to dip their hands in the free-agent pool. Most notably, three generational pitching talents will be hitting the market. Jacob deGrom, Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw and Carlos Rodon will be up for grabs this offseason and will line their pockets with more millions. At least one of these elite pitchers will likely be signing a record-setting deal that will set a new standard for pitchers.

They all have the capability to change the landscape of contracts for pitchers. Although, there is one caveat with all but one of these pitchers. The age and health of these pitchers are contentious, to say the least. With the exception of Carlos Rodon who is the youngest of the bunch with still much to prove in the league.

Clayton Kershaw

At the moment of writing this, MLB reporter Mark Feinsand just announced that Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers are closing in on a deal. The supposed deal is worth 21 million dollars for one year. This deal is not a surprise to many as Kershaw has been valuable to this team for the last 15 years. At 34 years old this past season, Kershaw posted a 2.28 ERA in 126 innings pitched.

In a young and dominant pitching rotation, Kershaw isn’t the soul of the rotation anymore. The Dodgers have the money and the team to stay competitive no matter what. A one-year deal might be what is best for the Dodgers at the moment. Kershaw proved he still has juice left in the tank this past season.

His role for the Dodger will likely stay the same if he can keep his pitch count the same. He does not need to be leading this team in every category anymore. His presence in the locker room has been crucial for this team for years and will look to continue for the 2023 season.

Jacob deGrom

There is not much of a question on who the best pitcher in the game is when healthy. At his best, deGrom has shown to be one of the most dominant pitchers of all time. You might think that the New York Mets pitcher would be an easy extension for the Mets. Although, his health has been a cause for concern in recent years.

deGrom has pitched only 156 innings in the last two seasons. At 34 years of age, it will be interesting how many years he will sign for. An elite pitcher who still has an electric arm but hasn’t been the most reliable ace. This past season deGrom dealt with a stress reaction on his right scapula that kept him from starting the season until the beginning of August.

He would end the season with a 3.08 ERA in 64 innings pitched. Not horrible, but showed up in his one start in the playoffs with a quality start. Rumors have come out that deGrom has an interest in the Texas Rangers as a potential landing spot. The Mets have the money to sign deGrom but health concerns and the number of years will be crucial in their decision.

Justin Verlander

Coming off of a World Series win and a potential Cy Young-caliber season, Verlander is a special case. Verlander is the oldest of the group at 39 years old. However, he looked the best out of everyone in free agency this past season. Father time has not hit Verlander in the slightest.

In 175 innings pitched, Verlander posted a 1.75 ERA in year 17. The Astros after coming off a World Series win should still be the best fit for Verlander. Although, if another contender is willing to give Verlander three years instead of one or two, who knows what could happen?

After his elite season, he could get a similar deal that Max Scherzer received last off-season. There is potential that Verlander could get a deal worth around 44 million dollars a year which would pass Scherzer if he hits that mark.

Carlos Rodon

Rodon will likely get the longest deal out of all of these pitchers due to his age alone. If you pair that with an All-Star season, it is time for Rodon to get the long-term deal he deserves. Rodon signed a 2 year deal with the San Francisco Giants last season worth over $44 million but chose to opt-out after one year.

This would make Rodon the youngest of the elite pitchers on the market that may have not even had his best season yet. Rodon pitched 178 innings this season with a 2.88 ERA. The Mets have been in rumors to get Rodon if they are not able to keep deGrom which would fit if they can agree on how many years they want Rodon under contract.

Rodon could be a wild card this off-season because of how many different rotations he will fit into. He could be another ace on an elite pitching staff as well as carry the bulk of the load on a team who is only missing an ace.

About Kevin Martinez

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