Now that Jon Lester has broken open the market for pitchers, who is next? Max Scherzer has reportedly asked for a $200 million deal, something only one other pitcher in history has received, and that’s Clayton Kershaw. James Shields hasn’t had any offers, but has garnered interest; Jake Peavy hasn’t gotten too much interest. It seemed as though everyone wanted to see where Lester would sign before seeing what their backup plan was. Don’t expect it to be like the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange, but things are about to start happening, worlds are about to start colliding. Okay, maybe it’s not that drastic, but Lester got the ball rolling, especially for teams in desperate need of pitching.
The San Francisco Giants missed out on Jon Lester; in fact, they didn’t make any deals at the winter meetings. It’s unlikely they re-sign Jake Peavy; he’s been rumored to have gotten the Cubs attention, but nothing is concrete yet. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim could also be a dark-horse to sign Peavy, but again that’s purely speculative. But it’s not like this is a weak market for pitchers, James Shields, Jake Peavy, Max Scherzer, Kenta Maeda and Hiroki Kuroda (potentially) are some very big names. Peavy, who posted an ERA of 3.73 last year still feels as though he has something to prove. At 33-years-old, the former Cy Young winner definitely still has a few years of good pitching in him.
The only team that would realistically give Scherzer $200 million is the New York Yankees, talks between Scherzer and the Tigers apparently aren’t going where and it’s unlikely he will return. Six weeks into free agency, and Scherzer hasn’t gotten an offer. The Angels, Twins, Rockies, Astros and Indians could use some pitching, especially the Rockies. Colorado isn’t far off from being a playoff team, it just depends on whether or not they want to trade Troy Tulowitzki, and or whether or not they want to sign a big name pitcher to a long-term deal. Since the Lester signing, all of the big name pitchers left in free agency have a general idea of the contract they can get, it wouldn’t be surprising if teams started to get more aggressive in the upcoming week.