MLB Free Agency: 5 Best Starting Pitchers Still Available
With football season now over, fans can turn their full attention to spring training and the start of the 2012 Major League Baseball season.
With pitchers and catchers set to report in a couple of weeks, there are still free agent pitchers looking for a team that wants their services.
Although most of the big-name starting pitchers like C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle are off the market, there are still valuable pieces to be found to fill out a rotation.
Here's a look at some of the top names still available.
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Yes, the Roy Oswalt saga still continues.
Oswalt prefers to pitch for the Texas Rangers or St. Louis Cardinals, according to MLBTradeRumors.com, but is also drawing interest from the Cincinnati Reds and Boston Red Sox.
Oswalt would be a great addition to any rotation looking for depth and a solid veteran presence.
In 2011 with the Philadelphia Phillies, Oswalt had an unimpressive 9-10 record with a 3.69 ERA. Oswalt also only pitcher 139 innings due to nagging injuries.
That being said, Oswalt can be an effective fourth or fifth starter for a team that is looking to add a quality starter.
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The oft-injured right-hander is drawing interest from several teams to either be a back-of-the-rotation starter or reliever, according to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.
Harden has spent the last three seasons with three different organizations, trying to prove to teams he can stay healthy.
However, Harden hasn't succeeded.
Harden has pitched less than 100 innings the last two seasons and hasn't put those concerns about his health to bed.
Teams may take a low-risk, high-reward approach with Harden, much like the Yankees did with Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia a year ago.
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After signing a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, Jon Garland is again looking for a team that will give him a shot.
Garland pitched in just nine games last season while battling an oblique injury as well as a shoulder injury, so teams may be concerned with his health going forward.
However, Garland drew some interest early in the offseason from the San Diego Padres and Minnesota Twins, according to Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
If a team can sign Garland to a friendly contract, he could show signs of his former self when he played for the Chicago White Sox where he posted four straight seasons with 200+ innings.
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Chris Young is another oft-injured starter looking to rejuvenate his career.
Young has only started 22 games in the past three seasons while battling injuries. Most recently he pitched for the Mets, however, he only pitched 24.0 innings during the 2011 season.
ESPN's Jerry Crasnick is reporting that the Mets are interested in bringing Young back on a minor league deal.
Young also told Crasnick that his arm is feeling "the best it has felt in quite a long time."
Although not many teams are hot on Young, he could still prove to be a good depth pick up.
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Although all indications point to Vazquez retiring, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wonders if teams will come calling for his services as a fourth or fifth starter.
Vazquez has a relatively up and down career, culminating with a stint with the Florida Marlins in 2011. Vazquez posted a 13-11 record and 3.69 ERA for the Marlins and has proven he can stay healthy through the course of the season.
That is huge for a team looking for a veteran presence to fill out their rotation.
However, the big challenge for teams will be to convince Vazquez to come back and give it a shot in their rotation for one more season.