MLB Free Agency 2013: Teams in Desperate Need of Pitching Arms

Pete Schauer@@Pete_SchauerCorrespondent IOctober 22, 2012

MLB Free Agency 2013: Teams in Desperate Need of Pitching Arms

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    They say that pitching is the key to winning championships, so it's no wonder that no team on the following list made it to the 2012 MLB postseason.

    With starters like Erik Bedard, Ryan Dempster, R.A. Dickey, Zack Greinke, Dan Haren and so many more set to become free agents this winter, the opportunity to acquire starting pitching is out there for teams who desperately seek it.

    The Detroit Tigers have single-handedly proved that great pitching can lead you to the World Series, so is the same in store for these five clubs in 2013?

    Let's take a look at who desperately needs to add pitching for the upcoming 2013 season.

Colorado Rockies

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    If there's one MLB team who needs pitching the most, it's hands down the Colorado Rockies.

    Colorado starters posted the worst collective ERA during the 2012 regular season (5.81), allowed opposing hitters to bat .304 against them and saw relief pitcher Rex Brothers lead the team in wins with eight.

    The Rockies' pitching was so bad this season that Brothers recorded the most strikeouts on the squad, with a mere 83, and the entire staff earned just 27 quality starts. To put that number into perspective, the New York Yankees received 82 quality starts from their staff.

    Starters Jeff Francis, Alex White, Christian Friedrich and Jeremy Guthrie all accumulated a 5.00-plus ERA in at least 15 starts for Colorado, with the most wins being six (Francis) from that group.

    To no one's surprise, the Rockies finished 30 games back in the NL West, and you need to look no further than pitching to pin the blame.

Minnesota Twins

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    With the exception of Scott Diamond, the Minnesota Twins' pitching was pitiful this season.

    Diamond, who started 27 games for the Twinkies and pitched to a 12-9 record and 3.54 ERA, was the only Minnesota hurler to make more than 19 starts.

    After Diamond, the Twins' pitching staff was ugly. The starting staff posted a 5.40 ERA, as opposing batters hit .291 against them and no other starter earned more than six wins.

    Furthermore, Minnesota starters struck out the least amount of batters in all of baseball (541) and allowed 141 home runs to opposing lineups, which ranked second-to-last in the MLB during the regular season.

    The Twins have a decent offense going forward into next season, but they'll need to shore up the arms if they plan on contending in the AL Central, where they finished 22 games out.

Cleveland Indians

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    Under new manager Terry Francona, you can expect big things from the Cleveland Indians in 2013, but only if they bulk up the pitching staff.

    Cleveland arms ranked No. 29 in ERA (4.78) and No. 28 in WHIP (1.42) and saw just one starter (Justin Masterson) earn double-digit wins.

    Ubaldo Jimenez looks like a shell of the pitcher we saw in 2010, as he went 9-17 with an inflated 5.40 ERA during the 2012 regular season and saw the rest of his staff struggle as well.

    In fact, no Indians pitcher who started more than four times posted a record above .500, and Cleveland pitching allowed the most hits in MLB.

    Going forward, Francona is going to need a lot more than Masterson and a washed-up Jimenez to hang with the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox in the AL Central.

Kansas City Royals

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    If it weren't for dismal pitching, the Kansas City Royals could have been a completely different club during the 2012 regular season.

    While Billy Butler and the Royals' offense could undoubtedly use some help, the K.C. offense was plagued by a pitching staff that couldn't keep up its end of the bargain.

    Royals starters produced a 5.01 ERA and allowed opposing hitters to bat .283 against them while striking out a mere 642 hitters over the course of the season.

    Bruce Chen earned 11 wins—the most for any Royals starter—but still posted a 5.07 ERA and 1.37 WHIP, while teammates Luke Hochevar and Luis Mendoza combined for a 16-26 record and 4.98 ERA.

    Unfortunately for the Royals, with the likes of the Tigers and White Sox in the division, they need to add several arms in order to even be included in contention conversations.

Boston Red Sox

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    Now under new management, the Boston Red Sox are poised for an improved season in 2013, since anything is better than Bobby V at the helm. Still, normally solid starters like Jon Lester and Josh Beckett hurt the Red Sox.

    Boston starters pitched to the tune of a 5.19 ERA and allowed a .452 slugging percentage to opposing lineups.

    On top of it all, Red Sox starters allowed the most earned runs (535) in all of baseball and mustered just 48 wins. To give you an idea of just how awful that is, teams like the Toronto Blue Jays, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates all received more production from their starting staffs than Boston.

    The effort by Lester has to be the most surprising for Red Sox fans. After going 15-9 with a 3.47 ERA in 2011, Lester was 9-14 with a 4.82 ERA in 2012.

    With the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays boasting quality staffs, Boston has a lot of work to do this winter to contend in the always-difficult AL East.


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