MLB Free Agents 2012: Predicting Where Top Available Starting Pitchers Will Land

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MLB Free Agents 2012: Predicting Where Top Available Starting Pitchers Will Land
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With MLB free agency now open for business, it's time to take a look at where the top available starting players will take their talents in 2013.

As always, stud arms are in high demand, and will field offers from all corners of the market, especially because the talent pool this winter isn't quite as deep as it has been in previous years.

That being said, there are still a number of big-name flamethrowers who will be donning new uniforms when Spring Training starts up. Here's an early look at where the most highly coveted free-agent starting pitchers will land.

 

Zack Greinke

According to CBS Sports' preview of MLB free agency, the most likely destinations for Zack Greinke are both located in Los Angeles, as the Dodgers and his most recent employer, the Angels, are both bidding for his services.

At this point, the former AL Cy Young winner appears to be a near-lock to remain in L.A. The question is, where exactly will he decide to ink what is sure to be one of the most lucrative contracts ever given to a pitcher?

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports weighed in on where he thinks Greinke will be headed next:

It's been said the Angels, Braves and Cardinals are perhaps Greinke's top choices. And with the Cardinals pretty well set for starters and the Braves (perhaps the best match for Greinke) probably unwilling to outbid the two LA teams, that should leave the two teams on I-5 as the most logical landing spots.

Prediction: Greinke likely would prefer to remain with the Angels, but given the Dodgers' virtually unlimited resources, Greinke will sign there for slightly more money. 

 

Edwin Jackson

Rob Carr/Getty Images

After taking a one-year, $11-million deal to head to Washington last winter, Edwin Jackson appears ready to cash in after a solid season for the NL East champion Nationals.

The Nats don't seem to be interested in bringing Jackson back, so he will likely be in search of a new home this winter. After a 10-win season as a valuable member of one of baseball's most dangerous rotations, he will have no shortage of suitors.

Prediction: This one is wide open as of now, but as Matthew Leach of MLB.com pointed out, the Blue Jays would appear to be a destination that would be a good fit for both parties:

The Jays have money to spend, and Jackson has actually been more effective in the American League than the NL. He could end up a lot of places, but Toronto definitely makes sense.

 

Kyle Lohse

Not regarded as a front-of-the-rotation starter in the past, Kyle Lohse picked a great time to have a career year. The 34-year-old right-hander went 16-3 for the Cardinals with a 2.86 ERA—the third time he won at least 14 games for St. Louis. 

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Given his experience pitching in the postseason, he would be a nice addition to the rotation of a number of contending teams, though they will have to be willing to pay handsomely for his services.

Though the Dodgers and Angels will surely take runs at Lohse if either loses out on the Greinke sweepstakes, CBS Sports' C. Trent Rosecrans projects Lohse to land in Washington.

Washington wants to add a veteran pitcher, and their first call will likely go to Scott Boras, who seems to represent at least half the team. Boras has plenty of clients, but his top guy this offseason is Lohse, who seems like he'd be a natural fit for the Nationals. With Lohse, the Nationals' rotation is even more stout and the team could be an immediate favorite in the National League.

Prediction: The Nationals. They need a battle-tested veteran to replace the soon-to-be-departed Jackson, and Lohse would serve that purpose.

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