MLB Free Agency: Top Suitors for the Best Pitchers Still on the Market

Mark MillerCorrespondent IDecember 27, 2012

MLB Free Agency: Top Suitors for the Best Pitchers Still on the Market

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    MLB free agency has been kicking into high gear in December, with some big names finally inking their new deals, leaving the remainder of the available players to feel out the market in an effort to maximize their return.

    For all the deals that have been completed, however, there are teams left behind with packages that just weren't enough to bring in that top target.

    The free-agent market is still flooded with pitching talent in both the starting rotation and the bullpen, so we shouldn't be surprised to see these arms find new homes shortly after the calendar turns to 2013.

Francisco Rodriguez

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    After the Milwaukee Brewers surprised much of the baseball world in trading for Francisco Rodriguez during the 2011 season, K-Rod opted to stick around in Miller Park last season, accepting arbitration that would put him back into the Brewers bullpen in 2012.

    He went 2-7 with an ERA north of 4.00 last season and didn't leave the best impression on any other suitors, though as Tom Hardicourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel noted, the Brewers would like to have K-Rod back in 2013.

    With the market for late-inning options softening every day, seeing Rodriguez back in Milwaukee seems like more and more likely of an option.

Kyle Farnsworth

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    Should the Milwaukee Brewers not opt to sign Francisco Rodriguez this offseason, their eyes could quickly turn to Kyle Farnsworth, who the team already has interest in (h/t Jim Bowden, ESPNxm).

    Farnsworth has played for six teams during his career, and they haven't been without injury. Most recently, he started this past season on the disabled list and saw his action limited to 34 appearances.

Jose Valverde

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    After receiving such lofty expectations heading into this season, it's almost hard to call 2012 a success for the Detroit Tigers as many pegged them as World Series champs in light of their offseason maneuvering.

    Valverde's postseason was far from spectacular, and as the Tigers have opted to let him enter free agency, it doesn't look like there's much interest for the reliever.

    There will inevitably be teams that take on pitchers like Valverde and Rafael Soriano, though it's anyone's guess as to who they'll be, and whoever the final buyers are will no doubt wait for the price to drop as it's becoming a buyers market.

Brett Myers

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    It was just a couple seasons ago that Brett Myers was a strong starting arm in Houston, notching better than 220 innings in both seasons before heading to the bullpen in 2012.

    He was a strong presence for the Chicago White Sox last fall after being traded, but would like to get back into the starting rotation wherever he ends up in 2013.

    Looking for starting pitching feverishly this offseason, you would think the Minnesota Twins could have been an option for Myers' services, but with Mike Pelfrey, Kevin Correia and Vance Worley all now in the rotation, the Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe points out that the San Diego Padres could be a more likely option.

Shaun Marcum

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    The Minnesota Twins have overhauled their roster quite a bit this offseason in trading outfielders Ben Revere and Denard Span for pitching prospects that could make a big impact down the road.

    Their biggest changes have come in the starting rotation, with Vance Worley, Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey all coming over this offseason.

    Believe it or not, they may still not be done there, as former Milwaukee Brewer Shaun Marcum has been mentioned as a pitcher the team has been interested in (h/t Jon Heyman, CBS Sports) throughout the offseason proceedings.

Rafael Soriano

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    After filling in admirably for Mariano Rivera during the 2012 season, Rafael Soriano made a risky move in declining a lucrative qualifying offer for 2013, instead deciding to turn to free agency.

    That decision has not gone well for Soriano, who has struggled to garner much serious interest, partly due to the draft-pick compensation that signing the star reliever would cost.

    The Yankees don't immediately appear to be a fit for Soriano as he doesn't want to hold down the setup role, but if interest in the reliever continues to be low they could be the best match, especially since they're the only team in the league that wouldn't need to surrender a draft pick to get a deal done.

Kyle Lohse

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    It may seem like somewhat of a broken record, but yes, the Texas Rangers missed out big when Zack Greinke signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    They still have plenty of options available for starting pitching, and while at one point Anibal Sanchez was a viable option for the Rangers, Kyle Lohse could be just as good.

    Lohse went 16-3 this season with the St. Louis Cardinals with a strong 2.86 ERA to his name, and though the Rangers haven't yet discussed signing him (h/t Jim Bowden, ESPNxm), they could very well be in the market if his price comes down a bit as the offseason drags on.