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Josh Johnson's injury history and high price tag make him too big a risk.
The following group of pitchers are all free agents and will be considered. However, none of these pitchers is a top candidate to fill an open job in the Giants' starting rotation.
A.J. Burnett also sits atop our list of pitchers worthy of mention. He had an excellent season, throwing 191 innings. He allowed only 165 hits and 67 walks, while striking out 209. Burnett's ERA was a very strong 3.30 to go along with a WHIP of 1.215.
The main drawback with Burnett is his age. He will be 37 years old by the time the 2014 season begins. He also made $16.5 million this past season and based on the year he had, will be very expensive. He is too old and too costly for the Giants.
Josh Johnson is also high on the list of Honorable Mention pitchers. He had a very poor season, as injuries once again took their toll on Johnson. In 81.1 innings of work, Johnson allowed 105 hits and 30 walks, while striking out 83.
Johnson's ERA ballooned to 6.20 and his WHIP was 1.660. Johnson also made $13.75 million in 2013, and unless he is willing to come down substantially from that number, he is not a good fit for the Giants.
Jason Marquis will hit the free-agent market and will be very reasonably priced. He threw 117.2 innings and allowed 111 hits and 68 walks, while striking out 72. He had an ERA of 4.05 and WHIP of 1.521.
Marquis made $3 million this past season in San Diego. He would be a potential fit for the Giants' fifth starter role but at the age of 35, should not be considered for anything above that.
Jason Vargas had a decent year for the Angels and will be 31 years of age when the 2014 season begins. Vargas threw 150 innings, allowed 162 hits and 46 bases-on-balls, while striking out 109. His ERA was 4.02 and he had a WHIP of 1.387.
Vargas would be a consideration for a fourth or fifth starter job. He made $8.5 million in 2013 and should not be above the $10 million mark on an annual basis.
Dan Haren had a tough season in 2013, as he finished the year with a 4.67 ERA and 1.238 WHIP. He also made $13 million dollars, but he still has some gas left in the tank.
Haren had an excellent strikeout to walk ratio of nearly five-to-one. He struck out 151 hitters over 169.2 innings and walked only 31. If the Giants can acquire him at a reasonable cost, say $8-10 million, a change of scenery back to the NL West could be a good move for both Haren and the team.
Bruce Chen was very effective for the Kansas City Royals this past season. He threw only 121 innings but allowed just 107 hits and 36 walks. Chen is a control pitcher and does not strike out that many, as his total of 78 indicates.
Chen finished the year with an ERA of 3.27 and WHIP of 1.182, both very strong numbers. His contract was very reasonable at only $4.5 million, so the Giants should be able to get him for roughly an $8 million salary. Chen would most likely slot in as a fourth or fifth starter.
Bartolo Colon was a bargain for the Oakland A's this year at only $3 million. He had a fine season, winning 18 games and losing only six. His ERA was a stellar 2.65 to go along with a very good WHIP of 1.166.
Colon worked 190.1 innings for the A's, allowing 193 hits and 29 walks, while striking out 117. One major question surrounding Colon is whether, at age 40, he can still pitch effectively next year. The other concern is if Colon can remain this strong without the benefit of PEDs.
Other free-agent candidates include Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jeff Karstens, Colby Lewis, Jason Hammel, Phil Hughes, Scott Kazmir, Gavin Floyd, Paul Maholm, Aaron Harang, Scott Baker and Jeff Francis.
The Giants will also see what the market will bear with Ryan Vogelsong. If they can sign him for closer to $3.5 million, he would be an optimal fifth starter.
Chad Gaudin is another potential free-agent option, and he proved his worth to the Giants this past season as a swing-man, going from long relief into the starting role when injuries hit the Giants' rotation.
Yusmeiro Petit also threw the ball well when given the opportunity to start. He is in the mix for the fifth starter job or the long relief spot, if he does not make the rotation.