2014 MLB Free Agents: Breaking Down Potential Destinations for Top Pitchers

Ryan DavenportContributor INovember 11, 2013

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 26:  Matt Garza #22 of the Texas Rangers throws against the Los Angeles Angels in the third inning at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on September 26, 2013 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

It's that time of year again.

Each winter, following the end of the previous season, all 30 Major League Baseball teams begin crafting their rosters for the upcoming year, and that process starts with free agency.

In particular, stud pitchers are always hot commodities on the market, and they often command ludicrously expensive deals (see Brown, Kevin) and never live up to expectations.

Regardless of the number of eventual busts, elite flamethrowers will be in high demand, so with that in mind, here's a look at potential landing spots for this year's best available pitchers.


Ervin Santana

As a former All-Star, Ervin Santana clearly has the tools to be an impact addition to virtually any rotation, but his price tag will undoubtedly be too rich for a number of potential suitors.

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the former Angels starter is hoping to attract an offer worth upward of $100 million, which is a hefty asking price for a guy that hasn't had a winning record in his last two seasons.

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 14: Ervin Santana #54 of the Kansas City Royals walks to the dugout after being replaced in the seventh inning of the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on September 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Leon Hali
Leon Halip/Getty Images

In any case, he'll find a new home this winter, as there are a handful of teams in dire need of starting pitching.

At 30, Santana figures to have a solid number of quality seasons left in the tank, so he'll get one of the biggest deals handed out.

Prediction: The Orioles will be looking for a boost after missing the playoffs in 2013, so I like Baltimore's chances at landing Santana. Santana is coming off a season in which he posted the best ERA of his career, and the O's will be on the market for starting pitching. Another possibility could be Texas, as the Rangers will likely also be interested in adding a big name to their staff.


Matt Garza

Another one of the most intriguing pitchers available is Matt Garza, who will likely be changing teams for the fourth time in five seasons.

Fortunately for the 29-year-old, he's coming off a solid season for the Cubs and Rangers that saw him rack up an impressive 10-6 record, though he went 4-5 after arriving in Texas.

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 06:  Matt Garza #22 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 6, 2013 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

But with a decidedly thin free-agent crop as far as pitchers go, Garza is among the best on the market, so he's a lock to attract interest from a number of deep-pocketed teams.

Though he's never been an All-Star, Garza has been a solid starter for the last eight seasons, and he'd be a good fit in virtually any starting rotation.

Prediction: To get Garza, a team will more than likely have to overpay to outbid the other suitors, and I think in this case, that club will be either the Yankees or the Angels. Both teams are hoping to bounce back after disappointing seasons, so moving for a quality starting pitcher would be a step in the right direction.


Ricky Nolasco

After moving to the Dodgers midway through the 2013 season, Ricky Nolasco certainly improved his chances at earning a big deal, as the 30-year-old went 8-3 with Los Angeles down the stretch. 

Like Santana, the longtime Marlins stud is expecting a sizable raise, and given that he's one of the younger proven starters on the market, he'll probably get one.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Ricky Nolasco #47 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on September 25, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

He's won 10 or more games in each of his seven full seasons in The Show, including two with at least 14 victories, so if he goes to a solid defensive team, there's reason to believe he could post career-high numbers.

He may have to wait until Santana has signed somewhere to cash in, but Nolasco will surely make more than the $11 million he collected in 2013.

Prediction: Minnesota is another team that will be searching for help in the rotation, and the Twins have a history of landing free agents represented by Scott Sosnick.