Browsing Posts tagged Jon Lester

Some sports books have released MLB win totals. Over the next few days, we’ll analyze the win totals by division and comments where we see some value. Today, we’ll focus on the National League Central:

The odds-makers are expecting St. Louis’s division dominance to continue. St. Louis traded for Jason Heyward to bolster its outfield. Adam Wainwright may miss Opening Day, but St. Louis has the talent and depth behind him. Many are expecting Chicago to take a big step forward this season, so Chicago is the team to watch in this division.

St. Louis

There’s not much to say about the Cardinals. They’ve been to the NLCS in three straight seasons. They got younger by adding Heyward to an already stocked line-up. Lance Lynn, John Lackey, and Michael Wacha will need to step-up if Wainwright misses significant time. 

Pittsburgh

The Pirates didn’t make many moves, but lost Russell Martin to the Toronto Blue Jays. The odds-makers are projecting a slight win reduction. Despite some recent success, Pittsburgh hasn’t been able to get over the hump in the playoffs. Fans are hoping Starling Marte can take another step forward in 2015.

Chicago

Chicago signed Jon Lester and added Joe Maddon to manage the team. Are these additions worth 10+ wins? 

Milwaukee

Milwaukee is an interesting team. Adam Lind was added to give the line-up more left-handed power. Milwaukee opted to trade away Yovani Gallardo a year before his free agency. Milwaukee also collapsed during September as St. Louis and Pittsburgh passed them.

Cincinnati

Joey Votto  will return and will be the key to Cincinnati’s offense. When healthy, Votto is an MVP candidate. Ace Johnny Cueto will need to have another big season to keep Cincinnati in playoff contention.

Observations:

  • I’m not buying the optimism for Chicago. Chicago has some really good young bats, but will Lester replace (and surpass) the production posted by Sarmardijza? I think Chicago is a year away and don’t expect him to challenge St. Louis, Pittsburgh, or even Milwaukee

Best Bet:

  • Cubs Under 82.5 Wins

Last week, we detailed an argument why the Yankees should wait until next season to tap the free agent starting pitching class. Today, we’ll detail each of the potential free agent options and whether they’ll be a fit. Before we dig into the potential free agents, the Yankees currently have approximately $127 million committed to the 2015 roster. After arbitration hearings, this amount will likely rise to $140 million. To put this in perspective, four players (A-Rod, Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, and Jacoby Ellsbury) account for nearly $90 million. Derek Jeter, Brett Gardner, David Robertson, Alfonso Soriano, and Hiroki Kuroda will be free agents.

Needless to say, the Yankees will have plenty of holes to fill in the rotation. Here are some intriguing 2015 free agents that can be added to the rotation..

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There’s no denying that the Yankees need to add impact starting pitching. The 2014 Yankee rotation will be led by Hiroki Kuroda, CC Sabathia, and Ivan Nova, which isn’t enough to withstand the grind of a 162 game season. To fill out their rotation, the Yankees could turn to either the free agent market or pick from uninspiring internal options. The Yankees are obviously interested in Japanese RHP Masahiro Tanaka, who may or may not be posted by the Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Nippon Professional Baseball league. Changes in the posting system, namely capping the maximum posting bid at $20 million, have made Rakuten rethink posting Tanaka. In fact, Rakuten has made Tanaka a generous contract offer in hopes of keeping its ace. 

Given the uncertainty surrounding Tanaka’s posting status, this year’s free agent starting pitching market hasn’t taken shape. This year’s ‘Top’ remaining free agent pitching options include Ervin Santana, Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez, AJ Burnett, and Bronson Arroyo. All five of these pitchers have obvious blemishes and would not provide more than a middling middle of the rotation option. Next year, however, potentially presents one of the best free agent classes in recent memory. Of note, Cy Young Award winners Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer could hit the open market. Established AL East options should as Jon Lester, Justin Masterson, Jake Peavy, and James Shields will be available. Finally, a few decent options from the NL Central, Homer Bailey, Johnny Cueto, and Yovani Gallardo will also be available. 

In Part I of this article, we’ll breakdown each of the available 2014 free agent options to see whether or not they’re a fit for the Yankees. Part II will address the 2015 free agent class. More after the jump..

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