FEATURE
2036 Top Free Agents: Pitchers
Our predictions for the top free agent deals of the 2036 offseason.
by CAVE DAMERON

SP Ivan Torres, 32 years old

There’s almost zero chance that Torres hits the open market. Bronx is likely to be in win-now mode for the next few seasons, and nobody will help them win more than Torres. He’s been one of the best pitchers in the game for the past six seasons, and he’s still only 32 years of age. There are signs of regression from his peak seasons (2031-2033), but he’s still consistently at the top of the WAR leaderboards. If Bronx decides to move on from Torres, he’ll start a bidding war unlike anything we’ve seen since… last season with Mitch Sharp. Something in the range of 4 years/$200M ($50M AAV) would be my guess. All signs point to Torres staying in the Bronx, however, so he’ll likely get considerably less than that.

Prediction: 4 years/$140M extension ($35M AAV)

SP Chikafusa Harada, 29 years old

It’ll be interesting to see how the Bombers deal with both Torres and Harada hitting free agency at the same time. They probably have the money to sign both, but that would leave them with very little to re-sign 2B Alex Rivera and fill some other holes in their roster. If the Bombers do re-sign Torres (and they should), I can see them letting Harada walk. That would make Harada the best pitcher to hit free agency this offseason, and he’ll start that bidding war in Torres’ stead. At just 29 years of age, Harada is by far the youngest of the top-tier pitchers in this pool. He’s trending up, too, after posting the two best seasons of his career in 2034 and 2035 with 4.9 and 4.8 WAR, respectively. Harada isn’t striking out as many batters as he once was, but he’s found a way to cut down on his walks and keep the ball on the ground. In this homerun-inflated era, I can see a team willing to overpay for a guy who can do that.

Prediction: 5 years/$200M ($40M AAV)

SP Josh Yoneda, 40 years old

Yoneda just seems to keep getting better with age. After a disappointing 2032 season, Yoneda has now put up three straight seasons of 4.0+ WAR. (Before 2032, his career high was 3.2.) Yoneda will turn 41 this upcoming season, and he isn’t quite getting the same movement on his fastball as he once was, but he’ll still make a great addition to any competitor. Teams will be scared off by his age and his lack of velocity, so his price will likely be way under the market value for what he’ll provide next season. Cheap one-year deal, 3+ WAR, rinse, repeat.

Prediction: 1 year/$9M ($9M AAV)

SP John Ayers, 36 years old

Ayers doesn’t have great velocity and can’t keep the ball in the park. That doesn’t bode well in this homerun-inflated era. It seems that batters have figured Ayers out a bit recently, and his regression over the past few seasons is extreme. He’s striking out 30% fewer batters than he was just four seasons ago and he’s walking almost 50% more. For a pitcher about to turn 37, that seems like a death sentence. Some team will give Ayers a deal in hopes of him producing as an average #3 starter, but I think they’ll be lucky to get even that.

Prediction: 2 years/$15M ($7.5M AAV)

CL Bobby Turcios, 33 years old

Turcios has been one of the best closers in the game for a while now and shows no signs of slowing down. His velocity hasn’t dipped yet, and his K/9 is as high as ever. He’s got the stamina to pitch in over half a team’s games, sometimes for multiple innings. That makes him one of the more valuable relievers around. There are more than a few teams who need bullpen help, and there aren’t exactly a plethora of good relievers hitting free agency. That’s good news for Turcios… and his wallet.

Prediction: 3 years/$69M ($23M AAV)

CL Arturo Gamino, 34 years old

Gamino has all of the stuff that Turcios does but none of the stamina. That makes Gamino more of a luxury rather than a late-inning stud like Turcios. Gamino actually seems to be improving lately, putting up three straight seasons of 2.7+ WAR after cutting down on his walks and keeping his strikeout rate the same. The inevitable bidding war for Turcios will cut down on the amount that Gamino ends up getting, but Gamino will make for a nice consolation prize for whoever misses out on Turcios.

Prediction: 2 years/$45M ($22.5M AAV)