If the prices remain moderate, here are a few pitchers the San Diego Padres should take a look at this offseason.
So who should the San Diego Padres look at on the open market? As previously mentioned, there aren’t a lot of options out there this year, meaning teams that feel they are one or two starting pitchers away from making a deep run next year may be willing to bid high for a number of these upcoming free agents.
Should the price remain at a decent rate, here’s a quick rundown of a few pitchers the Padres should target.
Houston Astros LHP Dallas Keuchel
He may not be a flamethrower but Dallas Keuchel has put up consistently solid numbers over the past five seasons. Keuchel is coming off a 204 inning season in which he posted a 3.74 ERA, 3.69 FIP, and a 3.6 fWAR.
Keuchel may be 31 on Opening Day 2019, however, he is a former Cy Young Award winner, World Series champion, and a three-time Gold Glove Award winner. He has rebounded well from his disappointing 2016 season and could serve as a top-of-the-rotation left-handed option for the Padres. Keuchel is not an ace pitcher anymore but he does bring valuable experience to a very young rotation.
Most importantly, Keuchel averaged 6.0 IP per start. Only Clayton Richard averaged more then 5.0 IP per start for the Padres this season.
Boston Red Sox RHP Nathan Eovaldi
After the postseason that Nathan Eovaldi has had, it seems clear that he will receive a big payday this offseason. The 28-year-old RHP went 6-7 with a 3.81 ERA during the regular season but recorded a career-high strikeout rate of 22.2% and a career-low walk-rate of 4.4%. He was able to create more swings and misses outside the zone and found great success with his cutter, relying on it for the first time in his career.
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Eovaldi has been even more effective in the playoffs, going 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP across 14.1 innings. Think he has recovered well from two Tommy John surgeries? Unfortunately, if he continues his hot postseason in the World Series, Eovaldi may be the second-highest paid free agent starter, behind Patrick Corbin.
Los Angeles Dodgers LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu
This one may be hard for many San Diego Padres fans to look at but Hyun-Jin Ryu has been really solid all year long, when he has been on the mound. Ryu has missed a significant amount of time in 2018 and has just 557 regular season innings under his belt since signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers back in 2013. As long as he can stay healthy, Ryu is an effective pitcher with low-milage.
Ryu made 15 starts in 2018, finishing with a 7-3 record, 1.97 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and a career-high in strikeouts, sitting down 27.5% of opposing hitters. He limits hard contact, keeps the ball in the ballpark (less than one HR/9 IP), and has lowered his contact rate/increased his swinging strike rate every year since joining the major leagues.
What do you think, Padres fans? Which free agent pitchers do you think the organization should target? Any you believe the team should absolutely stay away from?