In all the commotion over Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto, you might have forgotten there were any other players available. But pitchers and catchers report in six weeks, and there are still a lot of good free agents out there, and the Dodgers can’t possibly sign all of them. There are enough that you could make a pretty good team out of them. Sports Illustrated has attempted to do just that. First, the pitching staff:
Last year’s National League Cy Young winner can be dominant: He led the sport with a 2.25 ERA and 5.8 hits allowed per nine innings in 2023. But Snell has thrown a pitch in the eighth inning only five times in his nearly eight-year career, and in the seventh only 36 times. Teams know what they will get from him. The question is what they want to pay for that.
Perhaps no one improved their standing more over the past two years than Montgomery, whom the New York Yankees traded to the St. Louis Cardinals because they did not believe he could start a playoff game. And who then had a 2.90 ERA in six postseason outings, including the highest championship win probability in the ALCS, to help the Texas Rangers clinch the World Series.
Stroman’s decision to opt out of the remaining year and $21 million on his deal with the Chicago Cubs was somewhat surprising, given his 8.29 ERA over his last 11 starts and a rib injury that cost him six weeks. But he was one of the best pitchers in the sport until mid-June, and teams are desperate for starting pitching this winter, so he has a good chance to beat that number.
Clevinger offers high risk and moderate reward. He will be 32 and he brings some makeup questions: The Guardians were forced to trade him in 2020 after he broke COVID-19 protocols and teammates revolted, and the mother of his daughter accused him in January ’23 of violating the league’s domestic violence and child abuse policy. (MLB announced in March that it had completed its investigation and would not impose discipline.) He missed two months last year with injuries, the Chicago White Sox waived him in August but could not find a taker and he finished the season by allowing six earned runs in an inning and a third. But he had a 1.61 ERA and averaged seven innings in the four starts before that, so someone will take a flier on him.
Lorenzen threw a no-hitter in his second start after being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies from the Detroit Tigers at the deadline but by the playoffs could not crack the rotation. His true ability lies somewhere in between, and he will likely be paid accordingly.
Hader is probably the game’s most dominant left-handed reliever, but his self-imposed restrictions—he does not get more than three outs, and he rarely pitches three days in a row—have caused some problems in the past few years. It’s possible that once he gets paid, he will be more flexible. Either way, he will get paid.
Suter is perhaps the only true multi-inning reliever on the market. He could start in a pinch. He will be 34, but he was effective in a setup role for the Colorado Rockies—not an easy place to pitch—last year.
Hicks kind of dropped off the map after he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2019, but he was quietly good—and durable—the last two years. He’s 27, he’s good for 60 innings a year and he still throws 100 mph. He should get a multiyear deal.
He’s 36, and he was at times painful to watch in the postseason, and he lost his closer role, but the stuff is still there and he makes a team better. That’s all true of Craig Kimbrel, too, who just got a year and $13 million from the Baltimore Orioles.
Robertson is 38, and he struggled mightily after a deadline trade sent him to the Miami Marlins, but he would be a good pickup on a one-year deal for a contending team.