Two teams that seem to be still eager and capable of making some noticeable moves this offseason are the Miami Marlins and Houston Astros, trying hard to make the most from what remains in this free agency market.
The Miami Marlins have been going after pitchers all offseason long, and aren’t done. They have added Edwin Jackson who is coming off a very solid season which started with the Chicago Cubs and ended with the Atlanta Braves, doing better with the second team. Their biggest signing was Wei-Yin Chen off of the Baltimore Orioles, picking up the lefty after doing extremely well these last two seasons, earning him a five-year, $80 million contract.
The Astros have been busy as well. Besides making a few trades for players like Ken Giles and other prospects, they’ve also been busy in the free agents market. They re-signed Tony Sipp to also improve their bullpen, signing a three-year, $18 million contract and kept Colby Rasmus who took the qualifying offer, signing a one-year, $15.8 million deal. But besides keeping what worked for them (especially in the second half of the season), they’ve been trying to go after remaining available players.
One player the Astros are after is Yovani Gallardo. They’ve been aggressive (but unsuccessful) when it comes to rotation players on the market, but once they get over the whole “giving up a draft pick” issue which seems to be slowing down them (and others looking after Gallardo), they might come up with the best financial offer for the player who prefers staying in Texas.
As for the Marlins, who have already made some pitching additions, they’re not done, looking hard at all available starting-caliber pitchers out there (not too many of them left), while also trying to get creative. They are one of the teams hoping that Tim Linecucm leaves a good impression in his February showcase. The 31-year old is trying to keep his career alive, coming off a September hip surgery, and begins throwing off the mound next week, while getting ready to prove that he can still deliver.
He had a 4.13 ERA in 15 starts for the San Francisco Giants last season, with his strikeout-walk ratio dropping to a terrible 1.58. For someone who led baseball in strikeouts per nine innings twice before, his fastball dropping to an average of 87.2 MPH without special stuff to make up for it isn’t encouraging. Lincecum made the All-Star game four times in a row from 2008 to 2011, also winning the Cy Young award twice. Right now, it’s an uphill battle for him to stay in baseball and find someone who takes a chance on him. Maybe the Marlins end up impressed.