Deep Dive: Available free agent left-handed starters

No Bum: Madison Bumgarner will be one of the most sought-after pitchers in this year’s free agent class. (@40MadBum)

“Deep Dive” focuses on the depth of each position in the Chicago White Sox organization. Each position is broken into a five-part series:

  1. Depth in the rookie levels (Dominican through Great Falls)
  2. Depth in A-ball (Kannapolis and Winston-Salem)
  3. Depth in the higher levels (Birmingham and Charlotte)
  4. Under the Radar-type detail on one of the White Sox players at that position
  5. Free agent options at that position

This article delves into the plentiful left-handed starter options who should be available this offseason. The best high-end options appear to be Hyun-Jin Ryu, Madison Bumgarner and Dallas Keuchel, while lower-tier options include Gio Gonzalez and Rich Hill.

The White Sox have just one dependable starter (Lucas Giolito) and several question marks to begin the 2020 season.

Will Reynaldo López finally show consistency? (To paraphrase the immortal Forrest Gump: “López starts are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”) Dylan Cease suffered through rookie inconsistencies, while Michael Kopech (expected return: April) and southpaw Carlos Rodón (could be back by the All-Star break) are coming back from Tommy John surgeries. None of the Charlotte starters who finished this season seem viable options, and the White Sox shouldn’t find themselves starting the likes of Dylan Covey, Ross Detwiler, Odrisamer Despaigne and/or Hector Santiago ever, ever again.

Thus, it’s likely that the White Sox will sign a No. 1-3 starter option, as well as a back-of-the rotation guy/swingman on the off-chance that Kopech isn’t ready on Opening Day. Here’s a ranking of the right-handed starter options that could be available, in order of bWAR; I will do a subsequent article regarding southpaw starting options in the near future. The stats, including bWAR, are through September 21.

(ages are as of April 1, 2020)

Hyun-Jin Ryu
Los Angeles Dodgers
2019 bWAR 4.6
Stats 12-5, 2.35 ERA, 168.2 IP, 1.03 WHIP, 1.3 BB/9, 7.9 K/9
Age 33

Madison Bumgarner
San Francisco Giants
2019 bWAR 2.7
9-9, 3.86 ERA, 200.2 IP, 1.13 WHIP, 1.8 BB/9, 8.7 K/9
Age 30

Cole Hamels
Chicago Cubs
2019 bWAR 2.5
Stats 7-7, 3.92 ERA, 137.2 IP, 1.42 WHIP, 3.7 BB/9, 8.8 K/9
Age 36

Brett Anderson
Oakland Athletics
2019 bWAR 2.3
Stats 12-9, 4.00 ERA, 171 IP, 1.32 WHIP, 2.5 BB/9, 4.6 K/9
Age 32

Wade Miley
Houston Astros
2019 bWAR 2.1
Stats 14-6, 3.91 ERA, 163.1 IP, 1.34 WHIP, 3.3 BB/9, 7.6 K/9
Age 33

Dallas Keuchel
Atlanta Braves
2019 bWAR 2.0
Stats 8-6, 3.63 ERA, 101.2 IP, 1.33 WHIP, 2.9 BB/9, 7.3 K/9
Age 32

Keuchel signed after the season had already started, and pitched a truncated season (missing two months).

Jason Vargas
Philadelphia Phillies
2019 bWAR 1.2
Stats 7-8, 4.40 ERA, 145.1 IP, 1.33 WHIP, 3.4 BB/9, 7.1 K/9
Age 37

Jose Quintana
Chicago Cubs
2019 bWAR 1.1
Stats 13-8, 4.55 ERA, 166 IP, 1.36 WHIP, 2.5 BB/9, 8.0 K/9
Age 31

The Cubs have an $11 million club option on Q, which can be bought out for $1 million (buy him out Cubs buy him out Cubs buy him out Cubs c’mon).

Gio Gonzalez
Milwaukee Brewers
2019 bWAR 1.1
Stats 2-2, 3.86 ERA, 79.1 IP, 1.34 WHIP, 4.0 BB/9, 7.9 K/9
Age 34

Gonzalez opted out of his minor league deal with the Yankees at the end of April before signing with Milwaukee, so he missed the start of the major league season.

Rich Hill
Los Angeles Dodgers
2019 bWAR: 0.9
Stats 4-1, 2.68 ERA, 53.2 IP, 1.14 WHIP, 2.3 BB/9, 10.6 K/9
Age 40

Matt Moore
Detroit Tigers
2019 bWAR 0.7
Stats 0-0, 0.00, 10 IP, 0.40 WHIP, 0.9 BB/9, 8.1 K/9
Age 30

Wade LeBlanc
Seattle Mariners
2019 bWAR 0.5
Stats 6-7, 5.71 ERA, 121.1 IP, 1.45 WHIP, 2.3 BB/9, 6.8 K/9
Age 35

Martin Perez
Minnesota Twins
2019 bWAR 0.3
Stats 10-7, 4.92 ERA, 157.1 IP, 1.49 WHIP, 3.7 BB/9, 7.4 K/9
Age 28

Drew Pomeranz
Milwaukee Brewers
2019 bWAR 0.1
Stats 2-10, 4.95 ERA, 100 IP, 1.48 WHIP, 4.00 BB/9, 11.7 K/9
Age 31

Clayton Richard
Toronto Blue Jays
2019 bWAR -0.1
Stats 1-5, 5.96 ERA, 45.1 IP, 1.57 WHIP, 3.6 BB/9, 4.4 K/9
Age 36

Alex Wood
Cincinnati Reds
2019 bWAR -0.2
Stats 1-3, 5.80 ERA, 35.2 IP, 1.40 WHIP, 2.3 BB/9, 7.6 K/9
Age 29

Drew Smyly
Philadelphia Phillies
2019 bWAR -0.6
Stats 4-7, 6.44 ERA, 107.2 IP, 1.64 WHIP, 3.4 BB/9, 9.3 K/9
Age 30

Derek Holland
Chicago Cubs
2019 bWAR -0.6
Stats 2-4, 5.51 ERA, 81.2 IP, 1.45 WHIP, 4.5 BB/9, 9.0 K/9
Age 33

5 thoughts on “Deep Dive: Available free agent left-handed starters

  1. Getting Quintana back, while Eloy blossoms on the South Side, would be wonderful. I doubt it happens. But if it did? Fantastic!

    Giolito, Kopech, Quintana, Rodon (eventually), Lopez/Cease could be a solid rotation.


  2. I’d be fine with Quintana, but I just don’t see the Cubs buying him out. I have always liked Gonzalez, but I don’t know why the Sox FO shies away from him. I’m afraid I see a Jason Vargas in a Sox uniform in 2020. I don’t wanna.


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