Biggest impact free agent pitcher…
Could be Ben Sheets. Of all the guys on the market, from a pure pitching standpoint, Ben is the best when you combine stuff with command. Obviously you can’t operate in a bubble and disregard health but like many other low-risk, high-reward guys, you are looking at a guy with absolute power/strike out stuff who has fantastic command within the strike zone.
Being a right-handed curveball pitcher, he will give up his share of HR’s, but of all the guys in the game today, if I had to call out one guy that I think mirrored my stuff from a power/command standpoint, this is the guy. The other would be Josh, but he was far more of a power guy with power stuff at a much younger period than I was, plus he sucks at golf.
Ben will be 31 this year, so you are looking at a guy who could offer up 3-5 ace years if healthy. That is a big if, but no bigger than some other signings. He should be better than three games over, his ERA in my opinion should be lower, but you put this guy with the medical staff here, and John Farrell/Jason Varitek and he could be the best pitcher in the AL, or a top-three Cy guy.
If I was Ben, my No. 1 concern would be to get with a team that had a state of the art medical team, facility and was very “API”-ish about approaching the season.
I keep waiting to look at the box scores one year and see him at 14-2 at the break on the way to a 24-win season and an 8/1 or 9/1 K/BB ratio.
The other X factor for me is I don’t know him that well. I don’t know if he pitches through pain, if he needs to be 110% to ‘feel good’ or what, but I’ve never heard anything but good things about him.
I would love to see him wind up down in Tampa or with the Cubs.
Oh and one more thing. How the hell is Orlando Hudson not signed? This guy is an impact player on both sides of the line.