Jordan Zimmernann - He's lost a tick on his fastball, dropped the changeup (only thrown 5 times according to Brooks, same velocity and movement), and is throwing his breaking stuff harder and more often to get his whiffs. The big thing with him is the past TJ surgery and the recent stuff about that surgery only lasting about 7 years before the arm is in danger again. Gotta think he's the best candidate to get Shields/Jimenez/Garza'd in FA. A virtual lock to get the QO unless traded. Trading for him today is probably a better idea than giving him a FA contract if you're scared of the past surgery.
Samardzija - Throwing a shyte ton more cutters than usual, almost 30% as opposed to 11% as a SP with the Cubs and A's. He's throwing his splitter less often AND getting less whiffs on it. OTOH, he still throws hard, still generates swings and misses with his fastball, has never been on the DL let alone been cut open, is physically the biggest and most athletic FA SP...I would like him back, might prefer him more than any other available RHSP in FA given his health. Might get traded, which will prevent the QO.
Ben Zobrist - Might get traded, eliminating the QO, and is putting up a .776 OPS in Oakland (ML average OPS this year is .710 lol). The idea of Zobrist is great. He's a modern prototype - 6'3" contact hitter who will take a walk, has some power, and can play everything but C or P in a pinch. He'll catch [expletive] for being 35 in FA, but just being what he's been at such a high level for so long in such [expletive] places (Trop and Oakland) to hit keeps me interested.
One non-MLB FA that I am extremely interested in, if he can get out this time, is Cuban 2B Jose Fernandez. He might have been caught trying to defect last offseason, which has happened to a couple of current MLers (Puig IIRC and maybe de Aza?). Badler considered him the third best ML prospect in Cuba last summer, and BA had this on his performance:
Fernandez, 26, is Baseball America’s No. 3 player still in Cuba. At 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, Fernandez has excellent plate discipline and bat control from the left side, hitting .326/.482/.456 with 65 walks and 10 strikeouts in 314 plate appearances during the 2013-14 season. He was batting .315/.415/.426 with only one strikeout in 65 plate appearances this season until he was kicked off the team. He’s a better player than the two most recent top Cuban signings, Castillo and Diamondbacks outfielder Yasmany Tomas. Since Fernandez has more than five seasons of experience in Cuba, he too would be exempt from the international bonus pools if he ever does leave to pursue a contract with a major league team.
He played and played well in the 2013 WBC.
Price - It's just a matter of how willing to are to drop a record contract on a FA pitcher, duh. Price is excellent.
Too lazy to do Greinke and Cueto, but beyond 3 years for either I start getting nervous. I really like Greinke too, and frankly would love to do a 2002 draft theme on the rotation (Hamels, Lester, Greinke, and Kazmir). I'm leery of Kazmir, but he's a lefty with a 93 MPH fastball that generates swings and misses on its own so of course I'm at least a little interested. His cutter and changeup are quality pitches too. Terrified of doing 3 years with him, and it'll probably be 3 years.