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Let’s play guess-the-projected-FIP, using the Bill James projections on FanGraphs:

3.67, 3.77, 3.84, 4.05, 4.21, 4.23

In order, that’s Rich Harden, Andy Pettitte, John Lackey, Brad Penny, Randy Wolf, and Carl Pavano. All of these guys have already signed for 2010 (or in Pavano’s case, accepted arbitration).

Now how about this group:

3.60, 3.67, 4.22, 4.39, 4.56, 4.59, 4.60, 4.70

These are some of the unsigned guys still on the market: Erik Bedard, Pedro Martinez, Joel Pineiro, Doug Davis, Jon Garland, Brett Myers, Jarrod Washburn, and Jason Marquis. Some good, some bad, mostly just a lot of adequacy in this group.

And then there are these two:

3.25, 3.72

That’s Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee. I would bet the under on Lee’s projection, and the fans on FG overwhelmingly agree. These guys are obviously the two best pitchers that will move this offseason. But there’s also this guy:


Any guesses? That’s a pretty robust projection, right up there with Halladay, Zack Greinke (3.31), Johan Santana (3.42), C.C. Sabathia (3.44), and a bunch of relievers. He’s also a future Hall of Famer, which you would think would make him less under the radar.

Yeah, it’s John Smoltz. The guy who put up a 3.87 FIP and 3.84 xFIP in what was considered a pretty crappy season. Sure, he’s had injury problems the last two years. And whether it was just blind luck or not, he did flame out pretty quickly in the AL East.

But I don’t think there’s any question that he’s the best pitcher left on the market. If he’s healthy, he might even be this year’s best free agent pitcher, period. For NL teams that expect to contend, here’s your lottery ticket.

Feedback? Write a comment, or e-mail the author at shawn(AT)squawkingbaseball.com

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