The A's set out to upgrade their starting pitching this offseason, and re-signing Mike Fiers was a step in the right direction. But, they still have work to do.
Realistically, Oakland would like to add at least one more starter, probably two. With that in mind, here's a market reset on the top remaining starting pitchers in free agency:
First tier: Dallas Keuchel
Keuchel is the last big-name starter still available, but he is way out of Oakland's price range. The 30-year-old southpaw figures to get at least $20 million a year after notching two All-Star Game appearances and a Cy Young Award over the last four seasons.
Second tier: Clay Buchholz, Gio Gonzalez, Jeremy Hellickson, Derek Holland, Edwin Jackson, Wade Miley, Drew Pomeranz, Ervin Santana
This is where the A's will likely continue their search. They have already reached out to Edwin Jackson and Clay Buchholz, although no deal is imminent with either.
Jackson would probably cost at least $6 million on a one-year contract, especially after some of the big contracts other starters have signed this offseason. NBC Sports California reported last week that Jackson and the A's are far apart in negotiations at the moment.
Fancred's Jon Heyman expects Buchholz to get $7 million or more. In fact, Heyman projects every pitcher in this group to earn at least $5 million next season, with Gio Gonzalez and Wade Miley getting $10 million apiece. That may be too high a price for the A's to pay, since their payroll is already nearing $90 million.
Drew Pomeranz is an intriguing option. The 30-year-old left-hander, and former Athletic, is just a year removed from going 17-6 with a 3.32 ERA in Boston. Similarly, Ervin Santana was an All-Star in 2017, finishing the season 16-8 with a 3.28 ERA. Heyman projects both to get $6 million.
Derek Holland and Jeremy Hellickson are coming off strong seasons in 2018. Holland compiled an ERA of 3.57 across the Bay in San Francisco, while Hellickson's ERA was a superb 3.45 with the Phillies. Heyman has each getting just $5 million.
All of these pitchers could be good fits in Oakland. The A's will likely try to wait them out and see who is still available come February or March and hope for a discount.
Third tier: Brett Anderson, Marco Estrada, Doug Fister, Jaime Garcia, Miguel Gonzalez, Francisco Liriano, Shelby Miller, James Shields
This group will provide the most realistic salary options for the A’s. Oakland has some interest in bringing back Brett Anderson, though it could be on a minor-league deal. The same would almost certainly be true for Shelby Miller, with whom the A's have made contact following his non-tender from the Diamondbacks.
Heyman projects Marco Estrada, Francisco Liriano, and James Shields to all receive at least $4 million next year, which seems far too high a price for flawed pitchers at this point in their careers.
Doug Fister, Jaime Garcia, and Miguel Gonzalez have all struggled in the past couple of years. Of course, the A's have had past success resurrecting pitching careers. Just look at Jackson and Trevor Cahill last season.
Oakland figures to play the waiting game with this group of pitchers and hope for another bargain or two late in the offseason.