5 Under the Radar MLB Free Agent Starters That Will Improve Your Team

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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3. Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz quietly had a very nice season last year for the Arizona Diamondbacks, joining the team in May after a stint in the minors and finishing the year with a 2.01 ERA. He even went pretty deep in most of his starts, averaging 6.1 innings a start with a highlight of 7.1 innings a start in August.

These numbers are great, and by metrics alone, Buchholz is probably the best starter on this list. Unfortunately, these numbers are overshadowed by his injury history; it will take a lot for teams around the league to stop viewing Buchholz as a player with durability issues. In 12 major league seasons, Buchholz has never been able to reach 30 starts, and he’s often on the disabled list.

It does not help Buchholz’s case that he ended last year on the DL, though he told MLB.com’s Alyson Footer that he is optimistic about his return next year. A big thing that Buchholz has going for him is how tenacious he’s been through these injuries, particularly last season. Many people had written off or forgotten about him going into 2018, and he had to prove himself in AA and AAA before the Diamondbacks were willing to give him a call-up.

If Buchholz was willing to prove himself in the minors last year it’s likely that he’d be willing to do the same this year, especially if it seemed like the team that signs him is serious about bringing him back up to the majors if he performs well. Front offices that pursue this path could find themselves with a sub 3.00 ERA starter for the cost of a minor leaguer, something that could be hard to pass up for a team with a thin rotation.