Ok... we all know from last year that Wayne is a last minute shopper. So I humbly submit the following names of starting pitchers the Reds can go get right now.
While no one available on the open market has great stats right now... the two numbers I thought I would at least look at are groundball-to-flyball ratio (since we know how GABP plays) and last year's salary.
With that in mind... and with the list below... I declare the pitcher the Reds should be (and may well be) talking to is... Mark Mulder.
Yes, he's coming off surgery. A risk. But I suspect you can get him for a one year contract to show he's healthy (possibly laden with incentives). Reports have him talking to St. Louis, Texas and "maybe" Cleveland. I think we're Cleveland actually.
Relevant points: BCast knows Mulder from his days in St. Louis. Knows he would be one "name" player that we could afford, to make good on his promise to make a splash and spend some dough (since AGon and Stanton, while upgrades, are clearly not splashes). It would also set St. Louis back to steal him from them, which doubly helps us. You also have to know that when we spend money for a defensive specialist shortstop, we're going to put him to work. Hence, my belief in signing a groundball pitcher.
I know folks want Homer to be the guy come spring. But I say you have to prepare for him not being ready. And to do that, you have to go get another starter. As we transition from an offensive club to the Krivsky/Minnesota model of pitching and defense, you need at least 3 good starters. Then let your depth fill in the other spots. We're stuck with Milton (who will perform better, if only because it's another contract year for him) and I think Lohse is a nice low-end fifth starter. Then we can watch Paul Wilson battle back and/or the Lizard take some maturation steps in AAA.
Anyway... here's the list. See who jumps out at you.
FREE AGENT STARTERS - CURRENTLY AVAILABLE
Armas... 1 GB/FB ratio... made $2 mill last year
Chen... .83 ratio... made $3.8 mill last year
Estes... 1.79 ratio... made $1.1 mill last year... hurt in April, could be a great one year incentive contract
Moehler... 1.54 ratio... made $1.5 mill last year
Mulder... 2 ratio... made $7.75 mill last year... shut down in August, incentive contract with respect for his abilities
Ohka... 1.43 ratio... made $4.5 mill last year... knows central well
Park... 1.2 ratio... made $16 mill last year... might want to re-establish himself with a one year contract
Pineiro... 1.29 ratio... $6.8 mill last year... might want to re-establish himself with a one year contract
Redman... 1 ratio... $4.5 mill last year... lefty
Sele... 1.31 ratio... $???... consistent winner
Thomson... 1.28 ratio... $4.75 mill last year
Traschel... 1.23 ratio... $2.5 mill last year
Jeff Weaver... 1.16 ratio... $8.3 mill last year... might want to re-establish himself with a one year contract... could also get along with Arroyo and give the Reds a nasty-boys rotation
Wells... 1.17 ratio... $4 mill last year... considering retiring, one more year?
Jerome Williams... 1.18 ratio... $380k last year... only 25, worth a risk?
Jamey Wright... 2 ratio... $500k last year... 2.53 ratio last year!
Vic Zambrano... 1.31 ratio... $3 mill last year...coming off arm surgery, looking for a bounceback year?
and for comparison sake:
Zito... .89 ratio... $7.9 mill last year... likely seeking $15-18 mill a year multiyear contract