Oakland Athletics’ Top Free Agent Targets for 2016

4 of 6

Oct 9, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher John Lackey reacts after inducing a double play to end the top of the 7th inning in game one of the NLDS against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Samantha Riley: The Oakland Athletics need to sign a veteran starter this offseason and there will be a ton of starting pitcher free agents on the market. That being said, the Athletics are not going to go after pitchers like David Price, Zack Greinke or Johnny Cueto. However, John Lackey could be a good fit for the team and he may come at a more reasonable price. Lackey has 12 years of MLB experience and would provide great leadership and support for the younger members of the Athletics’ starting rotation. He had an extremely impressive 2015 season posting a 2.77 ERA with a 13-10 record over 33 starts, but his success has largely flown under the radar.

Additionally, this two-time World Series champion’s price tag could be within Oakland’s budget. Due to a clause in his contract with Boston, this veteran pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals at the league minimum this season – just $507,500. His salary will definitely get a huge bump in 2016, but, since he will be 37 years old and he has already undergone elbow surgery, it may not be as high as some of the other older veteran starters and any contract he is offered is expected to be kept to three years at most.

* * * * *

Daniel Martnez: The Oakland A’s need a veteran starting pitcher in their rotation and should sign a pitcher who has put up big strike out numbers in 30 year old righty, Ian Kennedy. For the 2015 season, he complied a 4.28 ERA but played for a underachieving team, the Padres. Kennedy will get a lot of attention on the free agent market for his ability to strike out batters along with his ability to stay healthy. Kennedy has been a work horse over his career, where he has made over 30 starts over the past 6 seasons. His biggest strengths are his strike out ratio of 9.30 per 9 innings pitched in ’15.

His biggest weakness this past year was giving up the long ball in which he gave up 31 home runs in 168.1 innings. Also, his agent is Scott Boras, who is known for getting his players big money contracts. If the A’s can sign Kennedy, to pair him with pitching coach Curt Young who can bring out his full potential, you could be looking at Oakland’s number two starter for the 2016 season.

Next: Free Agent Targets