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Deep Dive: Free Agent Left-Handed Starting Pitchers

This class is topped by two talented but injury-riddled southpaws.

After Carlos Rodón, the free agent southpaw starter with the next highest bWAR in 2021 was Clayton Kershaw, at 2.4.
| David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

“Deep Dive” focuses on the depth of each position in the Chicago White Sox organization. Each position is broken into a five-part series:

  1. Depth in the rookie levels (Dominican through Arizona)
  2. Depth in A-ball (Kannapolis and Winston-Salem)
  3. Depth in the higher levels (Birmingham and Charlotte)
  4. Under the Radar-type detail on a White Sox player
  5. Free agent options

The White Sox boasted one of the best rotations in the majors in 2021. While the rotation seems fairly set with Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito and Dylan Cease. However, several questions still remain. Will the team be able to replace Carlos Rodón’s 5.0 bWAR last year, or perhaps re-sign him now that he’s a free agent? Will Dallas Keuchel be closer to the 2020 version, or 2021’s? Will Michael Kopech’s arm hold up over a 162-game season? Will Cease continue the improvements he made last year? Was Reynaldo López a fluke last year, or will he continue to be a viable fill-in should an injury occur? If not, are there any starters who could capably fill in at a moment’s notice?

If the team can’t swing a trade due to his weakened farm system, it may behoove the White Sox to pursue a free agent starter to help out in case any of those questions will prove to be a “no” once the season starts. We recently covered right-handed free agent options. Below are the still-available left-handed starters, in descending order by bWAR.

(age as of April 1, 2022)


Carlos Rodón
2021 bWAR: 5.0
Chicago White Sox
Age: 29
13-5, 2.37 ERA, 132.2 IP, 0.96 WHIP, 2.4 BB/9, 12.6 K/9

Rodón had a career year in 2021. Could the White Sox consider re-signing him for 2022?

Clayton Kershaw
2021 bWAR: 2.4
Los Angeles Dodgers
Age: 34
10-8, 3.55 ERA, 121.2 IP, 1.02 WHIP, 1.6 BB/9, 10.7 K/9

Kershaw went 21-3 with a 1.77 ERA for the Dodgers in 2014 and has a career 71.9 bWAR.

Danny Duffy
2021 bWAR: 2.1
Los Angeles Dodgers
Age: 33
4-3, 2.51 ERA, 61 IP, 1.21 WHIP, 3.2 BB/9, 9.6 K/9

Duffy went 12-3 with a 3.51 ERA for the Royals in 2016.

Yusei Kikuchi
2021 bWAR: 1.7
Seattle Mariners
Age: 30
7-9, 4.41 ERA, 157 IP, 1.32 WHIP, 3.6 BB/9, 9.3 K/9

Kikuchi’s 2021 season was his best in the majors to date.

Tyler Anderson
2021 bWAR: 1.6
Pittsburgh Pirates
Age: 32
7-11, 4.53 ERA, 167 IP, 1.25 WHIP, 2.0 BB/9, 7.2 K/9

Anderson posted a respectable 3.54 ERA for the Rockies as a rookie in 2016.

Matthew Boyd
2021 bWAR: 1.4
Detroit Tigers
Age: 31
3-8, 3.89 ERA, 78.2 IP, 1.27 WHIP, 2.6 BB/9, 7.7 K/9

Boyd won nine games for the Tigers in 2018 and 2019.

Kwang Hyun Kim
2021 bWAR: 1.2
St. Louis Cardinals
Age: 33
7-7, 3.46 ERA, 106.2 IP,1.28 WHIP, 3.3 BB/9, 6.8 K/9

In 2021, Kim enjoyed his best major league season.

Drew Smyly
2021 bWAR: 0.5
Atlanta Braves
Age: 32
11-4, 4.48 ERA, 126.2 IP, 1.37 WHIP, 2.9 BB/9, 8.3 K/9

Smyly posted a 3.11 ERA for the Rays in 2015.

Sean Nolin
2021 bWAR: 0.1
Washington Nationals
Age: 32
0-2, 4.39 ERA, 26.2 IP, 1.69 WHIP, 4.4 BB/9, 6.8 K/9

Before 2021, Nolin last pitched in the majors for Oakland in 2015.

Wade LeBlanc
2021 bWAR: 0.1
St. Louis Cardinals
Age: 37
0-2, 4.41 ERA, 49 IP, 1.49 WHIP, 3.1 BB/9, 5.3 K/9

LeBlanc went 9-5 with a 3.72 ERA for the Mariners in 2018.

Cole Hamels
2021 bWAR: 0.0
Los Angeles Dodgers
Age: 38
Didn’t pitch in 2021 due to injury.

Hamels has a career 59.3 bWAR and won 17 games for the Phillies in 2012.

Brett Anderson
2021 bWAR: -0.1
Milwaukee Brewers
Age: 34
4-9, 4.22 ERA, 96 IP, 1.35 WHIP, 2.6 BB/9, 5.4 K/9

Anderson won 13 games with a 3.89 ERA for Oakland in 2019.

Tommy Milone
2021 bWAR: -0.1
Cincinnati Reds
Age: 35
1-0, 6.43 ERA, 14 IP, 1.64 WHIP, 1.9 BB/9, 10.9 K/9

Milone won 13 games with a 3.74 ERA for Oakland in 2012.

Scott Kazmir
2021 bWAR: -0.3
San Francisco Giants
Age: 38
0-1, 6.35 ERA, 11.1 IP, 1.85 WHIP, 4.8 BB/9, 7.9 K/9

Kazmir went 15-9 with a 3.55 ERA for Oakland in 2014.

Jon Lester
2021 bWAR: -0.4
St. Louis Cardinals
Age: 38
7-6, 4.71 ERA, 141.1 IP, 1.51 WHIP, 3.5 BB/9, 5.8 K/9

Lester went 19-5 with a 2.44 ERA for the Cubs in 2016, and has won 200 career games.

Matt Moore
2021 bWAR: -0.8
Philadelphia Phillies
Age: 32
2-4, 6.29 ERA, 73 IP, 1.59 WHIP, 4.7 BB/9, 7.8 K/9

Moore went 17-4 with a 3.29 ERA for the Rays in 2014.

J.A. Happ
2021 bWAR: -1.5
St. Louis Cardinals
Age: 39
10-8, 5.79 ERA, 152.1 IP, 1.48 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, 7.2 K/9

Happ went 20-4 with a 3.13 ERA for the Blue Jays in 2016.

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