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R.A. Dickey, Bartolo Colon, Jesse Chavez come off board as starting pitching market tightens

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates appear likely to pursue a mid-grade starting pitcher this offseason (or perhaps a low-grade one, but let's give them the benefit of the doubt for now). The number of starters on that market has shrunk in the early days of free agency, with R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon heading to the Braves (at $8 million and $12.5 million, respectively) and Jesse Chavez to the Angels (at $5.75 million plus incentives). Chavez pitched in relief last season, but the Angels apparently intend to have him start.

There wasn't any particular reason to expect the Pirates to sign any of these three pitchers, of course. Colon has been a good, undervalued commodity for years now, but he'll be 44 in May. Dickey, as a knuckleballer, perhaps doesn't figure to benefit as much from the Pirates' coaching as another pitcher might, and he isn't much younger than Colon is. And Chavez is a pretty off-the-beaten-track choice as a starting pitcher.

These signings do at least suggest that the market is proceeding as anticipated. MLBTR projected Colon would get $10 million and Dickey $8 million, so other mid-grade starting pitching options (including pitchers like Andrew Cashner, Derek Holland and former Pirates Edinson Volquez and Charlie Morton) seem likely to come off the board at about their anticipated prices as well.