Ranking the best free agent pitching targets

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6. Brandon McCarthy

Sep 17, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher

Brandon McCarthy

(38) reacts after he gave up a solo home run during the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

McCarthy, liked many of the other names on this list, is a pitcher who has experienced significant ups and downs in recent years. This is not a coincidence; these are exactly the types of players Cherington locks in on, and will be targets to watch this winter. McCarthy was a journeyman to start his career, with unmemorable stops in Chicago (White Sox), and Texas before finding his footing with the A’s in 2011. McCarthy pitched like an ace in Oakland, with 4.9 WAR and maintained an ERA in the low 3’s (3.32 in 2011, career best 3.24 in 2012) before he promptly skipped town for a lucrative contract with the Diamondbacks.

Unfortunately, like many pitchers do, he crashed and burned in the hitter-friendly Chase Field as a D-back. After scuffling in his first year, he really plummeted this past seaso,n leading to the Yankees taking a flyer on him this summer. Like Volquez, McCarthy was one who paid dividends, nearly single-handedly leading the Yankees on what became Derek Jeter‘s final playoff push. McCarthy brought a 5.01 ERA over from Arizona, but achieved a 2.89 ERA while wearing pinstripes. McCarthy has a history of injuries, including concussions, which will rightfully give many teams pause. But, this type of aggressive signing is right in the new front office’s wheel house, and were it not for a recent report that he wants to return to New York next spring, he would likely be higher on this list.