Walking Wounded Headed For Free Agency by Dave Cameron May 26, 2009 I was talking to Eric this afternoon about Erik Bedard, and during the conversation, I mentioned something to him that I noticed a while ago but hadn’t talked about here – this winter is shaping up to be a free agent auction of the walking wounded. Ever wondered how much a talented but injury prone starting pitcher is worth? We’re going to find out this winter. The list of potential free agent pitchers this winter is littered with names who offer remarkable upside when healthy, but are among the pitchers that have track records showing that they just can’t really be counted on. Erik Bedard. Rich Harden. Ben Sheets. Kelvim Escobar. Brad Penny. John Smoltz. Justin Duchscherer. Carl Pavano. Jason Schmidt. If you were going to assemble the All-Time-Talented-But-Fragile Pitching Staff, those nine would probably end up prominently featured. It’s a collection of big arms with top shelf stuff, all of whom come with needles, scar tissue, and more than enough MRIs to build a bridge to nowhere. It’s a veritable plethora of pitching potential wrapped in all the reminders of how fragile an arm really is. A couple of years ago, a rotation of Bedard-Harden-Sheets would be the kind of thing that dreams were made of. Now, it’s a race to see which of them can grab the largest collection of innings-based contract incentives. It should be interesting, if nothing else. Last winter, we saw a glut of corner outfielders hit the market at the same time that teams were shifting away from poor defensive sluggers. This winter, the market will be saturated with ultra high risk/reward pitchers. We’ll find out pretty quickly how well teams have learned from the mistakes of the past – like, say, the last time Schmidt was available in free agency.