Major League Baseball’s free agency changes have left some veteran players hanging out to dry.
Teams are, for the most part, shying away from going anywhere near players who have draft-pick compensation tied to them, and it's showing in the way this year’s free agency period has unfolded.
Let’s take a look at four guys who have fallen victim to these new rules and where they could end up.
Michael Bourn, CF
Bourn was widely regarded as the second-best free agent in the outfield heading into this year’s offseason. The fact that he remains unsigned speaks volumes about draft-pick compensation and its impact on the league’s free agency system.
While Bourn will likely get continued interest, the outfielder could very well end up back in Atlanta for a discounted price. If no one is willing to pay the hefty asking price (believed to be $100 million) and surrender draft picks and money, the Braves could bring him back to solidify their outfield at a discounted price.
Destination: Atlanta Braves
Adam LaRoche, 1B
LaRoche is easily the best power hitter left on the market, but he likely won’t get a better offer than the two-year deal proposed by the Washington Nationals, his former team.
As with the others, LaRoche is a veteran that is tied to draft-pick compensation. That, his price tag and his desire for a long-term contract are likely factors steering teams away from the powerful lefty.
He hit a career-high 33 HRs and posted a respectable .853 OPS for the Nats in 2012.
Destination: Washington Nationals
Kyle Lohse, SP
Lohse, an aging starter with some gas left in the tank, pitched some of his best baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012. He went 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA as a key cog of the Cards rotation.
Despite his excellent season, the 34-year-old has found himself looking for work without very many people willing to entertain that idea. In fact, no one has made an offer as of yet, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Lohse has gotten some interest even if he hasn’t been offered yet. He is easily the top remaining starting pitcher on the market, and a team could take a plunge soon, once his asking price dwindles even further.
Destination: Texas Rangers
Rafael Soriano, RP
This year might be a little different than last year when Soriano signed in mid-January. Agent Scott Boras is trying to land his client the most lucrative deal that he can.
Soriano remains on the market because of that, but also mainly due to draft-pick compensation.
The veteran closer/reliever will commandeer a big payday, and the added thought of losing a draft pick and draft pool money will deter teams from taking the double plunge.
New York doesn’t seem interested in bringing him back. The Detroit Tigers haven’t publicly reversed their decision to avoid him, but the team would benefit the most from adding the hard-throwing closer.
Destination: Detroit Tigers