5 MLB Free Agents Who Must Drop Demands to Avoid Being Left out in the Cold
Most players remaining on the list of 2013 MLB free agents could find work for this upcoming season if they dropped their demands. Refusing to do so will keep them shivering in the cold instead of enjoying the spring training sunshine from Arizona or Florida.
Each of the following unsigned veterans played in the majors last summer.
However, teams won't touch them until they show a willingness to compromise their asking prices and preferred conditions.
Damon must be patient if he wants to continue playing.
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Johnny Damon struggled at age 38 and didn't make it through the summer. The Cleveland Indians released him in early August after 64 games.
A lack of arm strength has forced him to shift from center field to left, and even there, he's a defensive liability.
At first glance, last season's .222/.281/.329 triple-slash line is unsightly. The fact that nearly 80 percent of his plate appearances came against right-handed pitchers makes it even worse.
According to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe, the two-time World Series champion will retire if he isn't signed by the start of spring training.
But aging platoon players often aren't.
Young needs to settle for a pay cut in 2013.
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Compared to Johnny Damon, Delmon Young is a dozen years younger and significantly more powerful at the plate.
Surprisingly, the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees—who desperately seek a designated hitter and right-handed outfielder, respectively—aren't interested.
Why not? Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer suspects he has a high asking price.
Despite perceived character issues, Young could certainly find work in 2013. He just needs to demand less from prospective employers.
Gonzalez suffered a torn ACL in May.
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Tom Haudricourt of the Milwuakee Journal Sentinel reports that the Milwaukee Brewers have a "standing offer" for Alex Gonzalez to return in a reserve role. The shortstop hasn't accepted, though, because he's seeking more playing time.
Honestly, nobody is going to guarantee him a starting job. Gonzalez turns 36 next month, and he's coming off reconstructive knee surgery.
Backup work could also be available on teams like the Miami Marlins and Minnesota Twins, who have inexperienced shortstops of their own.
The former All-Star will ultimately need to settle for a small salary.
Hudson played sparingly for the Chicago White Sox.
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You won't believe what Orlando Hudson told Scott Powers of ESPNChicago.com in September:
There’s definitely more things I want to do in the game. I want to achieve some more goals, let’s leave it at that. Personally, I still think I have more years in me left to play every day, of course.
His OPS has been declining for four straight seasons. Hudson batted .204/.261/.312 last summer and was equally inept for the San Diego Padres and Chicago White Sox.
The longtime second baseman tried the hot corner in 2012, but admits that "it just wasn’t the comfort zone."
Any team interested in a veteran infielder would likely reach out to Kelly Johnson, Adam Kennedy or even Ronny Cedeno before Hudson. The 35-year-old is pretty much on par with Chone Figgins.
Soriano's reported asking price is outrageous.
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Any MLB bullpen would be much better off with Rafael Soriano.
However, this Scott Boras client has unrealistic expectations about his contract terms.
New York Yankees president Randy Levine says Boras believed he could secure a four-year, $60 million deal for the reliever, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The super-agent disputes that, but expects more than $13.3 million, the value of the qualifying offer made by Soriano's former club.
By declining to re-sign with New York, the closer connected himself to draft-pick compensation. Teams will not consider paying an eight-figure annual salary and surrendering a potential top prospect just to have Soriano pitch 60-70 innings per season.
This 33-year-old needs to price himself appropriately.