2014 MLB Free Agents: Highlighting Top Players Currently on the Market

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IDecember 26, 2013

ARLINGTON, TX - JUNE 17:  Nelson Cruz #17 of the Texas Rangers rounds third base after hitting a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on June 17, 2013 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Robinson Cano, Jacoby Ellsbury and a handful of topflight free agents have already signed new long-term deals. But that doesn't mean the free agent pool is all dried up.

With a plethora of veterans and big bats remaining on the market, there's plenty of talent still out there.

Below we'll highlight a trio of free agents still available heading into the final days of December.


Nelson Cruz, OF

ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 31:  Nelson Cruz #17 of the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on July 31, 2013 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Veteran outfielder Nelson Cruz spent the past eight seasons with the Texas Rangers, but he is in search of a new team this winter.

The 33-year-old has struggled somewhat at the plate over the past two seasons. However, the bigger issue stems from his 50-game suspension last summer after he was linked to the Biogenesis drug case in January 2013. As a result, teams have been hesitant to pursue Cruz.

If a team does take a chance on him, they'll be acquiring a powerful bat capable of 25 or so home runs and 80 to 90 RBI per year, per ESPN's Mark Simon on Twitter:

There have been plenty of rumors surrounding Cruz's name since the season ended, but the Seattle Mariners appear to be in the driver's seat to sign him, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale on Twitter:


Stephen Drew, SS

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 30:  Stephen Drew #7 of the Boston Red Sox fields a ball against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game Six of the 2013 World Series at Fenway Park on October 30, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Journeyman shortstop Stephen Drew is still available heading into the new year.

A world champion with the Boston Red Sox in 2013, Drew has played for three different teams since 2012 and lacks the consistent plate production to warrant big money this offseason. However, the 30-year-old infielder is an exceptional defender.

On Dec. 23, The New York Post's Kevin Kernan pointed to both the Yankees and Mets as potential destinations for Drew: 

The New York Daily News' Kristie Ackert reported around the same time that the Mets are unlikely to bite on Drew.

While the Mets are continuing to explore their options at short, they have focused their efforts on the trade front — or appear willing to give the 24-year old [Ruben] Tejada a second chance. Speaking last week at the Mets’ holiday party, GM Sandy Alderson said it might be easier to keep a light-hitting shortstop in the lineup now that he has added [Curtis] Granderson.

"It is more likely certainly than it was a couple of months ago,” Alderson said of Tejada as the Mets starting shortstop in 2014. “But we've improved the team at other positions, so giving Ruben a chance to reestablish himself as an everyday player isn’t such a bad thing. But we'll continue to monitor what's there both in the trade market and conceivably in the free agent market, even though there isn't much there."

While the Mets may be content with their current shortstop situation, there's definitely a few teams out there that would be interested in bringing Drew aboard for the right price. 


Kendrys Morales, 1B/DH

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 1: Kendrys Morales #8 of the Seattle Mariners singles in a run in the 5th inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on August 1, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Like Cruz and Drew, first baseman Kendrys Morales has had very little luck finding a new home since the 2013 season ended.

The veteran slugger recorded 80 RBI and 23 homers in 2013 with the Seattle Mariners, but has failed to impress since his career year with the Los Angeles Angels in 2009. The 30-year-old Cuban would bat .306 with 108 RBI and 34 home runs that season and subsequently finish inside the top five in American League MVP voting.

If a team is willing to take a risk or can afford to, Morales has obvious potential at the plate. The question will be whether he can deliver on a consistent basis and avoid costly droughts, per ESPN Stats & Info on Twitter:

It's unlikely that Morales will ever regain his 2009 form, but he's a powerful switch hitter with invaluable big league experience.


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