Who says there's no free-agent news in Major League Baseball after the season has started?
While that may have been the case in years past, the winter of 2013-14 was a unique animal that showed the value teams are placing on draft picks, young players and money.
At a time when the sport is flush with cash from national and local television deals, a lot of teams used their new financial gain to sign homegrown talent to long-term contracts that save them the burden of having to go through arbitration in the future.
It also doesn't help that some agents, as well as a few free agents, overplayed their hand during the offseason, expecting a market to open up that never developed.
Whatever the reason for so many big names still on the market, the tide could be swinging in their favor now that games are being played and injuries have occurred. Here are the latest rumors involving the biggest names available.
Stephen Drew market warming up?
The best free agent sitting on the market is Stephen Drew. The 31-year-old had the second-best year of his career, by Wins Above Replacement, in 2013 with Boston. He slugged over .440 and played stellar defense.
It seemed fair that Drew—and Scott Boras—would look to cash in on that success, but it clearly hasn't worked out the way they thought.
On the bright side, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that nothing is imminent, but a handful of teams including Detroit, Toronto, Boston and both New York teams could jump back in on Drew:
The market seems a little less clear on Drew, but the Tigers, Blue Jays, Mets, Red Sox and Yankees all have been linked to the veteran shortstop and could make sense for him --though Yankees people say they are 'tapped out' at the moment.
That's hardly a sign that something is imminent, and Heyman also notes that teams are contemplating waiting until after the draft, when Drew no longer costs them a draft pick, to make a move.
Kendrys Morales moving closer to a deal?
Another Boras client who had draft compensation attached to him, Kendrys Morales is a valuable asset for teams in need of a power bat.
While the potential market for Morales isn't as robust as Drew's, simply due to lack of positional value, Heyman also wrote that teams have been getting a look at the first baseman/designated hitter:
The Orioles, Mariners and Brewers are among several teams believed to have interest in the first baseman/DH Morales, whose market seems to be percolating in particular now -- though it's still possible Morales could wait until after the June draft to sign to entirely alleviate the issue of the attachment of a draft choice. The Pirates, who have mostly been looking at the trade market for a first baseman, also could make sense for Morales.
Which free agent will sign first?
Morales doesn't seem like a good fit for the Pirates, who have more than enough low-OBP, high-power hitters in their lineup (Pedro Alvarez, Russell Martin). The Orioles already have a player best used in a DH role (Nelson Cruz).
That leaves the Mariners, also boasting their fair share of DH types (Logan Morrison, Corey Hart), and Brewers as the best fits. Seattle is very familiar to him, having spent last season with the club.
Milwaukee needs to plug its hole at first base. Currently, Lyle Overbay and Mark Reynolds are trying to hold down the fort, but that has implosion written all over it sooner than later.
Of course, if the Brewers aren't real threats for a playoff spot, what's the point in spending the money to add a player like Morales?
So many questions with so few answers. It's Morales' free agency in a nutshell.
Yankees not panicking following David Robertson's injury
One week into the David Robertson era as closer, he landed on the disabled list with a groin injury. That leaves another hole in a bullpen that already lacked depth, so the natural assumption is the Yankees would panic.
It's a logical assumption, because whenever the Yankees get in trouble, their first order of business is to throw money at the problem.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports that isn't the case this time, even though there are two relievers waiting to find a job:
The Yankees are unlikely to pursue free-agent alternatives such as Joel Hanrahan and Ryan Madson, figuring such pitchers would need time to get ready and that Robertson might miss only 15 days.
You do wonder if the Yankees aren't at least kicking the tires on Hanrahan or Madson, or someone along those lines, in case their bullpen falters later in the year.
With no interest in relievers, and the previous note about Drew not being on the radar, we may have found the limits to New York's excessive lifestyle. It's easy to see that in April while things are going well, for the most part.
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