The 2014 Major League Baseball draft began Thursday, and several of the amateurs selected will focus on achieving their dream of reaching the big leagues and making an impact in The Show one day.
There's only one player, though, who can rightfully expect to make an impact this season now that the draft is underway. That's Kendrys Morales, who isn't some fresh-faced teenage draftee but a grizzled veteran who's been stuck in free-agent purgatory since the end of the 2013 campaign.
In many ways, however, the draft marks a new beginning for Morales, who at last is no longer anchored down by draft-pick compensation for rejecting the $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Seattle Mariners last November. Morales was one of 13 free agents to do so, but he remains the only one still unsigned after shortstop Stephen Drew reached a deal to return to the Boston Red Sox in late May.
Morales, a switch-hitter who turns 31 later this month, can still get it done with the bat—he averaged .275/.329/.457, 23 homers and 77 RBI across 2012 and 2013—which means he'll have teams angling to bring him aboard for a midseason boost.
Here's a rundown of clubs who could make a play for Morales.