A source in the Tampa Bay Rays organization says that outfielder Jermaine Dye is backing off his demand for a contract that promises he’ll get a starting job. The Rays are the only team making that promise, so Dye’s agent Bob Bry is reportedly looking elsewhere and might have contacted the San Francisco Giants.
Dye, 36—yeas old, hit .302 with 20 home runs for the White Sox in the first half of 2009. When he became the topic of trade talks every single day, he fell to .179 with just seven homers in the second half.
Dye ranks No. 1 among American League outfielders in home runs and second in RBI, over the last five seasons, according to STATS LLC. Most seem intent on focusing solely on the last half of last year.
"'I still feel like I'm a productive player and feel like I can contribute, but teams want me as a backup player,'' Dye said in the Chicago Sun Times. ''I feel undervalued. I don't think I have to go out there and prove anything. My numbers the last five or six years show I can help someone.''
Dye was reportedly holding out for, at least, a one—year deal in the $4—$5 million range. But, he has been sobered by offers nowhere near that.
Dye has rejected offers from the Cubs, Angels and Toronto. The Blue Jays offered an everyday job. That leaves Tampa and maybe, making phone calls to teams who aren’t 100 percent sold on their everyday lineup. The Giants have handed the job to Nate Schierholtz, a 26—year old brilliant defender with a strong arm, who hasn’t provided consistent punch in sporadic playing time the past few seasons.
"I have no clue why I'm still out here,'' Dye told Fox Sports. ''It's hard to say, hard to figure it out. You hear that collusion is going on. People want to talk about my defense, and yeah, it slowed down a little bit, but I'm still producing.''
Assuming Dye’s agent did contact the Giants, the organization is likely considering whether the offense Dye can provide (that Schierholtz hasn’t provided in over 400 big league at—bats) offsets whatever shortcomings Dye has in the outfield. The idea of splitting time with Dye and Schierholtz—or using Schierholtz when superior defense is required—could make the signing of Dye worth considering.
The Cubs reportedly offered Dye one year for $3 million. When word reached the Rays source, who requested anonymity, the club insider inferred that Dye is at the point where he might be willing to drop his demand to be handed a full-time job and accept an incentive—laden contract for $2—$3 million for one season.
“When our people talked to the Giants informally,” the Rays source said. “They weren’t sold on their outfield situation. Jermaine might be willing to sign for a year to try to put up big numbers and get one more big contract next winter.”
If the season opened today, Schierholtz would be in right next to Aaron Rowand in center. Mark DeRosa would be an everyday left fielder for the first time in a career spent as a corner infielder.
Manager Bruce Bochy likes to mix and match lineups. Freeing DeRosa to play the infield while Freddie Sanchez is out would give Bochy flexibility. If Dye came on board, playing not far from where he attended high school in Vacaville and played for the Oakland Athletics, Schierholtz and Eugenio Velez could get plenty of innings in the outfield.
DeRosa could play first base in a platoon situation with Aubrey Huff and the outfield. Velez could replace the injured Sanchez. DeRosa could also spell Pablo Sandoval at third base, preventing the young slugger from wearing down.
The Giants did not return telephone calls or e—mails about reports regarding Dye. One club employee did say that the idea of Schierholtz, Rowand and Dye in the outfield appeals to some officials who pushed to sign DeRosa as an infielder in the off—season.