MLB Free Agency: 8 Un-Retired MLB Veterans Still in FA Limbo
In the early 2000s, every summer there were rumors surrounding Roger Clemens and whether or not he would come pitch for a team for half of a season. Clemens was good enough to make a huge difference for teams even at an advanced age, even if he was helped by PEDs.
There are still some players that could help some teams that are currently retired or simply free agents. These guys are a mix bag of pitchers and position players that all bring their own strengths to the game.
With that said, these guys can't be expected to completely change the fortune of a team, but simply to help improve their chances to become a playoff team.
So let's get to the list of players that could be making a comeback at some point this season.
Ben Sheets, RHP
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At one point in his career, Sheets was about as good as any pitcher in the game. He saw his career derailed by injuries though, and is currently a free agent at the age of 32.
Sheets posted an ERA of 4.53 in 20 starts in 2010 before tearing his flexor in his right elbow.
It seems crazy to think that Sheets is just two full seasons removed from a 13-9 record in 2008 when he posted an ERA of 3.08.
I think Sheets would fit well for teams that are looking for a veteran guy that can help out of the bullpen. It would be best for him to try and throw an inning or two instead of starting games, though he could likely still help teams like that too.
Jermaine Dye, RF/DH
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It seems hard for me to believe that nobody picked up Dye after his 2009 season in which he hit .250 with 27 homers. He was just 35 at the time and looked to me like he still had a year or two left in him, but nobody else thought so.
Dye officially retired on March 31, 2011. He was still looking for a job, but nobody called. I can bet that he is still in good shape though.
Dye's right-handed power would still undoubtedly help any team that needs a shot of power. He would be best suited for a designated hitter job, so he has a bit limited with that.
Dye should be one of the first free agents teams called if they feel they need some cheap power.
Mike Sweeney, 1B/DH
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Sweeney retired on March 25th, but if a team came calling there might be a chance that he would come back to aid a playoff run.
Sweeney was one of the most underrated players of his time, posting a career average of .297 with 215 HR and nearly 1,000 RBI.
In 2010, Sweeney hit .252 with eight homers and 26 RBI in 56 games. Those aren't bad numbers for the now 37-year-old. I see him as having a little bit left in the tank for a team that wants a solid veteran bat off the bench.
Jeff Weaver, RHP
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While younger brother Jered is currently destroying opposing hitters in 2011, Jeff Weaver is a free agent and likely will never pitch in a major league game again.
Weaver was always an up-and-down pitcher that had the ability to be a great pitcher but could never find consistency in his production.
After a very good 1009, Weaver sank back into his old ways and posted an ERA over six in 2010 and is a free agent now because of it. The 34-year-od surely still has something left in the tank though.
Weaver could always be called upon by a team that goes through some injuries in its bullpen. He still possesses a decent arm and has a ton of experience, something that some teams may find valuable.
Mike Lowell, 3B
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After a good 2009 season in which he hit .290 and 17 homers, Lowell battled injuries along with being a utility player to only hit .239 in 2010.
Lowell is not the player he once was, but he still has some decent pop in his bat and a solid glove at third or first. If the right team was to come calling, he may just pick it up and give it a try. It's a very long shot though, and is unlikely to happen.
Scot Shields, RHP
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Scot Shields was a long time great relief pitcher for the Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim. He retired following the 2010 season, but at 35 years old he could still pitch in the majors if a team were to come calling for him.
Shields struggled in 2009 (6.62 ERA) and 2010 (5.28 ERA), but may be able to turn it around a bit and get an ERA closer to four.
Shields may not wish to come back, but I wouldn't be surprised if he were to get a phone call or two.
Pedro Martinez, RHP
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Pedro Martinez is one of the greatest pitchers of all time. At the age of 39, I wouldn't be surprised if Martinez still had a little bit of juice for one more strong second half of baseball.
The last season in the big leagues for Martinez was 2009, when he posted a record of 5-1 with a 3.63 ERA.
Martinez, in my opinion, would be one of the top options for a team that would be looking for a veteran arm, whether it be in the rotation or out of the bullpen.
Bengie Molina, C
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For some reason I have a feeling that Molina will in fact be picked up by someone this season. He is a veteran player that has been around. He's not the player that he used to be, Molina's experience would be a great asset to any team in the league.
There have been a lot of injuries lately, one in particular was the Buster Posey injury. Molina was apparently wanting for the Giants to call him.
With the rash of injuries to catchers around the league, Molina is likely going to have someone try and bring him onto the team, but who would it be?