MLB Free Agent Bats – Gauging Their Markets
Kendrys Morales – 1B
Morales appears recovered from his ankle injuries that cost him almost two full seasons and had a solid year in a pitcher-friendly home park with the Mariners. He’s a switch-hitter with power from both sides of the plate and is a serviceable defensive first baseman.
Represented by Scott Boras, Morales won’t want to take a lowball offer. Nor should he. He’s a better, more productive hitter than that. Morales would be ideal for an American League club that needs pop at DH and will use him intermittently at first base. The Twins or Orioles are good spots for him and he’ll produce for the length of a three-to-four year deal. With the Orioles, he might hit 40 homers.
Michael Young - INF
Young might be the most ridiculed career .300 hitter in the history of baseball. No player invites more caveats and qualifications for what he’s accomplished in baseball than Young.
“His leadership is overplayed.” “He benefited from a friendly home ballpark in Texas.” “He’s selfish but doesn’t even realize himself that he’s selfish.”
Blah, blah and blah.
Young can still help a team as a bench player who’ll get 250-300 at bats. The Rockies could use him as could the Yankees and Dodgers, all on a one-year deal.
Stephen Drew – SS
Drew rejected the Red Sox qualifying offer in what is now looking like a big mistake. The market has essentially shut him out and teams are waiting for his price to drop to a level where they’ll think they’re getting a similar bargain as the Red Sox did in 2013. He’s represented by Boras and the Drew family has historically been the ideal Boras clients—they do what he says, when he says it and why he says it.
For a player who is constantly played up by stat people for his overall value, Drew is having trouble finding work even from stat-savvy teams. The Yankees could use him more than anyone, but that would entail telling Derek Jeter that they:
A) don’t trust him to be able to stay healthy
B) don’t think he can play shortstop well enough defensively to warrant him being out there on a daily basis
C) would like him to move to third base to accommodate Drew and make the team better
The Yankees surely know that the likelihood of Jeter being able to return from a serious ankle injury and surgery at age 40 and play even a mediocre defensive shortstop is almost non-existent, but they won’t usurp his position and stature by signing Drew and they’ve already said they’re not pursuing him. For all his vaunted leadership, what is the current difference between Jeter and Young? Jeter’s just being selfish because he’s concerned about his image as the Yankees shortstop and doesn’t want to sully it by accepting a move to another position even if everyone but Jeter admits its necessity.
Would Drew, with his market gone, consider playing third base with the Yankees for one year? Possibly. The Yankees might still swoop in for Drew.