Saturday, February 20, 2016

Anyone Worth a Gamble Left on the Free Agent Market?

Pitchers and catchers are in full swing and full team workouts are happening all around the league as we inch closer and closer to Grapefruit League games and MLB games that actually count in the win/loss column. All winter long teams have made a plan and seemingly stuck to it whether it be acquiring the top free agent talent available like the Red Sox did with David Price and Craig Kimbrel, selling off all their talent to jump start a rebuild like the Atlanta Braves did or sign nobody at all, literally, like the New York Yankees did. The Yankees did not sign a single major league free agent this winter but they have not shied away from handing out the minor league deals for depth down on the farm, is there anyone left on the free agent market worth that gamble?

Well yeah, Dexter Fowler is still out there on the free agent market but I strongly believe he isn’t going to settle for a minor league deal. There’s almost 0% chance of it. He may sign a one-year pillow contract with a team and test a no-so-stacked free agent market again in 2017 but there’s absolutely no chance he signs a minor league deal. The same can likely be said for starters Tim Lincecum, Cliff Lee and Alfredo Simon. Also Ian Desmond is another one of those names to add to the “no way, no how” list when it comes to signing a minor league free agent deal this winter. We know the names of who won’t sign a minor league deal but who conceivably could or would?

David Freese is a solid third baseman with a track record of hitting in the postseason but for whatever reason not many are knocking down his door to sign him this winter. New York needs a capable third baseman and a true third baseman, apologies to Starlin Castro, and if Freese is willing to sign a MiLB deal, however unlikely, I think the Yankees should pounce. The longer the winter drags on and the closer the spring comes closer the more likely other players like Juan Uribe, Justin Morneau and Pedro Alvarez may be willing to defy the odds and the doubters and sign a minor league deal as well with an opt-out clause simply to get into a spring camp and show teams they are still capable of playing at the Major League level. If the Yankees want to take advantage of any of those three I would also be willing to sign off on those deals.

Finally you have a laundry list of players including Rickie Weeks, Jimmy Rollins, Tommy Hunter, Matt Thornton, and others who would likely jump at the opportunity to sign a minor league deal in New York but I just can’t see any of them being true fits for the Yankees. I have always said there is no such thing as a bad minor league deal and I will stand behind that today as well but there are some I’d be willing to write a “Meet a Prospect” for and there are some I may just let slide and move on with, you know what I’m saying? 

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)