Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales Still Unsigned
We are now a week into the regular season, and I haven’t heard a peep about Stephen Drew or Kendrys Morales getting close to signing with anyone. It’s really starting to look like they aren’t going to sign until early June, once the 2014 amateur draft has been completed and the teams signing them no longer have to surrender draft picks.
At this point, I can’t see much of an up-side for either one of them. If they sit out until June, they’re going to be way behind every other player in terms of getting ready for the season, and it seems likely they’ll have to spend at least a couple of weeks in the minor leagues to get themselves ready for a return to the majors. In other words, they’ll only be available for half of the 2014 season, and I have to think they’ll be paid accordingly.
Yes, they’ll be true free agents next off-season, no longer linked to draft pick compensation, and if both play well in the second half, they’ll get deals from someone. However, their value will be a lot less next off-season, at least putting the draft pick issue aside, because they will both be 32 years old in 2015. That’s an age at which at least 98% of major leaguers are on the downside of their careers and usually picking up steam toward retirement, voluntary or otherwise.
These two really ended up getting burned by the new free agent compensation regime, but I still find it hard to feel too sorry for them since they turned down $14.1 million qualifying offers. It’s now a virtual certainty that at least one or two free agents next off-season will accept the qualifying offers their teams offer them, which should be about $15 million next off-season.