Free Agent Regulars Hard To Find

33 players from MLBTR's Top 50 Free Agents list have signed, and with ample time remaining in the offseason, regulars are difficult to come by at most positions.  Let's take a closer look.

  • At catcher, Brian McCann, Carlos Ruiz, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, A.J. Pierzynski, and Dioner Navarro have found homes with contracts worth at least $8MM.  Additionally, the Rangers have assembled their tandem behind the dish by re-signing Geovany Soto and adding J.P. Arencibia.  No starting catchers remain in free agency.  Cuban catcher Yenier Bello will likely become a free agent soon, but it's unclear whether any teams view him as a potential regular.
  • At first base, Jose Abreu, Mike Napoli, James Loney, Justin Morneau, Garrett Jones, and Corey Hart have signed.  The key remaining free agent here is Kendrys Morales, who has draft pick compensation attached and has not played 500 innings at first base since 2009.  Though the draft pick may continue to scare teams off, there is certainly a price at which some should be willing to surrender one to sign Morales.  The idea of the Scott Boras client as a regular first baseman is dicey, though.  Players like Kevin Youkilis, Mark Reynolds, Michael Young, and Casey McGehee are imperfect solutions as regular first basemen, but they at least merit consideration.
  • At second base, Robinson Cano, Omar Infante, Alexander Guerrero, Rafael Furcal, and Mark Ellis are off the board, as well as Kelly Johnson, Willie Bloomquist, Skip Schumaker, and Nick Punto.  36-year-old Brian Roberts looks like the closest thing to a regular on the free agent market, and he hasn't played 80 games since '09.
  • At shortstop, Derek Jeter never reached free agency, and the Cardinals signed Jhonny Peralta for $53MM.  Another Boras client with draft pick compensation attached, Stephen Drew, remains unsigned.  If Morales and Drew wind up with disappointing contracts, expect Boras to ramp up his public disgust with the qualifying offer system.  One wild card at shortstop is Cuban Aledmys Diaz, who will be eligible to sign as of February 19th.  Another Cuban name to watch is the defensive-minded Erisbel Arruebarruena.
  • At third base, Juan Uribe resembled a regular, and he has re-signed with the Dodgers.  Young might be considered a possible regular at third base after tallying almost 900 innings there in 2013.  McGehee, Youkilis, and Reynolds could be options for some teams to play semi-regularly at the hot corner, as well as Eric Chavez.
  • We won't list all the corner outfielders who have signed, but teams seeking a starter in right or left field do have options in free agency.  Shin-Soo Choo and Nelson Cruz are still looking for homes and are viewed as difference-makers.  Raul Ibanez hit 29 home runs and played over 800 innings in left field, so he might be viewed as a regular corner option by some teams.
  • Top center field option Jacoby Ellsbury has signed.  While Choo played center in 2013, most teams view him as a corner guy.  A healthy Franklin Gutierrez could re-emerge as a regular in center field, but that seems like a long shot.
  • Among DH options, we have Morales and Ibanez.  We heard last month Lance Berkman is leaning toward retirement, though nothing is official.
  • In terms of clear regulars, the current free agent market features just five players: one shortstop in Drew, two corner outfielders in Choo and Cruz, and two DH options in Morales and Ibanez.  

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