Let’s consider Jermaine Dye. He hit 27 homers last year and played at least 137 games for the sixth consecutive season. But a GM who considered signing the 36-year-old tells Tom Verducci of SI.com that he backed off when he determined that Dye was essentially a DH.
The GM says "the subjective and objective defensive measurements" mean Dye’s value is considerably lower than it would have been even a few years ago. In other words, Dye's poor defense is going to cost him.
Dye isn’t the only one whose value has sunk. It’s no coincidence that old, positionless players like Carlos Delgado, Garret Anderson and Gary Sheffield are still free agents, too.
Teams want young players who can play defense. One GM says it makes sense for teams to think twice about signing older sluggers.
“With age and defense — and teams have different ways of measuring defense — the information and emphasis is somewhat legitimate,” he said.
Some veterans – Craig Counsell and Omar Vizquel, for example – add value on defense and find jobs. But it's becoming harder for one-dimensional players to do the same.