Why is Jermaine Dye still a free agent? Let's run through the reasons:
- He's 36 years old, leading some to speculate that a permanent decline set in last season. It's true that Dye was useless at the plate for the season's final two months, but we're talking about fewer than 200 plate appearances. Veteran hitters have bounced back from worse.
- He's an indisputably poor defender. In a February interiew with Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, Dye had yet to fully come to grips with this fact: "No doubt, I've probably slowed down a little bit (defensively), but not enough to not be getting (attractive) offers." Dye talked about his willingness to play first base or left field.
- He's been asking for too much money. Dye already turned down offers of $2MM and $3MM. Pride may be an issue. In the Rosenthal article Dye talked about how "it's not about money with me" but "there are still guys getting money that I feel I'm better than."
- Embrace a designated hitter/fourth outfielder/pinch-hitter role. Dye's former teammate Jim Thome gracefully accepted a reduced role and salary after a season comparable to Dye's.
- Dye needs swallow his pride, drop his price, and take a minor league deal. It's not fair, but he probably wouldn't need to spend a ton of time in the minors. Two of his former employers, the White Sox and Royals, could use a good backup plan at DH.
On August 1st, Dye was hitting .281/.357/.533 with 23 home runs in 389 plate appearances. He had an $11.5MM salary and a starting right field job. Eight months later Dye is reportedly considering retirement; that would be a shame.