Even though players report to spring training this week, there is still 34 players who have yet to sign with a team. The number was decreased by 2 today with the retirement of Jason Giambi and the Indians signing of Bruce Chen. As you would guess, the vast majority of the players are a bit on the fringe. Most are best suited to provide organizational depth at the AAA level while also having an outside shot to perhaps grab the 24th or 25th spot on a teams opening day roster. Right hander Dustin McGowan has supposedly drawn some interest from the Orioles. mlbtraderumors.com has the entire list of remaining free agents.
There are 2 intriguing names on the list, though – veteran closers Francisco Rodriguez (aka K-Rod; 33 years old with 44 saves last year for Milwaukee) and Rafael Soriano (35 years old with 32 saves for the Nationals in 2014). Both are holding out for fairly sizable contracts, but several teams should be interested in their services. You would think the Detroit Tigers would be first in line, as they still have fading veterans Joe Nathan & Joakim Soria on their roster. If the Tigers want to realize their World Series dreams they need to upgrade their closer position.
The above mentioned 34 free agents doesn’t include the 2 players who are the most sought after, though. That would be Cuban free agents Yoan Moncada and Yadier Alvarez. Moncada is the 6’2″ 205 pound 19 year old switch hitting infielder. Rumored signing bonuses have ranged from $20M-$50M. He is supposed to make a decision within a week.
Alvarez is an 18 year old pitcher who has been clocked at 98 mph. The bonus money for him is supposed to be considerably less than for Moncada. Neither player is likely to see the bigs this year.