It’s March. Spring Training games are going on. The last couple years there were still players available who were looking for 9-figure deals. Not so this year. However, there are still unsigned players to be had. Some are very familiar names, just not in line for huge paydays barring winning Powerball. I’ve arranged the list below by position. The reasons they haven’t signed are myriad…but a common one is being over 30 and posting <0.5 WAR isn’t a good way to get a MLB deal (i.e., they’re retired but don’t realize it yet).
Steve Pearce has said he’s “unofficially retired.” Ben Zobrist has said he’s not planning to play this year. Mark Trumbo is also reportedly contemplating retirement. They’re on this list only because they haven’t officially said “I’m done.”
Russell Martin has been variously planning to play and not planning to play due to family issues. Multiple teams have been rumored to be interested. He’s also supposedly turned some offers down. So who knows in his case?
Some, like Scooter Gennett, May be holding out for a MLB deal/someone somewhere to get hurt to create an opportunity. (I’m just speculating with Gennett. He put up -0.5 WAR last year but was hurt. He was pretty good in 2017 and 2018 and thus may feel he shouldn’t have to take a minor league deal.)
Some have baggage. Baggage by itself, we’ve seen many times, doesn’t preclude getting a big league contract. Baggage + didn’t play well doesn’t bode well though. This includes Tim Beckham (PED suspension, still with time to serve, although the O’s have been reported to be considering him). This also applies to Jung Ho Kang. That goes double for wife-beater Addison Russell.
Anyway, the list:
1B/DH—Mark Reynolds, Steve Pearce, Lucas Duda, Hanley Ramirez, Mark Trumbo
2B—Ben Zobrist, Scooter Gennett
3B—Jung Ho Kang
SS—Addison Russell, Tim Beckham
OF—Jacoby Ellsbury, Austin Jackson, Yasiel Puig, Melky Cabrera
SP—Andrew Cashner, Jason Vargas, Aaron Sanchez, Clay Buchholz, Marco Estrada, Clayton Richard, Matt Harvey, Ervin Santana
RP—Sam Dyson, Collin McHugh, Fernando Rodney, Tony Sipp, Luke Gregorson, Matt Albers, Xavier Cedeno, Arodys Vizcaino, Addison Reed, Adam Warren, Tony Cingrani, Brian Duensing, Josh Fields, Shawn Kelly, Pat Neshek, Zach Duke, Jonny Venters