There is four weeks left before pitchers and catchers report to spring training. Michael Bourn, Kyle Lohse and Rafael Soriano headline a list unsigned MLB free agents. All are represented by Scott Boras and all are are looking for lucrative multi-year contracts and all are tied to draft pick compensation. Bourn, Lohse, and Soriano may have to lower their demands, but all are expected to sign somewhere, but they aren’t the only available unsigned MLB free agents left on the market.
Lohse is 34 years old and had a career year in St. Louis in 2012 going 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA. Texas seems to be the most likely destination at this point, but again draft pick compensation is a major factor. Lohse has yet to receive a single offer this off-season. Bourne could also interest the Rangers or he could possibly return to the Braves. Detroit would be a perfect fit for Soriano, except that Detroit has decided to go with rookie righthander Bruce Rondon as the team’s closer in 2013. Soriano may have to settle for a shorter deal.
Teams looking for discounted starting pitching can choose from Shaun Marcum, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Carl Pavano, Jeff Karstens, and Joe Saunders. Veteran relievers and closers Brian Wilson, Jose Valverde and Francisco Rodriguez are available looking for new homes for 2013. Wilson worked out for the New York Mets on Friday after missing most of 2012 with Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery. Shaun Marcum who missed two months in 2012 with elbow tightness with the Milwaukee Brewers is drawing the interest of the San Diego Padres, Pittsburgh Pirates and Texas Rangers. Baltimore acquired Saunders last season from the Diamondbacks and the left-hander page to a ERA of 3.63 over seven regular season starts for the club, may be headed back to Baltimore.
Most teams seem to be close to locking down their 40 man rosters but are leaving wiggle room for a last minute acquisition. “There is a reasonable chance that we could add somebody from outside,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. “It could be someone on a Minor League contract who is part of the competition, but we could still add somebody on a guaranteed contract that will preempt the competition.”
There is also an extensive list of position players still listed along the unsigned free agent leftovers. Delmon Young, Kelly Johnson, Carlos Lee, Travis Hafner, Juan Rivera, Freddy Sanchez, Luke Scott, Ryan Sweeney and Scott Hairston remain on the market with Hairston showing the most interest of the group. Young is carrying off the field baggage from last season and teams are seemingly going out of their way to to make sure everyone knows they aren’t interested in the well-traveled outfielder. The 30 year-old Johnson is coming off a dreadful year in Toronto posting a .225/.313/.365 line but still has some home run power, a valuable commodity for middle infielder. Scott was plagued by injuries last year with Tampa Bay, but it wouldn’t be as a surprise to see Scott return to Tropicana Field for 2013.