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Unsigned Free Agents - Will we ever see you again?

What a strange time to be a free agent.  It's February 14 and there are still over 70, MLB-experienced, players to be had.  We've all read stories this offseason about the effect the economy is having on MLB free agency.  As most camps open today, you have to wonder what will happen to these remaining free agents.  Will these boys of summer ever play MLB ball again?  Will they ever have a chance to win that elusive WS ring?  Will they be able to reach those personal statistical milestones?  Has MLB organizations turned their backs on these veterans in favor of young, cost-controlled players?  Will they have to swallow their pride and sign minor league contracts?  Will they be willing to actually battle to earn a spot on a MLB 25-man roster?  Are they waiting for a Clemens-esque mid-season return?  Regardless of the answers to these questions, the free agency game has changed.  The question in my mind -- is this the wave of the future or just a snafu in time?

The MLBPA is not in favor of setting up a camp for unsigned free agents: 

"We don't think that it's essential to do that and we still remain hopeful that players will be signed," union head Donald Fehr said Wednesday. "We're still of the belief that all clubs understand and want to do their best to put the best possible and most competitive teams on the field."

The union held a free-agent camp in 1995 in Homestead, Fla., following a 7 1/2-month strike. Because of the slower pace of signings this year, the union considered the idea again.

 Murray Chass on the 1995 Homestead Camp:

The Players Association, looking ahead to the possibility of a strike-ending injunction, had begun planning a free-agent camp in December 1994 and invited more than 100 free agents to Homestead when the players ended their strike. Fifty-seven players showed up for the unusual spring training. The union hired Jackie Moore, a veteran major league coach, to run the camp.

In another two weeks, though, some players may wish there were a Homestead this year (2009). Moore, however said, “It’s something I will always remember, but I hope it never happens again, the situation that put me there.”

 

MLB Article on remaining FAs

The most astonishing aspect of the market is a coin flip: That 72 of 220 remain unsigned, including those who became free agents when not tendered a contract by their teams by Dec. 12, but excluding five who have retired (Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, Todd Jones, Jeff Kent and Sean Casey); or that 50 who did sign did so to Minor League contracts?

Some of the notable  free agents still available:

Starting Pitchers: 

  • tom glavine
  • livan hernandez
  • pedro martinez
  • mark mulder
  • sidney ponson
  • curt schilling
  • ben sheets - injured
  • kip wells

Relief Pitchers:

  • joe beimel
  • chad cordero
  • juan cruz
  • eric gagne
  • jason isringhausen
  • will ohman
  • dennys reyes
  • mike timlin
  • ron villone
  • matt wise

Catchers:

  • paul loduca
  • ivan rodriguez  

Middle Infielders:

  • orlando cabrera
  • ray durham
  • mark grudzielanek
  • orlando hudson
  • adam kennedy

Corner Infielders:

  • joe crede
  • doug mientkiewicz
  • richie sexon

Outfielders:

  • moises alou
  • garrett anderson
  • emil brown
  • jim edmonds
  • luis gonzalez
  • ken griffey
  • jay payton
  • manny ramirez
  • chris doyle snelling
  • shannon stewart

DH/Bench:

  • nomar garciaparra
  • frank thomas
  • jose vidro
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