Both shortstop Stephen Drew and designated hitter/first baseman Kendrys Morales will likely wait until after the June draft to sign on with a team, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. After the draft, they will no longer have draft pick compensation attached to them, which has been the main reason that they still are without a team. Both Drew and Morales rejected their Qualifying Offers from the Red Sox and Mariners, respectively, at the beginning of the offseason.
ESPN's Jerry Crasnick wrote an article back on March 14 discussing how Drew and Morales are willing to wait for long term deals. And, boy they have been. A month later and both are still without a club. At the time, both players were working out at Scott Boras' sports training facility in Florida. They were conducting what Boras called an "intense Spring Training" under guidance of former Major Leaguer Alex Ochoa.
"Like any players, they want to play baseball," Boras told ESPN. "But they're also looking at the long-term aspect of their careers. This system has placed them not in free agency, but it's placed them in a jail."
The 31-year-old, former first round pick, Drew hit .253/.333/.443 with 13 home runs and 67 RBI with the Red Sox in 2013 (111 OPS+). The 30-year-old Morales hit 23 home runs and 80 RBI in 156 games with the Mariners last season, posting a 123 OPS+. They still have a lot to offer, but the draft pick compensation has been their anchor to free agency, forcing them to stay put.
Several players, including Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Nelson Cruz had to take pay cuts due to draft pick compensation. Santana asked for over $100 million, but he ended up signing for the exact Qualifying Offer price of $14.1 million with the Braves, while Cruz signed an extensively low deal for only $8 million with the Orioles. Jimenez was the only winner; he signed a $50 million deal with the Orioles as well.
Santana and Cruz were both willing to take pay cuts to join a team. Drew and Morales are not. Teams are not biting, and the players are not willing to give in for less bait. They want what they have wanted all offseason, which, in the eyes of team officials, is too much, especially considering the loss of a draft pick.
The rumors are quiet. People have been "matchmaking." However, they have all been unsuccessful, thus far. It will take a little time, and a little waiting, before Drew and Morales sign. But when they do, the team that signs them might have to overpay. We will have to see what goes on, but for now, it sounds like it will be quiet on the rumor mill for a long time.