Recently, Orlando Hudson of the Minnesota Twins leveled the claim that Jermaine Dye and Gary Sheffield are not playing for a major league team in 2010 because the owners are racists.
I can't get into the heads of each owner to know if Hudson is right or wrong. However, I have found five reasons why he might be wrong.
Now if in the next couple of years, guys like Carl Crawford, Prince Fielder, Brandon Phillips, and Justin Upton can't find work, Hudson's point may be legitimized.
"You see guys like Jermaine Dye without a job," Hudson told Yahoo!.
Here is why Jermaine Dye is not playing in 2010:
1. He had a very bad second half of 2009.
2. Dye no longer hits the ball hard to right field.
3. Dye's line-drive rate in 2009 was the lowest of career.
4. He would be the worst defensive right fielder in the majors.
5. He was offered jobs with (at least) Texas and Washington and turned them down.
"A guy like Gary Sheffield, a first-ballot Hall of Famer, can't get a job," Hudson told Yahoo!.
Hudson may be right that Sheffield will be "a first-ballot Hall of Famer." He has the numbers. He is only 311 hits away from 3,000.
Anyway, Sheffield is not in the big leagues now because:
1. He is old—Sheffield just turned 41 this winter.
2. He has often been linked to steroid use.
3. He isn't worth the trouble. The dude can still hit (.276/.372/.451 in 2009), but he sat out a game pouting because the team wouldn't extend his contract.
4. His defense is far from good (-12.7 UZR last year in 500 innings).
The times are changing
Most everyone that follows baseball knows that young players generally are cheap while old players are expensive. Well, it seems that the owners have finally caught on.
The contracts given to guys like Alfonso Soriano, Milton Bradley, Gary Matthews Jr., Juan Pierre, and Jose Guillen are a thing of the past. Well, for now at least.
The facts don't back it up
Reality bites. Apparently, the whole claim is not backed up by facts. Don't you hate when that happens?
According to this study, "black free agents were given more money ($3.72 million) per projected WAR (by CHONE) than any other race. If any group has a legitimate complaint, it's Hispanic players, who were compensated only $2.96 million per projected WAR."
Dye and Sheffield are not alone
These white players have also had the same problems finding work:
1. Braden Looper won 14 games last season and hasn’t found a job yet.
2. Jarrod Washburn, like Dye, had a very good first half in 2009 but has no job now.
3. Jim Thome, like Sheffield, has first-ballot Hall of Famer stats but had to settle for a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Minnesota Twins.
4. Jim Edmonds, despite punching up .235/.343/.479 in 2007, could not find a team interested in his services in 2008. He had to settle for a minor-league deal this year with the Milwaukee Brewers.