Dye won't settle for minor-league deal

jermaine dye talking retirement 020211

Jermaine Dye appears headed for retirement.

The free-agent outfielder sat out last season rather than accept a contract that he deemed unsuitable.

Dye, 37, made public his desire to return for the 2011 season, but has yet to receive a guaranteed major-league offer.

“I would still like to play, but I think my choices have passed and teams have gone with other people,” Dye said Wednesday.

“I will continue to stay in shape and hopefully someone will call. If nothing gets done by the end of the spring, I may call it a career.”

Dye said he spoke with the Dodgers in December about setting up a workout, but never heard back from the club.

The hang-up, according to both Dye and Dodgers officials, was Dye’s desire for a major-league contract.

The Dodgers were willing to make Dye only a minor-league offer, and ended up signing another right-handed hitter, Marcus Thames, to a one-year, $1 million major-league deal.

Thames, 33, hit 12 homers for the Yankees in 237 at-bats last season. Dye did not play, though he was first among American League outfielders in home runs and second in RBIs the previous five years.

“I feel I can contribute to a team in a big way,” Dye said. “I guess I’m just shocked that nobody has called. Regardless if a team thinks I have slowed defensively, I think my offensive numbers make a case for themselves.”

Dye said he also spoke with the Rays, but the team instead signed Manny Ramirez to go with Johnny Damon.

The Cubs and Brewers offered Dye major-league contracts last offseason, but Dye’s age, poor second half and declining defense in right field limited his market.

Some executives say that Dye, after declining to play last season, needs to accept a minor-league deal and prove he still can perform.

Dye sees pitchers sign major-league contracts after missing entire seasons with injuries, and his frustration grows.

Right-hander Ben Sheets landed such a deal with the A’s last offseason, signing a one-year, $10 million contract. Right-hander Brandon Webb received a $3 million guarantee from the Rangers this offseason despite not throwing a pitch in 2010. Righty Chris Young made only four appearances for the Padres last year, yet landed a $1.1 million deal with the Mets.

“All these pitchers get hurt, miss the whole year and get major-league deals,” Dye said, without identifying anyone by name. “That’s what I don’t get.”

Dye, who has a career .826 OPS and 325 home runs, isn’t giving up on playing in 2011. But he acknowledged that his time is running short.

“I’m still working out. I’m still in shape. I’m still motivated,” Dye said. “If nobody wants to put me on a team, I can’t do much about that. But I’m not going to go for a minor-league contract.

“The thing I don’t get is, I’m not even a bad guy. I thought I had a good reputation in baseball.”

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