With the season one-third gone now, it’s become pretty clear which players were only slumping and which players actually just suck at baseball. And yet on every team there is at least one player which for foolish reasons, whether it be an over-developed sense of loyalty, a case of GM-player man-love, a reputation for grit and hustle, or a bloated contract, the team just hasn’t been able to pull the plug on yet. In this post, we have a look at each team in the National League with an eye for the one player who really needs to be cut as soon as possible.
Dodgers – RP Guillermo Mota: This guy looks permanently broken: he gives up too many hits, he doesn’t strike enough guys out, and he walks too many batters. His WHIP is an appalling 1.79 and he needs to be shelved somewhere.
Giants – 1B Travis Ishikawa: The main job of a first baseman is to hit, so when your first baseman is the worst hitter on your team, you are doing something wrong.
Diamondbacks – CF Chris Young: Chris Young was supposed to be one of those guys whose power and speed would somehow make of for his complete lack of any ability to get on base. Well, now you have a guy whose power and speed have fallen off, but who is even less able to get on base. It is unbelievable that Young is still on pace for well over 500 at bats this season despite his .220 OBP. He needs to be working out his suckiness in the minor leagues.
Rockies – 3B Garret Atkins: I’ve been advocating that the Rockies trade Atkins for two years now, while there was still some perception that he was a good player, but they waited too long, and now he’s basically untradeable. Few players have benefited more from Coors Field than Atkins, and Atkins also had the benefit of his personal peak coinciding with the Rockies high profile Series run in 2007. But he was always an extremely inadequate defender at third, and now his bat has disappeared as well, even at home.
Padres – 2B David Eckstein: GM Kevin Towers calls David Eckstein the MVP of the team so far this year. He couldn’t be more wrong. Eckstein was only barely adequate defensively and offensively when he was at his peak about 5 or 6 years ago, and now at age 34, he’s pretty much got nothing left.
Cardinals – SP Todd Wellemeyer: Todd Wellemeyer shows that maybe there are limits to what pitching coach Dave Duncan can do. Kind of. Actually, it’s pretty amazing that the Cardinals have gotten as much out of Wellemeyer as they have, considering he was nobody’s idea of good starting pitcher material. But with Mitchell Boggs waiting in the wings, there’s really no reason to keep Wellemeyer around.
Brewers – 3B Bill Hall: Bill Hall couldn’t hit his way out of a paper bag right now. Sure, he hit 35 homers back in 2006, but he’s done nothing at all since then, and he still has no real position defensively. For some reason, Hall still has the image of a youngster who is still developing, but when you actually go look at his age you find out he is already 29 years old, and what you see, which right now is total suckage, is probably what he really is.
Cubs – RP Aaron Heilman: Heilman was once a highly touted prospect, and did manage to throw up a few good seasons, but it’s becoming more and more clear that he’s just not all that good. Nothing about his peripherals suggests that anything is particularly wrong. His velocity is the same as ever, as are his FB/GB rates, his home run rate, his K/9 rate etc., and his BABIP is a very modest .299. Heilman simply walks too many batters, posting an unsightly 6.26 BB/9, and until that changes (if ever), he needs to be in AAA somewhere until he can learn better control.
Reds – SS Alex Gonzalez: Gonzalez was once an elite defender at shortstop, which meant that his extremely weak bat could be somewhat justified, but now he is no longer anywhere near that class, and his bat seems weaker than ever at .209/.250/.302. He needs to be cut.
Astros – OF Darin Erstad: Yeah, I know, Erstad is supposed to be this super-gritty former football player (except he was only a kicker), but we are a decade removed now from his last actually good season in 2000, and I’m almost surprised to see that he is actually still on a major league roster. He’s hitting .137/.211/.196. Why is this man still anywhere near a baseball diamond?
Pirates – OF Brandon Moss: Lots of people have mentioned how one good side of trading away Nate McLouth was that it has “cleared playing time for blocked prospect Andrew McCutchen.” But hardly anyone mentions that one of the players who was allegedly “blocking” McCutchen is Brandon Moss, a corner outfielder who has been playing every day this season despite posting a .310 OBP and only a single home run.
Marlins – 3B Emilio Bonifacio: The fact that Emilio Bonifacio, who has no business being in a major league lineup at all, is actually batting leadoff for the Marlins, despite his .294 OBP, is an indictment of the entire Marlins coaching staff and front office.
Mets – C Omir Santos: It’s a joke that the Mets actually traded away Ramon Castro to clear a spot on the roster for this guy. It’s going to be fun watching as the numbers left over from his fluky hot start rapidly sink toward the Mendoza line.
Braves – OF Garrett Anderson: I laughed out loud when I heard that the Braves signed Anderson in the offseason, and I pretty much haven’t stopped laughing since. The poor old guy has a .289 OBP to go along with a -15 UZR/150 in left field. At this point you could probably drag Bernie Williams out of the recording studio and run him out there for better production.
Nationals – CL Joel Hanrahan: You can anoint a guy your closer, sing the praises of his “live arm,” and run him out there in save situations as much as you want, but that doesn’t mean he is going to pitch like a closer, just because you really really want him to. In what may be the worst bullpen of all time, no reliever has done more damage in more high leverage situations than Hanrahan. His 1.90 WHIP (for an alleged closer!) pretty much says it all.
Phillies – P Chan Ho Park: Park has looked finished for years now, at least when you look at his peripherals. He managed to reinvent himself as a serviceable reliever in the pitcher-friendly NL West last season, fooling the Phillies into taking him on, but it’s kind of an understatement to say that his game does not play well in Citizen’s Bank Ballpark. The Park-as-starter experiment was basically doomed from the get-go, but ironically, Park has pitched even more poorly this year as a reliever than he did as a starter. This man should be enjoying his retirement somewhere, not getting thrown to the wolves every other night.