This past Friday, Nick wrote a post with the simple premise – if you can cut one person from each team in the National League, who would it be? And people got angry. Very, very angry. They called us names. They said that it was “the most pointless story I’ve ever read” and “one of the dumbest things I’ve ever read” and other “I’ve ever read” type comments. But they also said that “David Eckstein makes pitchers work so hard to get him out, that alone has value”. So we stopped paying attention after that.
Naturally, we’re back for more with the same premise applied to the American League. And if any of you brings up “leadership” as a reason Player X ought to stay, I swear to god, I will go back to my room in my mother’s basement, create an Everquest character that looks like you and destroy it.
Texas Rangers – Vicente Padilla: Starting off with an easy one here. From the moment the Rangers re-signed Padilla to a 3 year deal worth $33.75MM deal prior to the ’07 season, it really was only a matter of time until this would end badly. In addition to posting poor numbers overall in Arlington, he’s had a poor reputation behind the scenes for years. The process for cutting him may have already started as the club put him on waivers this past week.
The Angels of The Angels – Gary Matthews, Jr: Every time Matthews puts on a uniform, the Angels’ chances of winning seem to decrease. Another poor signing from the ’06-’07 off season, Little Sarge has since posted a line of .248/.319/.386, which would be awful for a catcher, let alone for an OFer with a $50MM contract. If that weren’t bad enough, Matthews is also a sub-par defensive player, which should really make you wonder why the Angels haven’t cut the cord yet.
Seattle Mariners – Yuniesky Betancourt: When you have a starting shortstop who can’t hit, you tout his defense. When you have a shortstop who can’t hit or field, you have a big problem. Not only has Betancourt posted a .302 OBP in his career with little to no pop, he has also had a negative UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) over that span. At 27 years old, we’ve already got a very good idea as to what kind of arc his career will take, and that arc is pretty damned flat.
Oakland A’s – Eric Chavez: It’s always sad when promising careers get derailed by injuries. But it’s worse when it drags on. Chavez has been off the field more than actually on it since 2007 and even when healthy enough to play, his performance has been on the decline since 2005. Having admitted that one more back injury would end his career, it’d be a great story if he were to show that he’s not done yet. Chavez is determined to do so, but one has to wonder if that’s actually in his best interest long term. I’m obviously not in a position to tell a player – especially one that’s only 31 years old – to walk away forever. But as a human being, I would hate to see his condition worsen and I fear that a return to the field will cause just that.
Detroit Tigers – Magglio Ordonez: If you consider this one to be heartless, I can’t really blame you since this is entirely driven by money. Magglio’s contract states that if he makes 213 more trips to the plate this year, his 2010 option worth $18MM becomes guaranteed (there’s a similar option for 2011). At this point in his career, Ordonez is not an $18MM player, nor is he all that close to that. His power is nowhere to be seen as he’s been unable to hit the ball into the air (56% of his batted balls have been grounders). I’m sure that the Players Association lawyers would have a field day with this cut though. Luckily enough, I don’t have to deal with such things (why can’t GMs cut players for financial reasons? I don’t get it).
Minnesota Twins – Alexi Casilla: While neither should be given a bat, both Carlos Gomez and Nick Punto at least have value as defensive replacements. And it’s probably too early to give up on a talent like Delmon Young, who really needs to learn how take ball four. But Casilla? The man has logged over 800 ABs in AAA and AA, during which time he has shown that neither his bat nor his glove is good enough to compensate for the other. His biggest asset as a minor league player was his ability to take a walk (which wasn’t exactly eye-popping to begin with). But thus far in his MLB career, Casilla has only gotten on base 30% of the time while slugging .318. Unless you’re saving dozens of runs with the glove, it’s impossible to swallow that. Sure, he’s still cheap. But there are better options out there for the same cost.
Chicago White Sox – Jimmy Gobble: Gobble has pitched in parts of seven major league seasons thus far in his career and his ERA in those years reads thusly: 4.61, 5.35, 5.70, 5.14, 3.02, 8.81, and 7.00 (so far in ’09). Them’s ain’t pretty. Presumably, he keeps finding work because he’s a lefty. Problem is, lefties have a line of .266/.323/.460 against him so he’s not even useful against them. So I ask you, why does this man have a job? And for the record, I could have also picked anyone who has logged an inning in CF this year for the South Siders. But I’d be damned if I could pick one.
Kansas City Royals – Jose Guillen: I really could’ve put every Royal who’s 26 years old or over (not named Gil) into a hat for this one. Sidney Ponson? Absolutely. David DeJesus? If the man did not bat lefty, he may not have a job in baseball (kids, learn how to bat from the left side). And while I’m no Mike Jacobs fan (and Kila Ka’aihue is clearly more than ready to replace him as DH), he could at least serve as a cheap power bat off the bench. Guillen, however, is by far the highest-paid hitter on the team and puts up numbers that simply aren’t good enough to let you ignore the headaches he causes within the clubhouse. And while he’ll continue to be among the top RBI guys on the Royals (which says more about the Royals lineup than it does Guilen) due primarily to his spot in the batting order, his glove gives up as many runs as his bat creates. If I were a Royals player, I’d probably resent the fact that the highest paid guy doesn’t offer much in terms of production nor seems to give a rat’s ass.
Cleveland Indians – Jeremy Sowers: In Single-A, Sowers struck out an impressive 9.5 batters per 9 innings pitched. In AA, that number dropped to a still-respectable 7.7. In AAA, down to a slightly worrisome 5.8. Notice a trend here? Then it really should come as no surprise that in the Majors, Sowers is striking out merely 4.1/9IP in the 300+ innings he’s logged. When you miss so few bats, batted balls tend to find the outfield grass more often (or worse). He had success in his rookie year winning 7 out of his 14 starts to go along with a 3.57 ERA. But his peripherals were poor (3.6 K/9IP, .259 BABiP), and therefore no one should be surprised to learn that his career ERA has been trending down ever since. Sowers just doesn’t seem to have the stuff to consistently get guys out at the big league level. And Cleveland would be better off giving someone else – anyone else – a start in his place.
Boston Red Sox – Julio Lugo: Take it away, Sarah Green!
New York Yankees – Angel Berroa: If you’re a SS, one good season buys you a career of job security as a utility infielder. Back in 2003, Berroa popped 17 dingers and has been living off that accomplishment ever since. Problem is, the man seems to have no idea how to play 3rd base, where the Yankees have been using him as a backup. Lord knows that you’re not keeping the guy around for his offense (career weighted-OBP of .297). So if he can’t do the job you’re asking him to do, why are you keeping him around at all?
Toronto Blue Jays – Kevin Millar: I initially had Vernon Wells here, but after posting great numbers upon his return from a hamstring injury last August, he deserves a chance to prove once again that he’s not done (though moving him to LF IMMEDIATELY is a good idea). So I decided to go with a less controversial pick in Millar, a guy who looks to be about done at the age of 37. Sure, he may be entertaining in the clubhouse, but so’s the equipment manager (see enough jockstraps and I’m sure you develop a sense of humor). Millar’s defense is not nearly good enough to justify using him as a defensive replacement, nor is his bat useful enough as a pinch hitter. I’m sure it’s not easy to cut guys you like as human beings. But the point of the game is to win and Millar doesn’t help you accomplish that goal.
Tampa Bay Rays – Troy Percival: With a fastball that barely hits 90-91 mphs these days, Percival’s days as a reliable reliever are gone. In his younger years, his teams could live with him walking roughly 4 batters per nine innings because he struck out so many more. Nowadays, that’s getting harder and harder as his body begins to break down (Now go back and reread this paragraph replacing Percival’s name with Jason Isringhausen’s. Still makes perfect sense).
Baltimore Orioles – Mark Hendrickson: Centuries from now, when historians discover that there used to be a sport called “baseball” (and that there used to be something called “land”, but that’s another topic), I’d like to think that they’ll stumble across Hendrickson’s career numbers and immediately think “Holy %(*@ing mother of God! How the ^!#* did this guy keep finding teams willing to pay him &*($-loads of money?” With Scott Elarton still unsigned, Hendrickson has the highest career ERA (5.10) of any active pitcher who has logged over 800 innings or made 125+ starts. And the NBA community is forever left wondering how good this career 41.6% shooter could have been… (Here’s a hint. Not very.)
Ya got any problems with these, punk? Well, do ya? That’s what the comments section is for. Just remember. I can annihilate you in Everquest.