Player A: 31 years old, 1006 r, 1716 h, 338 dbl, 371 hr, 1131 rbi, 138 sb, .259/.339/.489, with 10 Gold Gloves, and a 5 time all-star.
Player B: 26 years old, 68-56 record, 1046.7 ip, 775 k, 3.91 era, 1.38 whip, 2 time all-star, and Rookie of the Year.
Player C: 30 years old, 123-90 record, 1807 ip, 1347 k, 3.82 era, 1.30 whip, Cy Young award, and 3 time all-star.
Future Hall of Famers? Nope!
Washed-up has-beens? Yep!
Player A- Andruw Jones:
Jones was the cream of the crop in terms of all-around talents of center fielders for a decade with the Braves. He had power, speed, and tremendous defense. Andruw was a World Series hero as a 19 year old in 1996. Then 2 years ago he had a down year in what was a contract year, followed by a bottom-of-the-barrel type performance last season. Originally he was rumored to be asking for 5+ years and 100+M in the winter of 07-08, but he settled with the Dodgers on a 2 year pact instead. LA released him a couple months ago and he signed with the Rangers, but is struggling to even make their 25 man roster. Meaning he faces the distinct possibility of having to earn his way back to the majors by serving minor league time.
2007: .222/311/.413, 27 dbl, 26 hr, 83 r, 94 rbi, and a Gold Glove.
2008: .158/.256/.249, 3 hr, 21 r, 14 rbi, and 76 k's in 75 games.
Spring: .273/.333/.455 but 14 k's in only 33 at bats.
Career Earnings: $102,433,410 and set to make $15M this season.
Player B- Dontrelle Willis:
The D-Train has been derailed. He started off brilliantly as a 21 year old lefty with a deceiving goofy delivery, going 14-6 and winning the R.O.Y. award and a World Series with the Marlins in 2003. People in South Florida would tune in on nights he pitched because he was vivacious, charismatic, and oozed fun. Then like Andruw, two seasons ago things started to fall apart for Willis. However, nobody expected things to get as bad as they have, as he's been demoted to the minors last season and shows no sign of regaining any spunk that allowed him to thrive in the big leagues years ago. Detroit is so disappointed.
2007: 10-15, 205.3 ip, 5.17 era, 1.60 whip.
2008: 0-2, 24 ip, 9.38 era, 2.21 whip (MLB), 4.45 era, 1.69 whip (AAA)
Spring: 0-2, 8.2 ip, 12.46 era, 2.77 whip.
Career Earnings: $18,766,426 in year 2 of a 3 yr $29M deal.
Player C- Barry Zito:
Barry came to San Francisco as "the other Barry" two years, and just like Jones and Willis, has faltered ever since. Before becoming a Giant, Zito rattled off 6 straight seasons of 200+ innings pitched and averaged 15.8 wins per seasons with the A's during that time. However, he's now the laughingstock of big money long-term deals to pitchers.
2007: 11-13, 196.7 ip, 4.53 era, 1.35 whip.
2008: 10-17, 180 ip, 5.15 era, 1.60 whip.
Spring: 1-1, 19.2 ip, 5.49 era, 1.68 whip.
Career Earnings: $42,535,000 in year 3 of a 7 yr $126M deal.
These guys are still relatively young, so it's within reason to think they might be able to get out of these funks. However, reading scouting reports of each of them leaves you much less high on them returning to dominance or even being worthy of a roster spot. They've made millions and are set for life, so pity is not what I feel for them. Still, there's a part of me that feels bad for them. Watching the mighty fall can leave you with a mixed bag of emotions.
LL Cool J- Mamma Said Knock You Out