Thursday, March 03, 2011

Forced Out of the Game

Every year seemingly usefull spare parts get left in the bargain bin of free agency and go unsigned before their time (as in not ready for retirement). Usually they're old, injured, or coming off a poor season. This year Kevin Millwood and Jeremy Bonderman are the biggest free agents left on the market that could conceivably help a team. However, let's not forget Troy Glaus, Bengie Molina, and Scott Podsednik also remain unemployed. Each has their faults, but each also have their assets.

Millwood would be a veteran presence in a rotation and an innings eater too, which is important on young inexperienced staffs. He'd be a good fit for a team like Cleveland, KC, Washington, St. Louis, or Pittsburgh. The Yankees could even use his help, but he's too proud to accept a minor league deal. I still have a feeling he'll sign before spring training is over and pitch in somebody's rotation this season. 2010- 4 W, 5.10 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 190.2 IP.

Bonderman is a case of a once promising up-and-comer flaming out. He's still regaining arm strength from a surgery a couple years ago, but at only 28 he has some possible upside. Recently said he might just sit out the 2011 campaign, but if given a guaranteed contract, he'd likely jump on the opportunity. 2010- 8 W, 5.53 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 171 IP.

Glaus can no longer play 3rd base and isn't that good at 1st base either, but he does still have some thump in his bat. He is age 34, but his body is more like mid-40's. Still, I'm surprised the Padres didn't sign him to platoon with Brad Hawpe at first, or a team like the Rays to be a part-time DH/1B. 2010- .240/.744, 16 HR, 71 RBI.

Molina wants to start, but his bat no longer warrants regular appearances and his defense is adequate at best. The eldest of the Catching Molina Brothers is 36 and is probably done in the Majors unless he takes a backup gig. 2010- .249/.623, 5 HR, 36 RBI.

Podsednik should have exercised his portion of the mutual option with the Dodgers for $2M, because now he's fighting for his MLB life. The speedster can still get on base and swipe enough bags to be a solid 4th outfielder. Shame somebody didn't sign the White Flash. 2010- .297/.724, 35 SB.

2009:
Jermaine Dye left the game because he felt his was being low-balled by offers. At 36 he was a defensive liability and was only suitable for DH duties. His bat was still potent at times, enough so that he even garnered some interest this past offseason. His numbers dipped in '09 (.250/.793, 27 HR, 81 RBI), but the year prior he hit .292/.885 with 34 HR and 96 RBI.

Braden Looper is back in the game on a minor league deal with the Cubs this year, but in the offseason of '09 he went unsigned. Durable starting pitchers have their worth, and Looper was just that. The 35 year old was coming off a 14 win season, albeit with a 5.22 ERA and 1.49 WHIP in 194.2 IP.

Gary Sheffield is a future Hall-of-Famer in my opinion, but hanging on a few more seasons to rack up his hit total would have helped a lot. Unfortunately the 40 year old was dismissed from every GM's mind and left filing for unemployment. He was horrible in the outfield, but when wielding a bat he was dangerous. 2009- .276/.823, 10 HR, 43 RBI.

Jarrod Washburn had a solid 2009 campaign, but was an afterthought come free agency time. The lefty finished poorly in Detroit, but was fantastic in Seattle prior to the trade. 2009- 9 wins, 3.78 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 176 IP.

David Weathers was a dependable middle reliever, but in the offseason of 2009 he went by the wayside. Coming off a year of 68 appearances and a 3.92 ERA, the reliever probably had something left in the tank even at 40 years old.

2008:
Moises Alou used to piss on his hands rather than wear batting gloves, but the man could rake. Alou was essentially forced out of the game due to injury, not because a lack of production. From 2004-2007 he never had a batting average below .293 or and OPS below .916. However, he was limited to only 15 games in 2008.

Ray Durham is one of the most undervalued players of the last generation in my opinion. The 2nd baseman was still productive with the bat- .289/.813 in 128 games in '08, so I'm not sure why a team didn't snatch him up on the cheap. At this stage in his career his defense was subpar, his days of swiping bags were gone, but the batting average and on base percentage were still worth playing time.

Mark Grudzielanek was great at making the routine play, as his errors at 2nd base were almost always less than 10. In 2008 he was with the Royals and posted a .299/.743 line, but was not offered a contract the following year. His ability to get base knocks and play 2nd, SS, and 3rd would have lent well to a utility role. Grudz did pop up with the Indians last year for 30 games, but he's out of the game now.

Luis Gonzalez was a fun player to follow through the years. He quietly put up some impressive career numbers (2500+ hits, 1400+ runs and rbi, nearly 600 doubles, and 354 homeruns). At at 40 he was still roaming the outfield and hitting well enough (.261/.749) that a team should have picked him up for veteran leadership and 4th outfielder duties.

Rudy Seanez was a member of the 2008 World Series Champion Philadelphia Phillies bullpen, but went untouched that offseason. After posting a 3.53 ERA for the Phils and a 3.79 ERA the previous year with the Dodgers it was surprising a team didn't give him a contract to pitch middle relief.

2007:
Barry Bonds was a media circus and once San Francisco washed their hands of him, no other team wanted to touch him. Despite legal problems and steroid allegations the 42 year old was still a formidable presence at the plate- .276/1.045 the year he was essentially blackballed from the game.

Kenny Lofton also left the game on a high note, batting .296/.781 with 86 runs and 23 stolen bases. If K-Lo could have held on a 2-3 more years we might be looking at a Hall-of-Famer, but sadly the speedster went without a contract for '08.

Reggie Sanders went out with a bang- .315/.905, albeit in only 24 games. People easily forget what a power/speed combo he possessed.

Sammy Sosa skipped 2006, then came back to hit his 600th homerun in '07 with the Rangers. Overall he was productive with 21 bombs and 92 rbi.

4 comments:

Jim B said...

Dye and Washburn are two guys who could still be playing but refused to consider any offers less than their perceived worth. The Twins and Brewers both made offers in the $1.5-2 million range but allegedly Washburn would take nothing less than $4 million.

Lofton insisted on getting $3 million (his previous salary)believing that his age and a limited market for his declining skills should have no bearing on his value. Dye got caught up in the same reasoning and now he's done. Most of the players listed already are set for life financially so they don't need to keep playing. MLB didn't force them out, their own demands/egos/financial security were the barriers.

Joseph said...

Ummm... Podsednik signed a minor league deal with Toronto on February 16th.

GM-Carson said...

Damn ESPN.com's free agent tracker!

Good for Podsednik.

tamtam said...

I remember alot of these guys when they were playing. Damn. I wondered what became of them when I didn't see them on any rosters in recent years.