Top 20 MLB Players in Need of a Change of Scenery
Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers
With every MLB off season rumors begin to fly as to what players will change teams between November and March. It is part of what is known as the Hot Stove League. Everyone likes to speculate as to what teams will make trades and where big name free agents will sign.
There are many players whose names come up in trade talks and rumors, but which of them could really use a change of scenery? What MLB players have worn out their welcome with a team or its fans? Whose careers have become stagnant in their present home? Who could just use a fresh start?
Not everyone can play anywhere. Some players can handle the pressure of playing in New York while others are better off playing in Cincinnati. Some players feel more comfortable in the NL than in the AL. Some players can handle the burden of carrying a big contract and their team while others can not. Some have a hard time playing for certain managers. All of this has to be taken into consideration when looking into a players performance and deciding if they could use a change of scenery.
One also needs to take into account the lot of good players who play on bad teams. Some of them will never be able to compete for a championship where they are. They will also never get the recognition that they deserve while playing for a losing team. Thanks to free agency these players no longer have to play their entire careers with one team and can sign with someone that they think can win a championship.
Here are 20 players who could use a change of scenery in 2013. Some play for winners while others do not. Some have not performed as they were expected to since joining their teams. A couple let their teams down in some way during the course of the 2012 season.
Whatever the reason, there might be greener pastures for these men somewhere other than their present homes.
20. Alfonso Soriano Chicago Cubs
Soriano's career is winding down. He just finished playing for a team that lost 101 games. At age 36 the championship chase is coming to an end. It looks like the only way Soriano will play a full season with a championship team is by leaving the Cubs.
19. Felix Hernandez Seattle Mariners
This young man should get a chance to showcase his skills for a winning team. Hernandez has won 98 games over eight years with the Mariners including an AL leading 19 in 2009. He has a Cy Young Award and perfect game under his belt. Now all Hernandez has to do is pitch in the post season. He may have to leave Seattle to do that.
18. Jesus Flores Washington Nationals
Flores has done everything that the Nationals have asked of him. However, he is not expected to ever be the team's every day catcher. When Wilson Ramos was lost for the season Flores took over until Washington felt he was wearing down and traded for Kurt Suzuki. Now the Nationals have three catchers and Flores may be the odd man out.
17. Alex Gordon Kansas City Royals
Gordon is a very good player on a bad team. In his last two seasons he has batted .303 and .294 while winning two Gold Glove Awards. Gordon even got some MVP votes in 2011. At age 28 Gordon is just reaching his prime. The Royals have him signed through 2015. Unless they trade him, Gordon will have to remain content playing 162 games a year and going home the first week in October.
16. Jake Peavy Chicago White Sox
Peavy is actually in a good situation as the White Sox look like they are on their way up. However, he seems to be on the way down. Peavy is 28-25 in four years with the White Sox. He went 11-12 in 2012. Peavy has not done nearly as well in the AL as he did while pitching for the San Diego Padres in the NL. Maybe he needs to go back to the Senior Circuit.
15. Dustin Pedroia Boston Red Sox
Yes Red Sox Nation loves him and he loves them. However, Boston seems to be rebuilding. After a disastrous 2012 season the team fired manager Bobby Valentine. The Red Sox seem in disarray and a player like Pedroia could help someone else win. Neither side may want to part ways, but it may be best for Pedroia.
14. Ryan Howard Philadelphia Phillies
Howard came back from a torn Achilles tendon to play in 2012 which was a miracle in itself. However, he was not the same player. Who would be? The truth is Howard's numbers were going down before 2012. He has a huge contract which runs through 2016. The Phillies would probably be better off trading Howard to an AL team in need of a designated hitter and he could probably benefit from it too.
13. Jimmy Rollins Philadelphia Phillies
After 13 seasons it may be time for Rollins to leave Philadelphia. He has done everything that a ballplayer can do there. Rollins still has some good years left in him. The problem is that the Phillies seem to be an aging team trying to rebuild on the fly. If Rollins wants another shot at a title Philadelphia may not be the place to get it.
12. Johan Santana New York Mets
Since coming over to the NL and joining the Mets Santana has a record of 46-34. He was 93-44 in eight seasons with the Minnesota Twins of the AL. Santana's win total has gone down every season in New York. He may be a good pitcher on a bad team. At age 33 and with the Mets rebuilding the only way we may find out is if he goes somewhere else to pitch.
11. David Ortiz Boston Red Sox
Yes Big Papi just signed a two year contract with Boston. However, at age 36 and coming off of an injury plagued season where his former manager criticized him maybe Ortiz would be better off somewhere else. It is unlikely that the Red Sox will turn it around in two years. Ortiz may like playing for the Boston fans, but maybe he needs to go to a team like the Baltimore Orioles that could use a designated hitter to push them over the top.
10. Jaime Garcia St. Louis Cardinals
Garcia went 7-7 in 2012. In the post season Cardinals manager Mike Matheny lost confidence in Garcia and only allowed him to pitch one game. Garcia lasted only two innings in game two of the NLDS and was taken out despite holding a 4-1 lead. He did not pitch again. With Chris Carpenter coming back in 2013 there may not be room in the rotation for the 25 year old Garcia. He may be better off finding someone else to pitch for.
9. Tim Lincecum San Francisco Giants
Yes Lincecum was a vital part of San Francisco's 2012 success. His work in relief during the NL Championship and World Series helped earn the Giants their second title in three years. However, Lincecum is a starting pitcher who seems to have lost his magic in San Francisco. He has gone 23-29 the last two seasons. At age 28 there may still be some life in his arm, but the magic may not return unless he goes elsewhere.
8. Brian Roberts Baltimore Orioles
Roberts spent most of 2012 on injured reserve after having hip surgery. He has only played in 115 games since 2010. In 2012, the Orioles had a very good season without him and made the post season for the first time since 1997. Baltimore used Robert Andino at second and though he was not a great hitter the Orioles were happy with his play.
Roberts is 34 and hasn't played a full season in four years. Maybe it is time for him to part ways with Baltimore and try making a comeback somewhere else.
7. Joba Chamberlain New York Yankees
It seems as Chamberlain has had nothing but bad luck in New York. 2009 is the only season in which he has been able to stay healthy. This just so happens to be the last year New York won a World Series.
Chamberlain has never lived up to the expectations that the Yankees had for him. It looks like he never will. If he does it probably won't be in pinstripes.
6. Jose Valverde Detroit Tigers
Was there any player in baseball whose team lost more confidence in him? Valverde led the AL in saves in 2011 with 49. In 2012 that number dropped to 35 as he struggled towards the end of the season. In the post season Valverde couldn't get anyone out and manager Jim Leyland stopped using him.
Valvverde needs to get his confidence back and maybe a change of scenery is the only way this will happen.
5. B J Upton Tampa Bay Rays
Upton might be gone by the time that this is published. After eight years in Tampa it seems as if he is ready to leave. Upton rejected a $13.3 million tender to stay with the Rays.
Though he has been productive, Upton has never really reached the potential Tampa saw in him when he was drafted with a first round pick in 2002. This has caused some tension between him, the organization and the fans. Even though the Rays made their offer, Upton may have worn out his welcome with them.
It is all, but a done deal that Upton will be playing elsewhere next season.
4. Bartolo Colon Oakland Athletics
Colon let the Athletics down by testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. He was suspended for 50 games. Oakland won the AL West without him. Colon did not pitch in the post season and Oakland lost in the ALDS to the Detroit Tigers. Who knows what the A's may have been able to do with Colon?
Oakland resigned Colon to a one year deal on November 3. It seems as if the team has forgiven him. This means that Colon had better produce in 2013. Oakland may be making the right move, but Colon may be better off playing for someone else.
3. Josh Hamilton Texas Rangers
Everyone expects Hamilton to leave the Rangers via free agency. Despite helping lead Texas to two AL pennants, winning an MVP Award in 2010 and making five All-Star teams it seems as though Hamilton wants out. The Rangers seem to be in no hurry to sign him. How it has come to this no one knows.
Hamilton seems on his way to leaving Texas. If he thinks that a change of scenery is necessary who are we to argue?
2. Melky Cabrera San Francisco Giants
Cabrera put the only real damper on the Giants world championship by testing positive for performance enhancing drugs in August. He was suspended for 50 games and San Francisco left him off of the post season roster. Cabrera was counted on to help the Giants win a title and he let them down.
Now Cabrera is a free agent. If the Giants didn't want him around for the post season then maybe they don't want to resign him.
It may be best if both sides parted ways.
1. Alex Rodriguez New York Yankees
Of course Rodriguez could use a change of scenery. He has needed one since signing with New York in 2004. Since day one his career with the Yankees has been a continuing soap opera. In 2012 it continued.
A-Rod slumped badly at the plate late in the year. It got so bad that manager Joe Girardi benched him in the ALCS. Rodriguez has batted below .200 in his last three post seasons.
At age 36 A-Rod may not be over the hill, but he is not on top of it. Neither are the Yankees so it is probably long overdue that they part ways.