No spots are guaranteed in Major League Baseball. Each team is equipped with understudies looking for a chance to prove themselves in the starting lineup. Beyond that, clubs have farm teams full of players waiting to be called up to the big leagues. With so many athletes working to take the next step in their careers, it doesn’t make sense to think that some teams continue to start players who don’t produce at a high level.
These players come in many forms. It could be a pitcher who can’t control his pitches, a position player who’s not contributing to the club’s success, or a closer who has become a liability late in games. This is a list of some notable players who don’t deserve their respective roles.
15. Bartolo Colon
He’s been around the league for a while, using his entertaining antics and impressive arm to win the respect of fans everywhere. However, Colon might be at the end of the road. The 44-year-old did not get off to a good start this season after signing with the Atlanta Braves as a free agent, registering an 8.14 ERA through 13 starts.
Things went slightly better for Colon after he was signed by the Minnesota Twins. He posted a 4.02 ERA with the team, but that isn’t a sign of continued improvement. Retirement is in Colon’s best interest at this point, unless he wants to put his reputation on the line with another disastrous campaign.
14. Kyle Schwarber
Everything seemed to start well for this Chicago Cub. After being drafted in the first round of the 2014 MLB draft, Schwarber began to show a high level of potential in the league.
This season, however, Schwarber hasn’t been so impressive. He played a role in Chicago’s run to the World Series last year, but now his statistics suggest that he would be better off in the minor leagues. Schwarber’s .120 batting average in May was the lowest mark in the league. It was bad enough to convince the Cubs to demote him to AAA. Although he is back in the majors, Schwarber seems to be filling space that could be occupied by a more talented player.
13. Jordan Zimmerman
He’s just 31 years old, but Zimmerman’s play is reminiscent of someone who has passed their prime. After recovering from a shaky start to his professional career, Zimmerman finished with ERAs below 3.66 for five consecutive years. He was in the Cy Young conversation in 2013 and 2014.
His play has declined sharply since then due to multiple injuries. Zimmerman posted a 6.08 ERA this season with a record of 8-13. He is no longer a reliable option on the mound, and it’s only a matter of time before a younger player takes his spot in the rotation.
12. Curtis Granderson
The third pick in the 2002 MLB draft has experienced considerable success in the league. He became the second in the history of the Detroit Tigers to tally 30 doubles, 15 triples, 15 home runs and 10 stolen bases in a season. Now, the 36-year old isn’t as impressive as he used to be.
Granderson picked up four stolen bases in 2017, falling behind the benchmark of 26 that he set earlier in his career. He also posted a dismal .212 batting average. Granderson’s continued lack of meaningful production means it’s time to find a replacement.
11. Kevin Gausman
At the young age of 26, Gausman still has plenty of time to work on his craft. However, his spot with the Baltimore Orioles will be in jeopardy if he continues to underperform. After a rough rookie year in 2013, a season in which he finished with a 5.66 ERA, Gausman started to find a groove. He posted a combined 3.77 ERA over the next three years.
Gausman’s numbers this season looked similar to his rookie campaign. He finished with a 4.68 ERA and a 11-12 record. While he is still in the early stages of his career, Gausman has been inconsistent enough to warrant his replacement.
10. Dansby Swanson
Fans of the Atlanta Braves had high hopes for Swanson after the team selected him with the first pick of the 2015 entry draft. He started out by playing half of a season with the Braves, hitting .302 with 3 home runs in that span. Swanson also had six errors on defense during that time, raising concerns about his reliability.
This season, he batted .232 with six home runs. Swanson needs to improve if he wants to be successful in the majors, and it isn’t worth Atlanta’s time to leave him in an important role with the club.
9. Alcides Escobar
After helping Kansas City reach the World Series in 2014 and 2015, Escobar’s value has decreased significantly. He has experienced many drops and surges in production throughout his career, batting as low as .234 in 2013 and as high as .304 in 2009.
Lately, Escobar’s numbers have been gravitating towards where they were in 2013. He finished with an unremarkable .250 average this season to go along with just six home runs. Escobar also swiped just four bases, falling drastically short of his career-high of 35 set in 2012. The Royals might want to consider letting him go before things get worse.
8. Wade Miley
A seven-year veteran, Miley had a decent stretch from 2012 to 2013 in which he posted a combined 3.44 ERA. His performance since then has been anything but impressive. This season, Miley finished with a 5.61 ERA and walked 93 batters. Those numbers prove that he is not a reliable starting pitcher. Like Gausman, Miley should be in line for replacement.
7. Byron Buxton
Buxton is quick on the basepaths and in the field. However, the 2nd overall pick in the 2012 draft isn’t ready to compete at a high level. Through segments of three seasons in the majors, Buxton has compiled a disappointing .237 batting average and has just 28 home runs in 278 games.
He still has time to bring those numbers up, but that development shouldn’t be taking palace in a key role with the Twins. A stint in the minors could help him become a more consistent contributor for the club.
6. Matt Moore
At one point, it seemed that Moore would never be on this list. After debuting with Tampa Bay in 2011 as a 22-year-old, Moore posted a 3.53 ERA over the next three-and-a-half years. His success earned him an appearance in the All-Star Game.
In 2014, things went south for Moore. He underwent Tommy John surgery and struggled to regain his control on the mound. He finished with a 6-15 record and a 5.52 ERA this season. At the age of 28, Moore should be in his prime statistically. Until he figures things out, Moore belongs anywhere but a major league starting rotation.
5. Trevor Story
Story made an immediate impact upon debuting with the Colorado Rockies in 2016, tallying seven home runs in his first six games. He would go on to finish his rookie season hitting .272 with 27 homers and 72 RBIs in 92 games.
2017 wasn’t as successful for Story. He hit just .239 while striking out 191 times in 503 at-bats. It appears that Story’s initial success was short-lived, and he might need some time to develop before taking on a significant role with the Rockies.
4. Tim Anderson
Tim Anderson is young and has time to continue adjusting to the major leagues. However, hitting .257 this season and continuing to struggle on defense proved to be unimpressive for Anderson. He currently has 42 errors in 243 career games, leaving much to be desired from his fielding abilities. He lacks the consistency of a routine starter, and there are plenty of players in the White Sox organization who would like to have a shot at his position.
3. Francisco Rodriguez
Unlike many of the players on this list, Rodriguez doesn’t have the benefit of time. He just wrapped up his 16th MLB season, and his performance suggests that he might want to consider making it his last one. Rodriguez posted a 7.82 ERA this season and blew six saves while tossing just 25 1/3 innings.
Despite his recent struggles, Rodriguez currently has 437 career saves to compliment a 2.86 ERA. Those numbers are nothing to be ashamed of, and it would be best for him to retire before his Hall of Fame reputation is tarnished.
2. Tyler Clippard
Clippard experienced some success after debuting with the Yankees in 2007. He racked up a 2.95 ERA through his first 10 seasons in the league while mostly assuming setup duties. Clippard returned to New York in 2016 and registered a 2.49 ERA, but that wasn’t a sign of things to come.
He went on to post a 4.77 ERA through 60 1/3 innings this season. He also blew six save attempts. Although he has traditionally been relied upon to deliver in late innings, it’s time for Clippard to find a different role considering his declining performance.
1. Jose Bautista
The man known as Joey Bats is one of the best to ever wear a Blue Jays uniform, but it’s time for the club to reconsider his role. After hitting 240 homers from 2009 to 2015, Bautista is no longer producing like he once did. He registered a lowly .203 mark at the plate this season and struck out 170 times in 587 at-bats. It might be time for Bautista to take his 331 career home runs and call it quits.