The All Abandon Ship Team
After the All-Too Hot of a Start team and the All-Sure to Bounce Back Team, we take today to notice the All-Abandon Ship Team. This all is in celebration as we approach a full month of baseball in 2016. This team is made up of veterans reaching the end of the line, former top prospects who are still yet to pan out, and position place-holders on teams that were just hoping for adequate production, but found mediocrity, and can’t hold out on them any longer.
First Base- Logan Morrison
The Rays acquired Morrison from the Mariners this past offseason in hopes that they could do that thing Joe Maddon was good at with making players good again. Morrison saw a steep fall in production in the middle of Seattle’s lineup last year, and new GM Jerry DiPoto had no interest in seeing him again this year. Unfortunately for the Rays, DiPoto was more than right. In 50 at-bats in 2016, Morrison has 4 hits. Not 14 hits. 4 hits. That’s good for a .080 batting average. It’s a wonder how he’s even been allowed 50 at-bats. When you go 4/50, you shouldn’t be in the lineup no matter who you are. When you’re 4/50, the rookie league first baseman can get called up and get more hits than you with a hot first two days. When you’re 4/50, the team can’t even wait on you to pull it together. Morrison has left no choice for the Rays. Morrison won’t be the Rays first baseman any time soon.
Second Base- Aaron Hill
Danny Espinosa is a better candidate here, but he doesn’t quite qualify anymore as he’s playing mostly shortstop for the Nats now. So it’s Aaron Hill who I invite you to abandon ship on. It feels as though it hardly counts at this point though, as the last crew already abandoned ship on him. It’s not as though the Brewers were holding out on him being productive. Rather, it’s more like in The Pirates of the Caribbean when the crew of the Black Pearl took on a curse in order to get a chest full of gold. The Brewers took on Hill’s contract in order to add some nice prospects in the Jean Segura trade. As expected, Hill is hitting below .200, with a .185/.220/.259 line. But it’s only one year that the Brewers have to deal with him at second base, then he’s free to go, having accrued all of his $35 million he got offered in 2014.
Third Base- Pablo Sandoval
I know there’s no sport in picking a ship that’s already sunk, but there’s not much competition at this position. So let’s reflect on Pablo Sandoval for a minute. Yet another notch in the post of bad free-agent signings that John Henry has to pay for. For the next four years, Sandoval is owed a fat $90 million. What’s he doing now? Manning Boston’s bench until he loses more weight, again. What’s his slash line this year? Inexistent. Yes Sandoval has zero hits in 7 plate appearances. It’s hard to imagine someone with less favor in Boston. Maybe A-Rod.
Shortstop- Nick Ahmed
A nice add-on to the Justin Upton trade from 2013, three years later Ahmed and Randall Delgado are the only players that remain on either team from the blockbuster. Superior defense is what keeps him in the lineup in Arizona. But he’s not the first to play into that narrative, and Peter Bourjos and Andrelton Simmons can attest, the best defense in the world can only keep a team happy for so long. Ahmed is hitting .200/.273/.357. In a career 612 plate appearances, he’s now hit .219/.270/.348. There’s no doubt, Ahmed is a great defender at the premium position, but unless he gets his average up to around .250 the Diamondbacks will be looking to upgrade, because no one wants a long-term .220 hitter in their lineup.
Catcher- Alex Avila
The former All-Star has been trending downward for a while now, and unfortunately this might be his last big league stop. The White Sox picked up Alex Avila and thus far have platooned him with journeyman Dioner Navarro. Unfortunately neither have been up to par in a subpar White Sox offense. Avila has logged a slash line of .214/.333/.250. Never a good sign when your OBP is higher than you slugging percentage. The 29 year old has had a tough couple seasons leading to this, and it’s unlikely he’s viewed as anything more than a backup in the future.
Right Field- Jayson Werth
I’m actually breaking my own rules here, as Werth plays primarily left field for the Nationals, but with a weak field of weak right fielders, I thought he’d be the best one to slot in here. The Nationals are nearing the end of the road with the generous commitment they made to Werth back in 2011. He gets a hefty $21 million check in both 2016 and 2017, and then it’s likely off to retirement for the 41-year old… I mean, 36 year old. That was weird. It’s been a good run for the fair-haired outfielder, but as expected, it’s nearing its end. Werth is hitting .204/.331/.408 in 2016, a number that could improve, but likely won’t get too far above replacement level. He’s one of the few free agents that a team can say has been worth the investment. But these are the twilight years of Jayson Werth in Washington.
Center Field- Byron Buxton
Let’s be clear here, I’m not saying the Twins should give up on Buxton at this point. But I’m not the Twins. Which is why I can say with no stakes, I’m not waiting on Byron Buxton any longer. I was a believer too. And he absolutely is a true five-tool player, and there are more than a few examples of high-ceiling players who take much longer than this to develop. But I’m not waiting. The Twins sent Buxton down once again, in what proved to be another stretch of 17 Major League games that came too early for the first round draft pick. He got 7 hits on 49 at-bats. So yeah, he needed to go down. It’s not as though he’s not the future of the Twins in center field. After all, he has to be. But between the injuries, the slow development, and the under-performance at the Major League level, I’m jumping ship and finding another one. Tell me I’m wrong when he works out. But I’ll be worried about another prospect by that point.
Left Field- Hector Olivera
This one’s obvious. After signing a substantial free agent contract with the Dodgers after making it to the states, the Braves went out of their way to accrue Hector Olivera to play third base for them and provide some ever-needed pop. After a hot spring training that looked to be what they were getting, but that was before one week into the season, when Olivera was arrested at the team hotel, under charges of domestic abuse. Now, he’s on leave, awaiting what many expect to be a lengthy suspension. Eventually he’ll get through the suspension, and he’ll make it back to the Braves. That is, as long as they can’t trade him first (unlikely).
Designated Hitter- Billy Butler
I mean there’s nothing really abandon ship on here. No one’s trading for Butler, unless the A’s give up something nice, and he’s still going to DH for them for $10 million a season. But the A’s are a little sick of him. His numbers have taken a steep drop since leaving the Royals. Really, his average has dropped at least 18 points each of the last four seasons, so call it trajectory. He’s off to his usual slow start in Oakland and A’s faithful is less than optimistic that he’ll become worth the $10 million he’s owed in the next two seasons.
Starting Pitcher- Matt Cain
Bad news Giants fans. Matt Cain is washed up. What’s that? You already knew. Oh, well, end of article I guess. Just entertain me for a minute. I take some pride in my work. The former postseason hero and All-Star game starter has been far from those two things since his heyday is 2012. Since that year his ERA have looked like this: 4.00, 4.18, 5.79, 6.43. That’s when an injury, or sometimes two in every one of those years. The Giants put him back in their rotation again this year, but have seen no fruit. His Ks are down, his walks are up, his contact rate is way up, its pretty much all bad for Matt Cain. But the Giants will probably still find some way to win the World Series again.