Every MLB Team's Least Marketable Player
In Major League Baseball, it is often not only important to have great players, but ones who are marketable as well. This could mean either people who can become well-known in the game, or it could be people who would provide great trade value.
Conversely, those with ridiculous contracts or those who are clubhouse cancers end up being players who are not marketable in the slightest. Some teams know exactly who this player is, and while it's still possible for that player to be traded (Carlos Zambrano for the Cubs comes to mind), it's far from easy.
Here is every team's least marketable player.
Baltimore Orioles: Brian Roberts
Remember when Brian Roberts was the face of the Orioles lineup? It feels like an eternity ago, but he was an All-Star as recently as 2007, and played a full season in 2009.
The past two years, though, he has been hurt, keeping him out of the lineup, and he's been ineffective when he had played. His contract makes it impossible for the Orioles to do any damage control, meaning that they have to make do with whatever diminished skills Roberts has left.
Boston Red Sox: John Lackey
Here's an easy one. The Boston Red Sox probably overpaid for John Lackey before the ink was even dry on the contract, and as time has passed the contract has only looked worse.
After an average (at best) 2010, he had a horrendous 2011, and he still has three more years left on his contract. The only thing he's the poster boy of is what not to do when looking for pitching depth.
New York Yankees: Joba Chamberlain
For whatever reason, New York does not like Joba Chamberlain, and as a result the dislike has rubbed off on everyone else, even though stat-wise he appears to be a capable pitcher.
Unfortunately, he could probably have a very good year and he still would be shrugged off, and he's certainly someone who's far from marketable—even in New York.
Tampa Bay Rays: Reid Brignac
Most of the Tampa Bay Rays players who are really not marketable, such as Dan Johnson or Andy Sonnanstine, have been granted free agency this past offseason.
The answer to that is Reid Brignac, who has flashes of good play just frequently enough that he's worth keeping around, yet infrequently enough that it seems pointless to have him as a backup.
Toronto Blue Jays: Rajai Davis
The Toronto Blue Jays traded to get Rajai Davis before the 2011 season, and true to his form, Davis showed them that he could steal bases.
However, that's essentially all he did, as he was a poor hitter and fielder otherwise, and he doesn't look to be any better for the Blue Jays now that he's over 30.
Chicago White Sox: Adam Dunn
This is a temporary induction, as I imagine Adam Dunn will bounce back at least to an extent in 2011. However, he won't be doing any marketing for the White Sox any time soon after his historically bad year.
Even if a team did have a good feeling about him, his contract's too bloated to ship anywhere, and I don't know if any team would want him for half price either after the year he had.
Cleveland Indians: "Fausto Carmona"
How far the mighty have fallen.
Fausto Carmona went from having a nice comeback season in 2010 to a season nearly as bad as John Lackey's in 2011 to having the name and age dispute that's been heard across baseball.
Even if he were to find his magic touch again, he's now damaged goods, and I can't see any team wanting to pick up Mr. Heredia.
Detroit Tigers: Ramon Santiago
The Detroit Tigers infield is loaded with big hitters. Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera are MVP candidates, Jhonny Peralta has a big bat, and Brandon Inge provides the defense—plus he's been a Tiger since forever.
Ramon Santiago, meanwhile, is the guy you keep forgetting is in the mix with all these other big time players. He's serviceable but forgettable, especially in the marketing areas.
Kansas City Royals: Danny Duffy
The Royals have a good corps of hitters as well as a nice bullpen. As a result, the least marketable position in general would be the starting pitchers.
Since Kyle Davies is long gone, the least marketable title falls to Danny Duffy. The rookie didn't show much in 2011, but he has another year or two to figure things out in the Royals' rotation.
Minnesota Twins: Nick Blackburn
How do you market a workhorse pitcher who can almost keep his ERA under four, never throws strikeouts, and has yet to have a very good season in five years?
The short answer is that you don't. The Twins have Carl Pavano and Francisco Liriano who are far more marketable as it is, as is Scott Baket after his nice 2011 season.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Vernon Wells
The Los Angeles Angels have two extremes in their marketability. On the one side, they have a great starting rotation led by Jered Weaver and the acquisition of all-time great Albert Pujols.
On the other side, they—for some reason—traded for Vernon Wells, and he repaid the favor by, as usual, not living up to his contract and only hitting .218. Plus, they can't get rid of him because only one team would even think of trading for him.
Oakland Athletics: Manny Ramirez
In a sense, Manny Ramirez could probably go on both the most marketable list and least marketable for Oakland. After all, his antics are certainly going to attract a crowd.
Still, what sense does it make business-wise to bring an old player with his kind of baggage to mentor the youngsters? Signing Ramirez was baffling, to say the least, and I don't know how you market a moneyball-type team with him in it.
Seattle Mariners: Chone Figgins
Chone Figgins was signed by the Seattle Mariners in 2010 after a career year to help bring a spark into the lineup, since he was quite good at getting on base.
Well, in two seasons he's looked awful, and with his contract no one's going to pick him up. What's worse is that the rest of the lineup isn't that much better, so the Mariners are stuck letting him play in the lineup quite often.
Texas Rangers: Mitch Moreland
The Texas Rangers are loaded with big bats. Adrian Beltre, Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz and others can all have big nights. As a result, one would expect the first baseman to be a big bat.
Instead, they have Mitch Moreland there, a replaceable guy who has yet to show much. He has his fans, but with the kind of star power they have, Moreland, at best, is forgettable in the lineup.
Atlanta Braves: Cory Gearrin
The Braves have a great bullpen, few large contracts, and seem to have everything in place for a great run, making finding a player without marketability very difficult, especially now that Kenshin Kawakami's no longer on the team.
I guess the best option here is Cory Gearrin, the rookie reliever who had a 7.85 ERA in 18 games. He's young enough that he can shrug it off, but for now he's a footnote in the bullpen, let alone on the team.
Miami Marlins: Carlos Zambrano
The Miami Marlins overpaid for a few players this past offseason, namely a certain one named Jose Reyes. The team is building around him though, so of course he's marketable big time.
Carlos Zambrano, meanwhile, is a strange pickup in the Cubs trade, even though the Cubs are paying most of the salary. Yes he can pitch well, but did the Marlins not see the drama that took place in 2011?
Who knows, maybe the change in scenery will make him marketable again.
New York Mets: Jason Bay
The New york Mets have done a good deal of spring cleaning the past year or so to get rid of bad contracts, and as a result there are very few left. One that comes to mind, rendering the player unmarketable, is Jason Bay.
Bay's first two years as a Met have been full of question marks, and he hasn't looked remotely like the guy he was on the Red Sox. If the Mets can hold on one more year and Bay isn't too bad, then he may become marketable, but until then, he's on the list.
Philadelphia Phillies: Domonic Brown
Enough trade rumors floated around for Joe Blanton this past offseason that it's kept him from being on this list, even though his stats make it look like he should be. Besides, for the Phillies, the least marketable player would be a hitter.
I keep seeing Domonic Brown's name pop up as the next big thing in the Phillies outfield, but he couldn't even wrestle away the job from Ben Francisco last year, and it looks like he may not hold it this year either. He should not be having trouble holding on to the spot if he's as good as rumored.
Washington Nationals: Jayson Werth
With a rebuilt pitching staff and a core presence in the lineup, it's perhaps ironic that the outfield may be the Nationals' weak spot given the money they used to build it up in the form of Jayson Werth.
Werth's contract is through 2017, so there's no way he can be traded. He struggled his first year with the Nationals, and it doesn't look like he's going to be much better this year. The Nats don't need money going down the drain, even in a tough division.
Chicago Cubs: Alfonso Soriano
The Chicago Cubs spent the 2011 season retooling and rebuilding, getting rid of most of their ridiculous contracts, and as a result they can restart the process of building a contender.
Alfonso Soriano is the only real holdover since it's impossible to find anyone to take his contract. His skills have diminished too far for him to be of any value to a team, and he'll probably retire once his contract is up anyway.
Cincinnati Reds: Homer Bailey
This is actually a tough one since the Reds don't have any major contract issues or any clear clubhouse cancers. Besides, any competition that any starters would have they traded away.
That leaves Homer Bailey, who simply seems to be the guy who could be the fifth starter sometimes. That's not enough to be noticed, which is perhaps why he didn't end up being traded despite it not looking like there's room for him.
Houston Astros: Brandon Lyon
There are only four Astros with contracts of any noteworthy size, and three of them, Carloe Lee, Wandy Rodriguez, and Brett Myers, were talked about the whole offseason.
The fourth one, Brandon Lyon, is being paid the least next season at $5.5 million, yet no team ever popped up asking about him. Perhaps that's because he had an 11.48 ERA in 15 games, and having bicep surgery hasn't helped his marketability.
Milwaukee Brewers: Chris Narveson
The Milwaukee Brewers have a fearsome foursome of their own in the pitching rotation. There's veteran workhorse Randy Wolf, Milwaukee's own ace Yovanni Gallardo, and the two big time pickups Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum.
Chris Narveson, meanwhile, is a serviceable fifth starter but is easily forgotten behind the first four, and he doesn't really do much to stand out. Heck, he's not even bad enough in the role to stand out (which is, of course, a good thing); he just is what he is.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Pedro Alvarez
The Pittsburgh Pirates are starting to get their pitching in order, and their outfield is definitely the best part of the team. The infield, meanwhile, has Pedro Alvarez.
Alvarez is still young, but then again, so is Andrew McCutchen and Jose Tabata, and they're doing fine. Alvarez only hit .191 in 74 games, and the team brought in Brandon Wood—of all people—to compete with him for the job.
St. Louis Cardinals: Skip Schumaker
When the St. Louis Cardinals geared up for the 2011 season, I figured they would be good to go as long as the infield was tweaked. They did so by trading Brendan Ryan, though I had been expecting Skip Schumaker to do.
Schumaker has been a Cardinal for some time and a mainstay in the infield, but even in his good statistical years he feels like a weak link on a team, and it feels like there's little to market.
I may be underrating him, but it does feel like he's put wherever on the diamond for a reason.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Lyle Overbay
The Arizona Diamondbacks came out of nowhere to win the NL West, and shed a lot of dead weight while doing so; most of their non-marketable players are long gone.
One person who I can't explain them keeping, however, is Lyle Overbay. He was one of the many pieces of the first baseman-by-committee group that failed to produce anything. Besides, the team is committed to Paul Goldschmidt, so keeping Overbay around doesn't make much sense.
Colorado Rockies: Esmil Rogers
It's natural that the Rockies are going to have a pitcher as their least marketable person. After all, they always have great hitting and terrible pitching up in Coors Field.
Esmil Rogers may have lasted as long as he has thanks to that stigma, as in two full seasons split between starting and relieving, but he can't seem to keep his ERA under six. That's a problem for any pitcher, even in Colorado.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Juan Uribe
Ted Lilly may be the pick here for some, which makes sense. He has a big contract that not many teams are willing to take, but at least he's performing adequately. The same can't be said for Juan Uribe.
Uribe's set to make $16 million the next two years, and I can't see any team wanting that after he hit .204 this season. It looks like he flamed out rather quickly, making it another contract error the Dodgers will have to absorb.
San Diego Padres: Will Venable
The San Diego Padres never seem to have a team that can hit the ball well. Many of their benchwarmers could not even crack .200 last year, though they are mostly gone now.
What's left is people like Will Venable, who seem to put up stats that are just good enough to keep them in the lineup everyday, yet are quite forgettable otherwise. There aren't all that many marketable hitters in San Diego, so he could be replaced with almost anyone.
San Francisco Giants: Barry Zito
Giants fans will tell you that it feels like Zito has been on the team and his contract has lasted for an eternity, but that's not too far from the truth. His contract's finally done in 2013, and he's been there since 2007.
He never got it going in San Francisco, and his marketability disappeared completely. Even trading him next year, let alone this year, looks like it would be nearly impossible with how tough a road Zito's had.