One of the hardest parts of the waning days of spring training is that Major League Baseball teams have to make cuts to get their rosters down to 25 players. Most of the players that will be cut are older and were clinging to the dream that they could be a utility man.
Unfortunately, things don't always work out as they would like. This is a business first and foremost, and teams have to do what is in their best interest more than show loyalty to the player.
Going deeper, some of the released players have so much wear and tear on their bodies that it will be difficult for them to find work anywhere.
Here are the some of the names released thus far that will find it difficult to get a job anywhere.
Casey Blake, 3B, Cut by Colorado
There was a time when Blake was a serviceable bat. He had productive seasons in Cleveland and just two years ago he hit .280 with a .363 on-base percentage.
But now Blake looks like a mere shell of his former self. He is 38 years old, and his bat looked much slower this spring.
The Rockies had good depth at third base, so there was really no incentive to keep Blake around. Given that he can only play corner infield spots, though not very well, his options are going to be incredibly limited.
Blake would likely have to agree to a minor-league deal to latch on somewhere else. Given his age, you have to wonder whether he wants to do that.
Joel Pineiro, SP, Cut by Philadelphia
Unlike Blake, Pineiro is young enough (33) to be a productive big leaguer. He just doesn't have the stuff or consistency to last over the course of an entire season.
Last season, he had just 3.8 strikeouts per nine innings pitched, compared to 2.3 walks. He actually cost the Angels almost two wins in WAR last season.
Another factor that hurt Pineiro was trying to make the Phillies roster. Everyone knows how deep their pitching staff is, so odds were long that he would find a job with them.
Unless a team is desperate for a starter, which happens often, Pineiro is going to find himself waiting by the phone for a long time.
Ramon Ortiz, SP, Cut by San Francisco
While I don't begrudge any player their right to keep playing, Ortiz should have been out of the game long ago. He hasn't been an effective pitcher since 2004, but that is the beauty of being a pitcher in today's game: Teams will always call.
However, once the Giants made Ortiz's release official, the writing appears to be on the wall. He has posted an ERA over 5.00 every year since 2005 (he did have a two-year stretch between 2008-2009 where he didn't pitch in the big leagues), and his ERA+ was an embarrassing 64 in 2011 with the Chicago Cubs.
Ortiz's career is over, whether he realizes it or not. Perhaps this is the time when it smacks him in the face.
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