10 MLB Superstars Who Deserve to Be Placed on Waivers, but Won't
In just under two weeks, the MLB waiver-trade period will expire, and rosters will be expanded to 40 players.
The month of August is always interesting, as GMs across MLB often use the waiver wire to gauge interest in players for a possible deal either during the month or during the upcoming offseason.
However, there are some players that just simply deserve to be put on waivers, either because of their bloated salaries or because of their poor play throughout the year.
Sometimes, it's a combination of both.
Here are 10 players that should be placed on waivers, but likely won't be.
Jason Werth: Washington Nationals
Washington Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth has now played in 13 games since returning to action after breaking his wrist in early May, and has actually played well, hitting .405 with eight RBI in 13 games heading into Friday night.
However, Werth is still owed just north of $100 million through the 2017 season, and if the Nationals were awarded a do-over, no doubt that GM Mike Rizzo would have re-thought that deal.
Werth could still live up to the $20 million average salary he's owed for the next five seasons, but the key word here is 'could.' It's certainly not a guarantee.
Considering that Werth is already 33 years of age, the word "could" will likely be "won't."
Mark Teixeira: New York Yankees
New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira signed an eight-year, $180 million contract prior to the 2009 season, and the first years saw terrific production from the slugging switch-hitter.
Teixeira averaged 37 HR and 111 RBI in his first three years in the Bronx, and this year will likely fall short of both, currently with 23 HR and 78 RBI with 44 games to go.
Teixeira is owed $90 million for the next four seasons, and while I'm not suggesting Teixeira's skills are on the decline based on current numbers, it's a stretch to think he can keep up those numbers as he approaches his mid-30s.
Yankees managing partner Hal Steinbrenner is all about the bottom line, putting out an edict to get his team underneath the luxury-tax threshold and being more prudent with the vast amounts of money in the Yankees' coffers.
Teixeira certainly hasn't been a burden by any means, but no doubt young Hal cringes when he sees what he'll paying out to Teixeira over the next four years.
Rickie Weeks: Milwaukee Brewers
The 2012 season has been a disaster for the Milwaukee Brewers.
They have witnessed Alex Gonzalez, Mat Gamel and Chris Narveson go down with season-ending injuries, their hot-hitting catcher Jonathan Lucroy felled for almost two months after breaking his hand retrieving a suitcase, the trade of their ace pitcher Zack Greinke, and their No. 2 pitcher, Shaun Marcum, out for two months with elbow issues.
The Brewers have also watched second baseman Rickie Weeks struggle throughout the entire season.
Weeks entered the All-Star break under the Mendoza line, hitting just .199 and striking out at an alarming rate. He has picked it up since, hitting .278 to bring his season average up to .221.
However, Weeks is owed $21 million over the next two seasons. For a team that appears to be in rebuild mode, Weeks represents a bit of a conundrum. Does any team really want a $10 million second baseman who hits .221 and strikes out a lot?
Ryan Howard: Philadelphia Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard has now played in 32 games since returning from the disabled list after tearing his Achilles tendon in the final play of the NLDS last season.
The Phillies were 10 games under .500 when Howard returned to the lineup, and they're exactly 10 games under .500 after his return as well, so his presence in the lineup hasn't done much to spur the team on. Of course, getting rid of two-thirds of the outfield didn't help, either.
However, Howard is owed $105 million after this season, and his production has already seen decline since the mid-to-late 2000s. During that time, Howard averaged 49 HR and 143 RBI between 2006 and 2009, and just 32 HR and 112 RBI the following two seasons.
At 32 years of age and with the nine figures still owed to him, Howard would absolutely clear waivers without any question. The Phillies will be stuck with that contract.
Dan Uggla: Atlanta Braves
After this season ends, Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla will have three years and $39 million left on his contract.
Does anyone else think that for a streaky .215 hitter who strikes out a ton, that's an awful lot of bling?
Uggla won't come anywhere near last year's power numbers when he rebounded after a poor start to hit 36 HR with 82 RBI. With 44 games remaining heading into Friday night's action, Uggla has 15 HR and 62 RBI to go along with his .215 average and 134 strikeouts.
No doubt his supporters will point to Uggla's league-leading 72 walks and tout the .347 on-base percentage.
However, the Braves didn't pay Uggla to walk.
John Lackey: Boston Red Sox
Even when John Lackey is injured, he finds himself at the center of clubhouse controversy.
Lackey has been traveling with the team to continue rehabbing with team trainers following his offseason Tommy John surgery. CSNNE.com's Joe Haggerty reported that Lackey was seen in the Sox clubhouse 'double-fisting' two cans of Bud Light beer following a loss on the road to the Cleveland Indians.
What Lackey did was not against company policy—the Red Sox have banned alcohol from the home clubhouse but not on the road—however, after last year's chicken-and-beer fiasco of which Lackey was clearly a part of, the mere appearance of anything untoward will fan the flames in a town already wracked with frustration for an underachieving team.
Lackey is owed another $31 million beyond this season.
Oh, well—at least he'll only be playing for $500K in 2015.
Vernon Wells: Los Angeles Angels
There has been no confirmation that Los Angeles Angels left fielder Vernon Wells has been placed on waivers during the month of August. Teams generally keep those transactions under wraps anyway, so no confirmation would be expected.
But is there really any doubt he should be placed on waivers?
Wells is owed roughly $45 million through the 2014 season, and given his lack of production during his time with the Angels, combined with the future outlook for stars Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo, Wells' time in Anaheim will not be spent patrolling the outfield on a regular basis.
Barry Zito: San Francisco Giants
Left-hander Barry Zito is actually having a somewhat decent season in his sixth year with the San Francisco Giants—but that in itself isn't saying much.
Zito enters Friday night with a 9-8 record and 4.29 ERA in 23 starts. Still nowhere near his numbers with the Oakland A's, but certainly better than what he achieved in his first five seasons in the city by the bay.
The Giants are still on the hook for $30 million, and what is largely considered the worst contract in team history will mercifully end next season.
Josh Beckett: Boston Red Sox
On Tuesday night against the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Josh Beckett once again failed to deliver on what has been a season of discontent and disappointment.
Beckett gave up six runs in 5.1 innings, dropping his record to 5-10 with a 5.19 ERA. Both Red Sox aces, Beckett and Jon Lester, now have ERAs north of 5.00 with a combined record of 11-20.
Beckett is owed about $34 million through the next two-plus seasons—money that the Red Sox thought they were giving to an ace.
If in fact he was pitching like one, that is.
Alex Rodriguez: New York Yankees
After having his left hand broken by a wayward pitch from Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez, New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is working to try to return sometime in September.
Rodriguez is still owed roughly $110 million through the 2017 season, not including another $30 million he could receive in marketing bonuses for achieving various milestones.
A-Rod got paid $32 million this season alone for producing just 15 HR and 44 RBI thus far.
I don't know—need I really say any more?
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.