15 Biggest Flops for MLB's Most Disappointing Teams
Every team enters the season with a certain expectations placed upon them, and for one reason or another, there are always teams who fall short and into the category of disappointment.
For the sake of this article, I have taken into account two different kinds of teams that can be deemed disappointments.
First, the teams who entered the season with playoff aspirations who are currently out of the playoff picture. This includes Boston, Cleveland, Colorado, Miami, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Toronto.
The other teams came into the season viewed as legitimate World Series contenders but currently find themselves on the fringe of the postseason picture, such as Arizona and the Los Angeles Angels.
So here is a look at the 15 biggest flops from those nine teams. These players have played a part in their team being among the most disappointing in baseball.
C Ramon Hernandez, Colorado Rockies
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.212/.246/.339, 4 HR, 25 RBI, 13 R
The Rockies signed a number of veterans this offseason in hopes of making a playoff push, and while none of them have turned out great, the Hernandez signing goes down as the worst of the bunch.
He was brought on following a solid .282 BA, 12 HR, 36 RBI season with over 298 at-bats for the Reds in 2011. The plan was that he would bridge the gap to top prospect Wilin Rosario.
Instead, Hernandez struggled early. The team wound up promoting Rosario, who has proven ready sooner than expected with a .245 BA, 20 HR, 51 RBI line. Now the Rockies are stuck with Hernandez and his $3.2 million salary for next season.
SP Randy Wolf, Milwaukee Brewers (Now a Free Agent)
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25 G, 24 GS, 3-10, 5.69 ERA, 96 Ks, 142.1 IP
On the strength of a good season with the Dodgers in 2009, Wolf earned a questionable three-year, $29.75 million deal from the Brewers.
He pitched as well as anyone could have hoped over the first two years of the deal, winning 13 games in each season and posting a combined 3.93 ERA while averaging 214 innings.
The wheels fell off this season, though, and he was released last week with Shaun Marcum returning from the disabled list and the Brewers' young fill-in starters pitching well enough to warrant a longer look. At $9.5 million this season, Wolf was one of the worst values in all of baseball.
1B Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies
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.245/.329/.450, 8 HR, 25 RBI, 15 R
When Howard went down with a torn Achilles on the final play of last season's NLDS, he was expected to be out for all of spring training and part of the regular season.
Instead, it took over nine months before he was back on the field, and upon his return he has failed to provide the offensive spark the Phillies hoped he could.
He's struck out 61 times in 151 at-bats and has not displayed his usual power stroke. Luckily for the Phillies, he has at least four years and $105 million to get things back on track.
SP Ervin Santana, Los Angeles Angels
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25 GS, 7-11, 5.45 ERA, 100 Ks, 148.2 IP
For all that was made of the pairing of teammates Dan Haren, C.J. Wilson and Jered Weaver, the Angels had a fourth potential ace entering the season in Ervin Santana.
Having gone 28-22 with a 3.65 ERA, he had seemingly put his disastrous 2009 (5.03 ERA) behind him. He had the potential to be the best No. 4 starter in baseball.
Instead, he's been one of the worst qualifying starters in all of baseball, and with teammate Haren struggling as well, the Angels' rotation has been a major weakness as opposed to the major strength it was expected to be.
CF Grady Sizemore, Cleveland Indians
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Injured, has not played.
The Indians made what appeared to be a wise move when they declined their $9 million option on Sizemore this past offseason, but then they decided to bring him back on a one-year deal.
That was all well and good, but they brought him back with intentions of making him the everyday center fielder without any real backup plan in place.
Like he has the past several years, Sizemore was quick to go down with an injury. He was lost for the season before spring training even started. That meant a shift from left field to center field for Michael Brantley, which has provided a gaping hole in left field for the entire season.
SP Dan Haren, Los Angeles Angels
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23 GS, 8-10, 4.82 ERA, 108 Ks, 134.1 IP
When the Angels signed C.J. Wilson this past winter, it was expected that he would form a three-headed monster atop the rotation with Jered Weaver and Dan Haren.
While Weaver has held up his end of the bargain, Haren has struggled mightily, and in the end, Wilson has essentially replaced his production as opposed to adding onto it.
He missed time due to injury this season after making at least 33 starts each year since 2005. While he is still only 31 years old, there is certainly a question of whether or not the Angels will pick up his $15.5 million option for next season.
1B Gaby Sanchez, Miami Marlins (now with Pirates)
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.214/.260/.321, 4 HR, 19 RBI, 20 R
Sanchez was a surprise All-Star selection in 2011 when he hit .293 BA, 13 HR, 50 RBI in the first half, and that success helped cover a terrible .225 BA, six HR, 28 RBI second half.
The Marlins have been a disaster this season from top to bottom, but Sanchez was bad enough to earn a demotion to Triple-A. When the team moved him at the deadline, he was hitting .202, with three home runs and 17 RBI in 183 big league at-bats.
He's been a little better since joining the Pirates (.255 BA, 1 HR, 2 RBI) in a limited role, but at this point it is safe to say that his 2011 first half was a fluke.
SP Ubaldo Jimenez, Cleveland Indians
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26 GS, 9-13, 5.58 ERA, 124 Ks, 148.1 IP
The Indians swung the surprise deal of the deadline in 2011 when they shipped their two top pitching prospects among four players to acquire Jimenez from the Rockies.
He went just 4-4 with a 5.10 ERA in 11 starts after joining the team last season, but the hope was that he could regain his 2010 form, which earned him 19 wins and a third-place Cy Young vote.
Instead, he's been among the worst pitchers in baseball. It will be interesting to see what the team does with him moving forward, as he has a $5.75 million option for 2013 and an $8 million option for 2014.
SP Josh Beckett, Boston Red Sox (now with Dodgers)
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21 GS, 5-11, 5.23 ERA, 94 Ks, 127.1 IP
After a terrible 2010 season, Beckett bounced back with a fantastic year last year when he went 13-7 with a 2.89 ERA.
However, the season ended with him in the middle of the locker room scandal involving a handful of the team's pitchers drinking beers and playing video games on their off days.
Beckett was never able to get on track in 2012 and was recently traded to the Dodgers in the biggest cost-cutting move in baseball history. He still has the big-game resume, but he's shown no signs this season of being anywhere near the pitcher he once was.
CF Chris Young, Arizona Diamondbacks
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.226/.334/.434, 13 HR, 36 RBI, 35 R, 8 SB
Never one to hit for a high average, Young has always found other ways to make an impact. He was a legitimate 30-30 threat each season and someone who drew a solid amount of walks despite his high strikeout rate.
However, he has not produced as well this season from a power-speed standpoint after missing time early. As a result, his low batting average becomes a hindrance. Lately, he's been relegated to fourth outfielder status with Gerardo Parra seeing the bulk of the playing time in center field.
SP Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox
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26 GS, 8-10, 4.98 ERA, 139 Ks, 161 IP
Heading into this season, Lester had emerged as one of the best pitchers in all of baseball after going a combined 65-32 with a 3.33 ERA over the past four seasons. He won at least 15 games each season during that span and never had an ERA over 3.50.
He's actually turned things around of late, as he was 5-10 with a 5.36 ERA before turning in three straight quality starts. There is little doubt he failed to live up to the role of staff ace this season.
RP Heath Bell, Miami Marlins
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58 G, 2-5, 19-of-25 Sv, 5.68 ERA, 8.2 K/9
Part of the Marlins' offseason spending spree, Bell was inked to a three-year, $27 million deal after recording at least 40 saves in each of the past three seasons while closing for the Padres.
Things started off with a thud, as he blew three of his first five save chances and had a 10.80 ERA through his first eight appearances.
He's bounced back and forth from closer to setup man, and it looks as though he's finally lost closing duties for good to Steven Cishek.
SP Ricky Romero, Toronto Blue Jays
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26 GS, 8-11, 5.63 ERA, 104 Ks, 155 IP
Romero joined the Blue Jays rotation in 2009, and he has gotten markedly better each season leading up to a breakout 2011 in which he went 15-11 with a 2.92 ERA and 178 strikeouts.
This was expected to be the season he made the final step and joined the ranks of the game's elite, but he has instead struggled to the third-worst ERA among qualifiers, topped only by Randy Wolf and Jeremy Guthrie.
The Blue Jays rotation as a whole has been a mess this season, as they've been hit hard by injury. While Romero has been one of the few to stay healthy, it has not resulted in production.
2B Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee Brewers
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.212/.320/.367, 13 HR, 45 RBI, 57 R
In the wake of Prince Fielder's departure, one of the players most counted on to pick up the run-production slack was Weeks.
After a breakout 2010 season, the team signed him to a four-year, $38.5 million extension, and he made his first All-Star appearance last season although he was limited to just 118 games due to injury.
Still only 29, he's taken a major step back this season. His inability to pick up some of the offensive slack certainly played a role in the Brewers' big fall-off.
Starting Pitchers...All of Them, Colorado Rockies
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On the season, 13 different pitchers have started a game for the Rockies, and each one is as guilty as the last for the team being in last place in the NL West.
As a group, Rockies starters have gone 22-55 with a 6.01 ERA on the season, tallying a grand total of 26 quality starts on the season. To put that number into perspective, the second-worst total in the majors is 50 by the Royals.
Rookie Drew Pomeranz is the only starter with an ERA under 5.00, as he has gone 1-7 with a 4.78 ERA over 15 starts. The numbers go on and on, but the gist of it is that the Rockies' starting rotation this season has been the worst in all of baseball by a long shot and undermined an offensive attack that has been solid even without Troy Tulowitzki.