2013 MLB Free Agents: Former Stars Who Will Struggle to Find New Homes

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistNovember 17, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 22:  Relief pitcher Carlos Zambrano #38 of the Miami Marlins pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during game one of the MLB double header at Chase Field on August 22, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Scanning the list of free agents available this winter, you'll see a number of familiar names.

Some of them, like Josh Hamilton, Zack Greinke and B.J. Upton, are still incredibly productive and won't lack for suitors.

Others, while their names are just as familiar, will find themselves feeling like the last two kids picked for kickball teams in elementary school as their counterparts all sign on the dotted line while they sit there, patiently waiting for the opportunity to knock.

Let's take a look at these former stars who aren't going to be anywhere near as in demand as they once were.

Carlos Lee, 1B

Once a perennial All-Star, Carlos Lee (36) is no longer the slugger he used to be.

Lee split the 2012 season between the Houston Astros and Miami Marlins, finishing the season with a .264 batting average, .697 OPS, nine home runs and 77 RBI.

While he still plays solid defense at first base, Lee can't bat in the middle of a lineup anymore.

He's practically devoid of power at this point in his career, and his .697 OPS was the lowest he's ever produced over a 14-year career.

Someone might take a chance on Lee eventually with a one-year deal, but there's just as likely a chance that he has to settle for a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training if he hopes to continue his major league career.

Juan Pierre, LF

Once one of the most exciting center fielders in the league, Juan Pierre had to accept a minor league deal with the Phillies last winter to keep his career alive.

Pierre made the Phillies look incredibly smart for giving him a chance, as he played his way onto the team and put up solid numbers: a .307 batting average, .721 OPS and was successful on 37-of-44 stolen base attempts.

Even with that success, Pierre (35) is likely to be lost in the shuffle again this winter with a plethora of outfielders available on the market.

He's likely looking at a similar scenario this winter as he was last winter: no guarantees and having to prove himself all over again.

Carlos Zambrano, RHP

One of the most combustible players in recent memory, 31-year-old Carlos Zambrano might be out of chances to stick with a major league club.

After spending 11 tumultuous seasons with the Chicago Cubs, Zambrano was traded to the Miami Marlins in the hopes that a change of scenery would see him rediscover his touch.

Instead, Zambrano struggled, pitching to a 4.49 ERA, 1.50 WHIP and walking more than five batters per nine innings of work.

Lack of control—over his pitches and his emotions—may have finally caught up with Big Z.