Every MLB player has a unique career path, but the fun must come to an end eventually. These washed-up former stars of various ages and reputations should walk away before the 2013 season begins.
Chipper Jones retired on his own terms and Jorge Posada knew not to hang around past his usefulness. The following five, unfortunately, can't end their careers as smoothly.
For example, Miguel Tejada has agreed to terms with the Kansas City Royals following a season where he never advanced past Triple-A. Hopefully he reconsiders in spring training and avoids another embarrassing campaign.
Shoulder injuries have derailed the careers of countless outstanding pitchers. Brandon Webb needs to accept that he's just part of that statistic at this point.
It's been nearly four years since he last appeared in the big leagues. Bursitis sent the right-hander to the disabled list in April 2009 and he underwent shoulder debridement surgery later that year. He made a few mediocre appearances for the Double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers in 2011 before opting for arthroscopic surgery on his rotator cuff.
The former NL Cy Young Award winner dominated for the Arizona Diamondbacks before his luck ran out. He led all MLB starters in innings pitched and WAR between 2005 and 2008.
Here's the latest from Jon Heyman of CBS Sports:
Former cy young winner Brandon Webb will throw a bullpen session this month in arizona for several interested teams— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) January 1, 2013
The Minnesota Twins initially planned to send a representative to watch him, but they signed Rich Harden to a minor league deal before the holidays. It's unclear who the other teams might be.
Webb turns 34 in May.
Jim Thome is the only older free-agent position player. At least he's coming off a decent season and approaching Ken Griffey Jr. and Willie Mays on the all-time home run list.
Ideally, Jason Giambi would have entered the coaching ranks with the Colorado Rockies. He was a finalist for their managerial opening and a potential hitting coach.
"I have no idea what I am going to do next," he admitted to Troy E. Renck of The Denver Post in November after missing out on both opportunities. That doesn't seem like a quote from somebody who's confident in his remaining skills.
In 113 plate appearances last season, the 2000 American League MVP finished with a .225/.372/.303 triple-slash line and just one round-tripper. Away from the high altitude of Coors Field, his numbers were even less impressive.
The soon-to-be 42-year-old has earned north of $132 million since making his MLB debut in 1995.
Carlos Zambrano is a decade younger than Jason Giambi, but he has earned nearly as much money during his baseball career.
He famously threatened to retire in August 2011, only to pitch for the Miami Marlins last summer. However, he told ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine the year before that he would prefer to spend more time at home once his contract expired.
Now it has.
In his prime, Zambrano was a three-time NL All-Star with the Chicago Cubs. Despite his workhorse mentality and solid strikeout rate, Big Z's disciplinary issues made him unpopular among fans and teammates.
Following two weak seasons, he would only receive offers with low base salaries if he were to consider continuing.
The Baltimore Orioles released Miguel Tejada from his minor league contract last June.
Playing 2013 with the Kansas City Royals won't be much different.
According to Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com, Tejada should see action in a utility role, specifically at second base. He has just four career starts at the position. Chris Getz and Johnny Giavotella will compete for the starting job, though neither were effective one summer ago.
Once a Silver Slugger, the veteran infielder is now an offensive liability. Opposing pitchers exploited his lack of plate discipline when he last performed at the major league level in 2011 (.270 on-base percentage).
Pitching acquisitions have significantly improved the Royals this winter, but nobody would mistake them for a World Series contender. If Tejada isn't sticking around for a championship, he might as well call it quits.
Manny Ramirez actually posted some decent stats for Aguilas Cibaenas of the Dominican Winter League. He mashed four home runs during his five weeks as a designated hitter and maintained a 1.041 OPS over his final 10 contests.
But the suspended PED user is already ridiculously wealthy. In fact, the Los Angeles Dodgers will be sending him another $8.33 million in deferred payments this year!
As of mid-November, no MLB teams had contacted Ramirez and if anybody does, they won't be considering him for an everyday role.
Clean or not, he was one of the best sluggers in MLB history. Why risk diluting that distinction?
I came, I saw, I tweeted something clever about it.