Roy Oswalt and 5 MLB Players Who Are Close to Being Washed Up

John AltamuraContributor IIJanuary 22, 2013

Roy Oswalt and 5 MLB Players Who Are Close to Being Washed Up

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    One of the many storylines that took place during the 2012 season was the Roy Oswalt free-agent saga. Teams had to decide whether or not the hurler was washed up or had enough left to help contribute to an eventual playoff push.

    A team finally decided to take a chance on Oswalt, the Texas Rangers, who signed the pitcher to a one-year, $5 million contract last May. The move didn't pan out as expected as Oswalt put up an uninspiring 4-3 record with a 5.80 ERA.

    Oswalt is now a free agent.

    As the 2013 season approaches, there are several players in MLB who could be considered close to being washed up.

    Here are six players who most likely fit into that category. 

Honorable Mention: Michael Young, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies

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    One player who is on the verge of being washed up is Phillies third baseman Michael Young.

    The 36-year-old makes this list because of a disappointing 2012 season which saw precipitous drops in offensive production across the board. Young posted a career-low .682 OPS and had the second worst WAR in the majors for qualifying players in 2012 with minus-2.4.

    He recorded these numbers after leading the AL in hits in 2011 with 213.

    The real question will be how does Young handle the pressure of a new team and a city which has been known to be short on patience with its sports heroes?

    If Young cannot regain the form that led him to the 2005 AL batting title, his days in Philadelphia as well as in the majors could be numbered.

5. Carlos Pena, 1B/DH, Houston Astros

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    There is always a high premium on left-handed bats.

    Just ask Carlos Pena who had an abysmal 2012 season but was still able to parlay his efforts into a one-year, $2.9 million contract with the Houston Astros.

    Not bad for a .197 BA, huh?

    The appealing attribute for having Pena in the lineup is the fact that he has hit more than 15 home runs a season since 2007. But you have to wonder how many teams will be calling next season if he posts another poor season with a sub-.200 average and a poor OPS (.684 OPS in 2012)?

4. Kelly Johnson, 2B/LF, Free Agent

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    If you are inconsistent for a long enough time there is a good chance you will find yourself looking for a job.

    This seems to be the case confounding free-agent utilityman Kelly Johnson.

    The 30-year-old journeyman has had a mixed bag of success during his seven-year major league career. His best season came with the Atlanta Braves in 2008 when he hit .287 with 12 home runs and 69 RBI. Johnson has failed to consistently replicate that success as he has posted three out of four seasons of batting averages in the .220s.

    There is a good chance that Johnson is washed up. Not because he doesn't have the talent, but because he is wildly inconsistent.

3. Bruce Chen, SP, Kansas City Royals

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    Bruce Chen has been the posterboy of mediocrity throughout his career. The 35-year-old hurler has spent most of his 14-year career putting up non-inspiring stats. His latest campaign, 11-14 with a 5.07 ERA with the Kansas City Royals in 2012, puts him on the cusp of being washed up.

    Want further proof that Chen is close to being finished? His WAR value has been in a state of freefall over the past three seasons.

    He finished 2012 with a minus-0.2 WAR rating.

    Still, Chen finds himself in contention for the fifth starter role with the Royals and a likely candidate to pitch for China in the WBC.

2. Kevin Millwood, SP, Free Agent

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    Kevin Millwood burst onto the scene with the Atlanta Braves in the late '90s and put together six strong seasons where he posted a 75-46 record. That winning consistency did not last long, however, as Millwood has toiled in the majors during the past decade putting up a mixed bag of stats.

    Millwood, 38, now finds himself on the outside looking in as he has yet to sign a new contract with a team.

    He last pitched for the Seattle Mariners in 2012, posting a 6-12 record, 4.25 ERA and a 0.2 WAR. The last season Millwood put up decent stats was in 2009 when he posted a 13-10 record, 3.67 ERA and a 4.5 WAR.

    It's hard to imagine Millwood having a resurgence at this point in his career. It's safe to say he is close to being washed up.

1. Roy Oswalt, SP, Free Agent

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    There was much commotion raised last season in what became the Roy Oswalt sweepstakes.

    After a long period of deliberation, Oswalt decided to sign a one-year, $5 million deal with the Texas Rangers. The move didn't pan out as expected for the Rangers as Oswalt failed to put up good numbers, finishing the season with a 4-3 record with a bloated 5.80 ERA.

    At 35, it's hard to imagine that Oswalt has anything left at this juncture of his career. If he does choose to pitch again it most likely will be in limited role. His minus-0.3 WAR for 2012 will probably scare away some suitors as well.

    It's safe to say that Oswalt is just about finished.