The MLB Player Hometown Fans Hate the Most
Not every player can be the fan favorite.
And that’s for a couple of reasons.
Most often than not, it’s because a player signed a contract that they have yet to live up to. We see this all of the time. During free agency, one of the top players on the market agrees to a long-term deal worth millions of dollars, and then they never play like the team originally thought they would.
Next, it could be due to the fact that the player was once a highly touted prospect and since making their major league debut, that player has yet to reach his fullest potential. Guys don’t always pan out like they’re expected to, but that’s just the nature of the game. Not every prospect is going to be an MVP candidate each season.
Another reason could be that the player is constantly injured, and the missed time is hurting his club’s shot at winning a World Series title. These are the batters who get hit by a pitch in the elbow and end up missing a month—or the pitchers who feel some soreness in their arm after an outing and end up missing the rest of the season.
The fact of the matter is that at least one player in each team’s clubhouse isn’t going to be well-liked by the fanbase. Here’s that player for Major League Baseball teams.
*All statistics were obtained via FanGraphs unless otherwise noted.
Baltimore Orioles: Brian Roberts
I’ll admit that fans of the Baltimore Orioles and second baseman Brian Roberts have a bit of a love-hate relationship. At the beginning and middle of his career, the fans loved him. He was everything they could’ve asked for.
But over the last few seasons, it’s hard to imagine that O’s fans still feel the same way. Roberts have been unable to avoid the disabled list and has rarely been healthy enough to take the field. The last three years, he’s played less than 100 combined games.
As Roberts and Baltimore come into 2013, it seems that he’ll be the starting second baseman once again. Now healthy—or at least healthy enough to play consistently—this will be a big year for Roberts. He can have a bounce-back season should he be able to stay on the field.
Roberts is usually a well-liked player. He plays hard and for the most part, plays well. But another failed year will push the fans over the edge. The legacy he eventually leaves behind will be determined in 2013.
Boston Red Sox: John Lackey
John Lackey hasn’t walked down an exciting road since signing with the Boston Red Sox. In 2010, his first with the club, he posted the third-highest ERA of his career. The next, he posted the highest—nearly two runs more than ever before.
Lackey missed the entire last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. After two disappointing years, failing to take the mound once in 2012 didn’t help his relationship with the Fenway Faithful. He certainly will have to earn back the respect of Boston fans in the upcoming season.
And that won’t be easy, either. Lackey wasn’t a fantastic pitcher while with the Los Angeles Angels, but he was above average and one of the stars to hit the free-agent market after 2009. The Red Sox felt so good about him in Boston that they offered him a five-year, $82.5 million contract, which he accepted.
Living up to that contract wouldn’t be easy for most MLB pitchers, but for Lackey, he’s barely come close. Lackey is still under contract for the next two seasons, and there’s a chance he’s in Boston for another year afterward, meaning there’s still time. For now, however, it’s not looking too bright.
New York Yankees: Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez used to be prime real estate. But that was then and this is now. Alex Rodriguez is now a cancer to the New York Yankees and one that they cannot find a solution to going forward. He’ll remain a Yankee until his contract expires after the 2017 season.
For the first couple of years in the Bronx, Rodriguez wasn’t bad at all. He hit .307/.408/.589 through his first four seasons including an average of 43 home runs, 128 RBI and 121 runs per season. The most recent four, however, haven’t been near as chipper.
Rodriguez has hit .276/.364/.483 with an average of 24 home runs, 86 RBI and 73 runs per year since 2009. He’s battled injury after injury and hasn’t played well in the postseason when his named is called upon.
Rodriguez is expected to miss the majority of the 2013 season with hip issues, which isn’t going to make the $28 million he’ll earn this season any better looking. On the bright side, Yankees fans, you only have five more years of this on your payroll.
Tampa Bay Rays: Tim Beckham
Tim Beckham was once one of the top prospects in baseball. He had a ton of promise and was on the fast track to becoming the next infielder for the Tampa Bay Rays. But that all went down the drain quickly, and here we are in 2013, and he’s not even a top-10 prospect in the organization anymore.
Why, you ask? Because he has issues staying clean. Twice he’s violated the minor league drug prevention and treatment program, earning himself a 50-game suspension last season. But his minor league numbers haven’t been that great even if he had never gotten into trouble.
In five minor league seasons, Beckham has hit a rather pedestrian .264/.330/.379 with 30 home runs. He doesn’t have a great eye at the plate, walking little and striking out a lot. He still has good speed and a glove that could translate into the higher levels of the game.
Beckham finished last season in Triple-A Durham and will likely start 2013 there. He has the opportunity to finish this next season with the Rays, but only if he produces like a topnotch minor leaguer and stays clean. Otherwise, he’ll continue to be a disappointment.
Toronto Blue Jays: Kyle Drabek
Looking back at the trade that sent Roy Halladay from the Toronto Blue Jays to the Philadelphia Phillies back in 2009, was it really worth it for the guys north of the border? Let’s take a look at what was being said at the time.
The headline of MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian profiling what Toronto received was “Halladay trade nets two Top 50 prospects.” The Blue Jays landed starting pitcher Kyle Drabek, first baseman Brett Wallace and catcher Travis d’Arnaud, who were all first-round picks. Here were general manager Alex Anthopoulos’ comments: “We’ve very excited about the three players that we did acquire,” Anthoupolos said after completing the Dec. 16 trade.
We think all three of these players fir into our philosophy going forward of having some exciting, young, controllable players. These players are ones that we feel are going to be a big part of what we’re doing forward.
Well, guess what, Alex? Wallace and d’Arnaud are both gone and Drabek is now out of a job after elbow surgery. Focusing on Drabek, though, he was supposed to be a star starter.
Toronto did add a bunch of great starters to its rotation, but he’s still been horrible over the last two seasons. I think fans would rather have Halladay than R.A. Dickey—who was acquired through trading d’Arnaud—at this point, but that’s just me.
Chicago White Sox: Gordon Beckham
Remember when Gordon Beckham was going to be the next big thing in Chicago? That hasn’t really worked out yet, has it White Sox fans? Since 2009, when Beckham played 103 games, the White Sox have had the worst production at second base out of every team in the game.
The problem has been Beckham, as he’s been the starter and has rarely missed time on the field. He’s been non-existent offensively, hitting over .235 just once over the last three seasons. Instead of being a factor in the No. 2 spot in the Chicago lineup, he is projected to hit ninth in 2013.
Beckham told Dave van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune that he finally feels comfortable heading into the upcoming season: “I finally feel like I belong here now because I failed here and came out on top,” Beckham said. "It used to wear on me. But I’m not concerned about it anymore. You grow and mature and don’t worry about stuff you can’t control.”
With the past behind Beckham, maybe he finally gets some applause when he steps up to the plate instead of people questioning whether he deserves to play or not.
Cleveland Indians: Ubaldo Jimenez
On paper, the Cleveland Indians have a rather impressive squad that could contend for a spot in the postseason. But that will only happen if Ubaldo Jimenez finally figures out how to pitch in Cleveland, because through the first two seasons, he’s had no clue.
Before being traded to Cleveland, Jimenez won 55.4 percent of the games he pitched in for Colorado, posting a 3.66 ERA. Since, he’s won just 38.2 percent and posted a 5.32 ERA. Clearly, the latter is much worse. His walk rate has increased while his strikeout rate has declined.
In terms of value, Jimenez has been a disappointment. What’s also interesting has been the number of times he’s been taken deep since the trade. He allowed around one home run per three games in Colorado—a hitter’s park—compared to around three out of every four games in Cleveland—a pitcher’s park.
If you’re an Indians fan, does that concern you? I think it should. Jimenez has to do a ton in 2013 in order to earn some respect from the fans that are hoping to see a contender this season.
Detroit Tigers: Jhonny Peralta
The weakest part of the Detroit Tigers is arguably Jhonny Peralta, the team’s starting shortstop for the last three seasons. He’s been inconsistent to say the least and needs to pick up his game if Detroit is going to win more than the American League pennant in the near future.
In Peralta’s first full season in Detroit, he was a star. He hit .299/.345/.478 with 21 home runs and 86 RBI in 146 while playing very well defensively. Last season, however, although he kept up his great play on defense, he struggled mightily from the batter’s box. He ended the year hitting .239/.305/.384 with 13 home runs and 63 RBI.
Detroit can’t afford to get the 2012 Peralta again, unless it’s destined to fail. It needs the 2011 Peralta instead. So which Peralta will the Tigers get? His career says something in between the last two seasons.
Peralta hits in a very dangerous lineup but doesn’t always take advantage of the opportunities that he’s given. He’s a very average shortstop on a good team. That statement should inflate his career averages, but that doesn’t mean that he’ll succeed to his fullest capacity. Unless he starts to hit better, he’ll be one of the main reasons why they aren’t celebrating in Detroit next winter.
Kansas City Royals: Jeff Francoeur
The Kansas City Royals might not be paying Jeff Francoeur the most money in the world—although he is one of their highest-paid players—he hasn’t played that well since signing with the team back during the 2010-11 offseason.
At the time, Kansas City signed Francoeur to a three-year deal worth $16 million to be the everyday right fielder, but since, he hasn’t been that impressive. He wasn’t half bad in 2011 but was an eye sore last season. In 2012, he hit .235/.287/.378 in 148 games, hitting just 16 home runs and driving in 49 runs.
The Royals are looking to win right now, otherwise they wouldn’t have traded top prospect Wil Myers away in order to acquire more pitching talent, arguably their biggest weakness heading into the winter. So that means that Francoeur needs to play much better or he may find himself unemployed before his contract expires after the end of 2013.
Francoeur used to be one of the above-average outfielders in baseball, but he’s declined over the years. Kansas City can’t afford to watch him hit below .250 again this year or it’ll be in serious trouble and likely not finish in the top two in the division, which is surely the goal.
Minnesota Twins: Glen Perkins
Glen Perkins did a fine job as the Minnesota Twins closer last season, but that’s not the role he was developed to be. Perkins was once a top prospect as a starting pitcher and would’ve been a top starter in the rotation should he have pitched well the last couple of seasons.
But that wasn’t the case for Perkins. He wasn’t an effective starting pitcher whatsoever. As a starting pitcher over the course of his career, he’s gone 18-12 with a 5.06 ERA in 44 games. As a reliever, more recently, though, he’s nearly split his ERA in half, posting a 2.93 ERA in 171 appearances.
Perkins is a much better reliever, but one has to think what he could’ve been if he panned out like originally expected. The former first-round pick should be the Opening Day starter for the Twins in 2013 instead of the closer. But that’s in the past now that Perkins has found a spot where he’s comfortable and has shown success.
Could Perkins have been the next Johan Santana for Minnesota? That, we’ll never know, but maybe he’ll turn out to be one of the better relievers in franchise history. For the time being, Twins fans have to hope that Perkins can make their team somewhat relevant again. That might be a bit of a stretch, though.
Houston Astros: Everyone
There really isn’t much to like about the current state of the Houston Astros. Not many of their players are name-worthy and it’s going to be quite the debate come All-Star Game weekend when some no-namer makes the team because of the way the game is currently structured.
Houston has a good chance at breaking the record for most losses in a season. The team is rebuilding and will continue to rebuild for the next couple of years. Until the team doesn’t finish in last place, I don’t blame any fan for hating the entire team. There’s just nothing to like.
Los Angeles Angels: Vernon Wells
Vernon Wells has a laughable contract. He’ll earn $21 million in each of the next two seasons despite not starting many games in the outfield and sitting on the bench more often than not. The seven-year, $126 million deal he signed is impossible to live up to.
Since coming to Los Angeles from the Toronto Blue Jays, Wells has been a major disappointment. In 208 games across two seasons, he’s hit .222/.258/.409 with 36 home runs and 95 RBI. For a player that hit .280/.329/.475 with 223 home runs and 813 RBI in 12 years before heading west, those are embarrassing totals.
What’s crazy about the entire situation is that Wells doesn’t really have a job. He’s getting paid a ton by the Angels to not play. They’d be better off trading him for someone and just eating the money, but that doesn't appear to be a likely scenario.
Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton and Peter Bourjos are going to man the outfield while Mark Trumbo is the designated hitter. If the Angels didn’t have Wells on their payroll, they probably could’ve bid for Zack Greinke this offseason. Imagine what the roster would’ve looked like then? Just wow.
Oakland Athletics: Bartolo Colon
Bartolo Colon is no longer a star pitcher, but he can contribute to the Oakland Athletics’ hopes of making it back to the postseason for the second straight season in 2013. The problem is that he won’t be available for a while since he was suspended in August of last season.
Before getting suspended for elevated levels of testosterone, Colon was pitching quite well for Oakland. He had a 10-9 record and a 3.43 ERA in 24 starts while rarely walking anyone. But that was because he was getting some help. Colon told the New York Times he accepted responsibility for his actions.
The A’s desperately need a veteran presence in the starting rotation. Colon would’ve been that presence, but now it seems that he might not even have a job once he’s eligible to pitch again. That really is a shame too considering that he could end up helping the young Oakland pitchers.
But the fans of the A’s can’t feel sorry for Colon. He cheated them, and now there’s a chance their team could suffer for it. It’s hard to respect players that only care about themselves and don’t put the team first. Colon seems to be one of those players.
Seattle Mariners: Jesus Montero
I don’t think that we’ll ever be able to say that the New York Yankees won the trade that sent top prospect Jesus Montero to the Seattle Mariners. But that doesn’t mean that both clubs can’t lose. For the time being, if I was a Mariners fan, I wouldn’t be too impressed with the play of Montero.
It was only Montero’s first full season in the big leagues last year, but it was just average. He hit .260/.298/.386 with 15 home runs and 62 RBI. He is a horrific base runner and a liability on defense. He strikes out relatively often and almost never walks. He can continue to develop, but there’s no guarantee he’ll improve.
The Mariners could really use some extra help on offense this year, though. They’re made it known that their offense hasn’t been good the last few seasons and made some acquisitions this offseason in order to improve it. But they won’t amount to much if Montero doesn’t improve as well.
Montero has to be able to drive more runners in. Finishing 2013 with less than 85 RBI will be a major disappointment. Seattle now has guys that will get on base frequently. But if Montero can't come through with big hits, the Mariners aren’t going to do much in 2013.
There’s a lot of pressure on Montero. Let’s see if he can really handle it.
Texas Rangers: Neftali Feliz
Converting Neftali Feliz from a reliever into a starter has been a regrettable move for the Texas Rangers thus far. Feliz was a great closer that rarely let the team down, but now he won’t even be available until late in 2013, which isn’t doing anyone any good.
In Feliz’s two seasons as the Rangers’ closer, he saved 72 games while posting brilliant ERAs in both years. He was one of the top relievers in baseball. So what to teams do with relievers that pitch well at a young age? They try to make more of them, transitioning them into the starting rotation.
That’s exactly what the Rangers did with Feliz. He made seven starts for Texas last season but eventually was shut down for the rest of the season. Feliz had Tommy John surgery and will miss the majority of the upcoming season recovering. He’s thrown off flat ground, but there is still no timetable for his return, according to Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas.
I’m not completely sure if fans can blame Feliz for not panning out as a starter, or if the blame should be shifted to management. But there should be high expectations for when he eventually returns. Whether he can live up to them or not, I’m going with the latter. I don’t think he’ll ever be the same.
Atlanta Braves: No One
How could one not like what the Atlanta Braves are trying to do? It’s obvious that they won’t settle for second place in the National League East and a wild card berth into the postseason. Atlanta wants to win it all and if it didn’t, it wouldn’t have traded for Justin Upton over the winter.
Atlanta now has a stunning roster of stars that are bound to play well together. Brian McCann on the disabled list could cause some problems, but overall, Atlanta is a strong club. The offense is dangerous, the rotation is impressive and the bullpen is the best in baseball. If Atlanta doesn’t win the World Series this year, then fans can be angry with players.
Miami Marlins: Jeffrey Loria
Technically, this article was supposed to be about players that each team hates. In this situation, however, it’s only fair to stray away with what I’ve been aiming for. Jeffrey Loria is the most hated person in the Miami Marlins organization and it’s not even close. He’s the absolute worst.
Loria recently published a letter to fans explaining what has gone on with his team lately and didn’t really do a great job of it. He kind of created more of a mess that will be even tougher to clean up.
Loria and the Marlins have been continually rebuilding. They tried bringing in stars and it didn’t work out. So this past winter, Loria decided to clean house and get rid of anyone making considerable amounts of money, except for star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton.
Now, the Marlins are left with a roster of laughable players that probably wouldn’t be on the roster of many other teams in baseball. Loria’s mentality toward this team is despicable and the fans will let him know that by not showing up to any games in 2013 or the future. He’s dug himself a hole so deep that he won’t be able to get out unless he sells the club.
New York Mets: Pedro Feliciano
Pedro Feliciano used to a very reliable reliever for the New York Mets. That was before he spurned them to travel a little distance to go and play for the New York Yankees. But Feliciano never ended up throwing a pitch in the big leagues for the Yankees, dealing with injuries his entire time with the team.
Now, Feliciano is back with Mets and ready to help their bullpen. But there is some drama to note in this situation; some that could end up causing a bit of a stir once the season begins. It was found out that Feliciano had a torn rotator cuff during his first spring training with the Yankees and general manager Brian Cashman accused the Mets of maltreatment, according to the New York Times.
Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen, however, denied the accusations saying, “He volunteered the baseball every day. He was asked if he was able to pitch and he said yes every day and wanted to pitch more than we even pitched him.”
Feliciano responded by saying, “When I strike out Ike Davis and I jump on the mound, I’ll be like, ‘That’s for you.’” That should be an interesting dynamic to say the least heading into the 2013 season.
Philadelphia Phillies: Domonic Brown
I talked a lot about Domonic Brown over the winter and have done a little more talking since spring training began. Growing up, everyone wants to be a top prospect and eventually make it to the major leagues. Brown was that top prospect but hasn’t panned out just yet.
Through his first three seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, Brown has been disappointing. He’s hit .236/.315/.388 with 12 home runs and 58 RBI and nearly 500 plate appearances. He hasn’t made much of a difference on the base paths and hasn’t been very good in the field.
For a former No. 1 prospect in the organization, things should be going better by now. For whatever reason, they haven’t. Brown has struggled and hasn’t really shown that he’s going to get much better with more time on the field.
Brown is expected to get his first real shot at starting in the upcoming season. There are voids in the corner outfield spots for the Phillies, and Brown will likely be the Opening Day right fielder. He better start hitting early, though, because he could easily lose his job before the All-Star break.
Washington Nationals: No One
It’s hard to imagine that any fan of the Washington Nationals could hate someone on that star-filled roster. Washington has arguably the most well-liked players on the 25-man roster heading into 2013. Everyone succeeds more often than not, and it’s tough to think fans don’t like success.
The Nationals couldn’t accomplish their goal of winning a World Series title last season but will build on what didn’t work to be even better this time around. The additions of Denard Span, Rafael Soriano and Dan Haren suggest that Washington isn’t just going to roll over and accept mediocrity. Nationals fans have to love that, not hate it.
Chicago Cubs: Alfonso Soriano
The Chicago Cubs pay Alfonso Soriano a ton of money. He’s been able to play relatively well since joining the Cubs, but it would be hard to argue that he deserves to get paid the likes of $18 or $19 million per season. He’s grossly overpaid to say the least.
Soriano has always been a good player, but I think that the Cubs felt he would make more of a difference than he has actually made so far. Chicago hasn’t done a good job of surrounding him with players that can help the team win the National League Central.
The Cubs have been one of the worst teams in baseball for a while and still have the longest streak without a World Series hanging over their shoulders. Soriano can’t single-handedly bring a title back to Chicago, but he can be a part of the solution instead of the problem.
I know that it’s easy for fans to look at Soriano’s contract and see he isn’t worth it. I even said he isn’t worth it. But it’s not his fault. The Cubs thought wrong and all he did was sign his name. I don’t think he’s putting less effort into his game knowing that he’s still going to get paid.
Cincinnati Reds: No One
The Cincinnati Reds are a well-oiled machine that will be serious World Series contenders this season. The addition of Shin-Soo Choo this past winter really gave them a boost on offense, although it could cost them on defense. The lineup is relatively stacked with stars, and it would be tough to imagine they wouldn’t dominate National League pitching.
The pitching staff is filled with likeable arms as well, stretching from likely Opening Day starter Johnny Cueto to closer Jonathan Broxton. There aren’t any guys that are liabilities in the rotation or the bullpen so it should be smooth sailing for the Reds in 2013. I don’t see much going wrong at all.
Milwaukee Brewers: Jean Segura
When the Milwaukee Brewers traded Zack Greinke to the Los Angeles Angels, I bet fans thought they were going to get someone extremely good return. At the time, that was the case. Since, however, that hasn’t been the case. Jean Segura hasn’t been that good since making his debut with the Brew Crew.
Last season, Segura hit .258/.315/.325 with 19 runs and 14 RBI. He stole seven bases in 45 games while playing poorly at shortstop. For a guy that was a coveted prospect by the Angels, he isn’t off to the best of starts with his new team. He will still be the starter, though:
“We are (committing to an inexperienced player) but he has really good aptitude, a really good tool set, good speed, good range, good hands, great arm,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
There’s still plenty of time for Brewers fans to become accustomed to Segura, but for the time being, he hasn’t made a great first impression. If he doesn’t develop into an All-Star caliber shortstop, fans will never forgive the front office for dealing Greinke away.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Jose Tabata
I remember when Jose Tabata was one of the top prospects in baseball. Under control of the New York Yankees, he was supposed to be their next star outfielder. The Yankees, however, eventually traded one of their brightest young players to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Tabata had a decent first professional season with the Pirates back in 2010 but has been very underwhelming since then. He’s gotten worse and worse the last two seasons and now is competing for a spot on the 25-man roster instead of a spot in the heart of the lineup.
Tabata has hit .271/.338/.372 with 11 home runs, 72 RBI and 157 runs through nearly 300 games as a big leaguer. He has the potential to get better but may have missed his opportunity already.
With Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen and Travis Snider in the outfield, I don’t see Tabata getting many chances to shine. He’ll likely be a late-game replacement at best in 2013. He’s a classic example of a top prospect that has yet to pan out.
St. Louis Cardinals: No One
Although a couple of their stars are banged up, St. Louis Cardinals fans have nothing to fear. Chris Carpenter’s absence shouldn’t even be realized with young arms joining the starting rotation, and maybe Pete Kozma can keep up the good work while Rafael Furcal is sidelined.
The Cardinals have the pieces necessary to make a run at the World Series. We all saw what they were capable of last season, and this time around they have a small chip on their shoulder.
Fans can’t be displeased with a roster that should easily take care of the competition in the National League Central in 2013. St. Louis doesn’t have many dislikeable characters at the moment.
Arizona Diamondbacks: No One
Now that general manager Kevin Towers moved Justin Upton, there really isn’t any drama for the Arizona Diamondbacks. The roster is filled with a bunch of well-liked players that will definitely contend for the National League West crown in 2013 and beyond.
If Towers had not been able to trade Upton, though, this would be a different story. Arizona fans would’ve had to continue to listen to Towers talk about how Upton wasn’t going to be a star in the league and how he didn’t have much confidence in him. Whether that means the fans disliking Upton or Towers doesn’t matter anymore since Towers pulled the trigger.
Colorado Rockies: Tyler Colvin
The Chicago Cubs used to have a great young player in Tyler Colvin in their minor league system. He was bound to be a star, but since getting his chance in the big leagues, he hasn’t done much to prove his worth. He can barely win a starting job, and now with the Colorado Rockies, he’s trying to show he deserves one.
Through Colvin’s first three-plus years in the majors, he’s hit .247/.296/.468 with 44 home runs and 150 RBI. Those numbers don’t necessarily suggest a failure, but other aspects of his game haven’t been very good. For instance, he strikes out around once every four at-bats and might walk six times in 100 chances.
Last season, Colvin’s first in Colorado, was a success. But he still hasn’t done enough to start yet. The Rockies have Todd Helton at first, for the time being, and three good outfielders in Carlos Gonzalez, Michael Cuddyer and Dexter Fowler. So where is Colvin? He’s on the bench.
It’s tough to evaluate a top prospect that doesn’t get any time. But I do know that if a player isn’t going to play, the club needs to put him in the minors. Keeping Colvin in Colorado isn’t going to do him much good. He’ll end up being a waste of talent and a prospect that never panned out. The Rockies can’t afford to have that.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Carl Crawford
Los Angeles Dodgers fans might not realize it yet, but they’re going to hate outfielder Carl Crawford, assuming he ever takes the field for them. Crawford was dealt to the west side of the country late last year when the Boston Red Sox cleared house and the Dodgers took on a ton of payroll.
But Crawford wasn’t even playing at the time of the deal due to continued elbow issues. He only played in 31 games last season before being shut down to have surgery on his elbow. He’s still recovering, but hopes to play by Opening Day, according to Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times.
Although Crawford could end up struggling in Los Angeles as he did in Boston, that won’t be the reason why fans hate him. It will be because he shifts the blame on other people when things don’t go the way he wants.
Crawford recently told Danny Knobler of CBS Sports that the Boston media caused him to play poorly and that the media’s negativity toward him got to him frequently. Last time I checked, Los Angeles is somewhat similar to Boston. The media isn’t going to be much easier on him if he doesn’t perform up to par. He needs to accept responsibility going forward.
San Diego Padres: Yasmani Grandal
The San Diego Padres will likely have Nick Hundley as their Opening Day starting catcher this spring. That’s because one of the team’s top prospects, Yasmani Grandal, will be unavailable. Why is he unavailable? Because he is a cheater, and he got caught cheating.
Over the offseason, Major League Baseball announced that it was suspending the young catcher for 50 games due to elevated testosterone levels. Grandal apologized for his wrongdoings, but it still doesn’t make up for the games that San Diego will be without a star in the making.
“I must accept responsibility for my actions and serve my suspension,” Grandal said in a statement (h/t USA Today). “I apologize to the fans, my teammates, and to the San Diego Padres. I was disappointed to learn of my positive test and under the Joint Drug Program I am responsible for what I put into my body.”
Although the Padres aren’t expected to do much in 2013, losing a top player isn’t going to help. Grandal rose through their minor league system extremely quickly, basically over the span of a year and a half. That could be because he’s a very talented player or it could be that he had some help. The latter of the two seems to be reasonable considering his current status.
San Francisco Giants: Barry Zito
Signing a seven-year, $126 million contract may be one of the worst moves Barry Zito has ever made. Why? Because that’s a ton of money, and when a team makes that type of investment in you, they expect results. And frankly, Zito hasn’t shown the results necessary to earn that large contract.
Sure, Zito is a former Cy Young Award winner that was pretty good while with the Oakland Athletics. He wasn’t the best pitcher in baseball, but the San Francisco Giants felt confident that he could be a successful pitcher in the National League. To this point, he really hasn’t been.
In his six seasons with the Giants, he’s 58-69 with a 4.77 ERA. He’s finished a season with more losses than wins in five of the six years. He was a big factor last season, helping the Giants win the World Series, but that doesn’t mean that he proved his worth.
In what likely will be Zito’s final year in San Francisco, he’s set to earn $20 million in 2013. Do you think Zito is going to pitch like a $20 million pitcher? I certainly don’t. He’s much too seasoned in order to do what he did back in 2002 in Oakland. He’s a No. 5 starter at best, not an ace.