3 MLB Teams Whose Stock Has Dropped the Most This Spring
We are two weeks from Opening Day in the MLB, and 25-man rosters are starting to take shape throughout the league as teams hit the preseason stretch run.
For most teams, this spring has been a productive one as they have shaken off the rust, avoided injury and perhaps even had an unexpected player or two step forward and earn a roster spot.
For a few teams though, this spring has ranged from a disappointment to a disaster. Here is a look at the three whose stock has dropped the most this spring.
The Athletics were one of the biggest surprises of 2012, as they entered the season picked by most to be among the worst teams in baseball and ended it with an AL West title.
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The signing of Hiroyuki Nakajima, the acquisition of Jed Lowrie and the return of Scott Sizemore from injury was supposed to help them answer questions across the infield.
Instead, Nakajima (.194 BA) and Sizemore (.182 BA) have struggled mightily this spring, as has incumbent third baseman Josh Donaldson (.188 BA). Currently, the team has no more clear-cut answers in the infield than they did in October.
The team also lost Brandon McCarthy in free agency, opting to let him walk with Daniel Straily seemingly ready to step into the No. 5 starter spot after going 2-1 with a 3.89 ERA over seven starts down the stretch last year.
Straily has also struggled though, allowing 12 hits and seven runs in 9.2 innings of work this spring, and that puts the No. 5 starter spot in question heading into the season.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers made a tsunami-sized splash last August with the acquisitions of Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and their $200 million-plus in owed salary from the Red Sox, a month after picking up star shortstop Hanley Ramirez from the Marlins.
The spending continued this offseason with the re-signing of closer Brandon League and the addition of Korean left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu.
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However, the talk of the offseason was the signing of right-hander Zack Greinke to a six-year, $147 million deal, as he was supposed to give the team a second ace-caliber starter alongside Clayton Kershaw.
Instead, he'll likely open the season on the disabled list as right elbow inflammation has limited him to just two outings totaling five innings this spring (h/t Yahoo! Sports).
As of now, his first start of the season may only be pushed back a few days, but any sort of setback between now and then would almost certainly delay things further.
Add in the fact that Crawford, who underwent Tommy John surgery last August, has managed all of six at-bats this spring and will also likely open the season on the shelf, and it's safe to say things have not gotten off to the start the Dodgers hoped for.
New York Yankees
With all due respect to what the A's and Dodgers have had to deal with this spring, neither hold a candle to what the Yankees have experienced.
Having already lost Nick Swisher and Russell Martin in free agency, the Yankees then lost third baseman Alex Rodriguez to hip surgery for at least the first half of the season before spring camp even kicked off.
Then, slugging center fielder Curtis Granderson went down with a broken right forearm on February 24 after being hit by a J.A. Happ fastball. He's expected to be out until at least early May (h/t ESPN).
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Next, first baseman Mark Teixeira, who was playing for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, was forced to withdraw from the tournament with what was originally thought to be a wrist strain.
However, it was later discovered that he has a partially torn tendon sheath that could wind up requiring season-ending surgery (h/t ESPN).
Finally, there is team captain Derek Jeter, who is recovering form a broken ankle and was on track to be ready for Opening Day.
That is until he was scratched from the lineup on Tuesday due to discomfort in the ankle (h/t CBS New York). It may be nothing, but it's enough to strike some fear into a fanbase that has already been dealt some big blows this spring.
To put things into perspective as to just how bad things are for the Yankees' offense right now, here is a look at their projected Opening Day roster:
1. SS Derek Jeter?
2. RF Ichiro Suzuki
3. 2B Robinson Cano
4. 3B Kevin Youkilis
5. DH Travis Hafner
6. 1B Juan Rivera
7. LF Brennan Boesch
8. CF Brett Gardner
9. C Chris Stewart
Outside of Cano, who has been raking for the Dominican Republic team in the WBC, that is not a group that is going to strike fear into anyone, let alone a deep crop of talent in the AL East.
I'd never count the Yankees out, but they could dig themselves a huge hole over the first month of the season if the rest of the division comes out of the gates strong.
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