Each year, a new crop of players heads into the offseason looking to put a dismal performance behind them. This year, that list includes players fresh off suspension—e.g. Nelson Cruz and Jhonny Peralta—and also players like Roy Halladay and Albert Pujols.
The former group, Cruz and Peralta, have a lot to prove after serving 50-game suspensions for their involvement in the Biogenesis scandal. Each are former All-Stars and have proven track records; however, those track records took a major hit, and questions surrounding their legitimacy have sprung up.
The two are sure to find homes in new cities, and although they've admitted their guilt as PED users, Cruz and Peralta both have the potential to be major contributors to their new ballclubs.
The latter group of Halladay and Pujols muddled through injury-plagued seasons that also happened to be the worst of their careers.
Halladay, a two-time Cy Young Award winner and one of the greatest pitchers of his generation, suffered multiple injures in 2013, including an early-season shoulder injury that required surgery. The 36-year-old made his return in late August and failed to regain his form, allowing a 4.55 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP over 27.2 innings pitched.
Halladay is a free agent this offseason, and although he's hardly the highly sought-after commodity he once was, the veteran right-hander will certainly land in a starting rotation somewhere.
Pujols is the greatest hitter of his generation and one of the greatest of all time. The 33-year-old is a three-time MVP and owns a career slash line of .321/.410/.599.
Last season, Pujols played most of the season with a foot injury, but he was able to play through it. The injury obviously bothered Pujols, though, as he totaled 17 home runs, 64 RBI, 49 runs scored and a .258/.330/.437 slash line.
Pujols was clearly uncomfortable running the bases and at the plate. That became even more evident when he tore his plantar fascia.
The offseason will give these four players—and others not mentioned—the chance to either re-establish themselves or regain their health in an attempt to come back at full strength in 2014.