6 MLB Players Who Could Most Use a Change of Scenery in 2014
There are a number of players in the MLB who could benefit from a change of scenery. For one reason or another, they have struggled in their current city.
Some players don't get along with their coaches, others are not able to handle the pressure of playing in a big market and in some cases, it is just a bad fit between a team and a player.
A lot of these players are filled with potential and have previously demonstrated high levels of success. By moving to a new team, either via trade or free agency, these players could show that they can play at a high level.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have a number of elite players in their outfield. With Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig and Carl Crawford, the Dodgers can boast about having one of the best outfields in the National League, if not that majors.
However, that is not good news for everyone. Andre Ethier is likely the odd man out in Los Angeles. He is deserving of a starting role somewhere, but Los Angeles is not the place for him anymore.
Ethier has a hefty contract through 2017, so he may be difficult for the Dodgers to move. Los Angeles will probably work out a deal to send Ethier to someplace that he can play everyday, but they may need to eat some of his salary.
Yankee Stadium is not a good place for a homer-prone pitcher to pitch. Thus, it should not be a big surprise that Phil Hughes has struggled mightily in New York.
Over the past three seasons, Hughes has had a 1.5 HR/9 rate, and this has been one of the large causes of his 4.85 ERA over that time frame. Hughes is now a risky free agent, but signing him could have some big rewards.
By moving to a National League team and a more pitcher-friendly ballpark, Hughes could turn into a middle-of-the-rotation starter and potentially put up numbers similar to what he had during his 2009 All-Star season.
When he first reached the major leagues with the New York Mets in 2010, Ike Davis' power and potential led him to become a fan favorite, and "I like Ike" signs could be seen all over Citi Field. An ankle injury cut Davis' 2011 season short, but he once again flashed his potential during his limited action.
Things began to go downhill for Davis in 2012. Davis was said to be suffering from valley fever, and his performance dropped off significantly. During the first half of the year, Davis hit only .201 with 77 strikeouts. While Davis picked things up a bit in the second half and ended the season with 32 home runs, his season was still disappointing.
After struggling once again in 2013, it appears that Davis needs a change of scenery. Adam Rubin of ESPN.com has mentioned that Davis will likely be dealt this winter, and such a deal would benefit both the player and the team.
Another New York player who was once labeled a phenom is in need of a new home for the 2014 season. Joba Chamberlain began his career with the New York Yankees looking like a potential replacement for Mariano Rivera once he retired.
However, Chamberlain went through a number of different issues that on and off the field, including the infamous "Joba Rules" that harmed his development and eventually led to Tommy John surgery.
Now, Chamberlain is a free agent, and it is almost certain he will not be coming back to the Bronx. This is a good move for Chamberlain as he may be able to turn into a good setup man in a new setting as opposed to the middling reliever who posted a 4.93 ERA as he was during his last season with the Yankees.
When the Atlanta Braves traded for Dan Uggla prior to the 2011 season, they knew that they were getting one of the top power hitting second basemen in the major leagues. Uggla lived up to that reputation as he slugged 36 home runs in his first year in Atlanta, even though his batting average fell to .233.
Things have gotten worse for Uggla since then as the power has dissipated, and his average has fell further to an anemic .179 in 2013. It appears as if Uggla is a prime change-of-scenery candidate.
Mark Bowman of MLB.com has mentioned that the Braves will look to deal Uggla and receive anything of value this winter, but it might not be easy as a result of his contract and his poor performance.
Drew Smyly proved that he can be a solid starting pitcher based on his performance in 2012, but the depth of the Detroit Tigers starting rotation moved him to the bullpen in 2013. Smyly was once outstanding in the Tigers pen, but he has much more value as a starter.
The problem is that he will have a hard time cracking the Tigers rotation. With Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello, Anibal Sanchez, Max Scherzer and Doug Fister, there is no room for Smyly.
While the Tigers have no reason to deal Smyly at the moment, he may actually benefit the most from a deal if the Tigers are unable to make room for him in their rotation. Smyly has the potential to be a very good starter, and it may not be reached in Detroit.