MLB's All-Offseason Acquisition Bust Team for 2014
Sometimes the best moves are the ones you don't make.
That certainly would have been sound advice for the general managers who signed and traded for the players who populate the roster on the MLB All-Offseason Bust Team for 2014. The New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers are well-represented on the squad. Plus, there are even a couple of players on this team who have performed so poorly that they are currently out of work.
Catcher: Brian McCann, New York Yankees
The Deal: Five years, $85 million
With the 314-foot porch in right field, Brian McCann was supposed to be the perfect fit in the Bronx.
So far, that definitely hasn't been the case. The backstop is hitting just .233 on the season and is sporting a .382 slugging percentage. McCann, who recently returned from the concussion disabled list, has been useless against right-handed pitching. On the season, the left-handed hitter is swinging at a clip of .211 against righties.
The worst part of this move for the Yankees is that McCann is only playing in the first season of his five-year, $85 million deal.
First Base: Prince Fielder, Texas Rangers
The Deal: Acquired from the Detroit Tigers along with $30 million in exchange for Ian Kinsler
Prince Fielder's first season with the Texas Rangers was a debacle.
The first baseman connected on a grand total of three home runs before neck surgery ended his year in May. Then there's his exorbitant contract to consider. The Rangers owe the 30-year-old $24 million a year between now and 2020. Those figures led Dan Szymborski of ESPN (subscription required) to dub Fielder's deal the worst in all of baseball. That assessment sounds spot on.
Second Base: Brian Roberts, NA
The Deal: One year, $2 million
Brian Roberts is currently unemployed, which is about all you need to know about how his 2014 season worked out.
The New York Yankees cut ties with the 36-year-old on deadline day after a couple of trades shook up the roster. Surprisingly, the second baseman stayed relatively healthy. However, with a .237 average and questionable glove work, Roberts didn't contribute much at all.
At least New York didn't take a big financial hit by axing the veteran, as Roberts was playing on a one-year, $2 million deal.
Shortstop: Stephen Drew, New York Yankees
The Deal: One year, $10.1 million
Technically, Stephen Drew wasn't an offseason acquisition, as the left-handed hitter didn't ink a deal with the Boston Red Sox until May. Still, his numbers are simply too terrible to ignore. Drew's late start to the season certainly didn't do him any favors, as he explained via Stephen Haynes of Newsday.
"It's kind of been a crazy year for me," he said. "Everybody pretty much got three months on me and I feel like I'm playing catch-up."
While splitting time between the reigning World Series champions and the New York Yankees, Drew has posted a .173 average in 55 contests. With Derek Jeter entrenched at shortstop, Drew has been spending nearly all of his time in the New York playing second base.
With his 2014 season so far proving to be a nightmare, it will be extremely interesting to see just what kind of free-agent offers Drew receives in the winter.
Third Base: Kelly Johnson, Boston Red Sox
The Deal: One year, $3 million
Entering the season, the plan was for Kelly Johnson to step in for the banished Alex Rodriguez. However, that never happened. Early on, the utility man lost playing time with the New York Yankees due to the emergence of Yangervis Solarte. When he did see the field, Johnson didn't offer much production with his .219 average.
The Yankees ended up shipping Johnson to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Drew at the end of July. In Boston, the 32-year-old has been even worse. In six games with the Red Sox, Johnson has posted a .158/.158/.158 slash line.
Right Field: Curtis Granderson, New York Mets
The Deal: Four years, $60 million
With 15 home runs, Curtis Granderson has provided decent pop for the New York Mets. Unfortunately, the 33-year-old hasn't supplied enough power to make up for the rest of his deficiencies.
The left-handed hitter has racked up 114 punchouts and owns a .222 average. Plus, Granderson has been at his worst when it matters the most. With runners in scoring position, the outfielder is hitting .191.
Center Field: Chris Young, NA
The Deal: One year, $7.25 million
This contract looked like a disaster from the day it was signed.
In the winter, the New York Mets picked up Chris Young on a one-year, $7.25 million deal. That figure turned out to be slightly less than the one-year, $8 million payout that the Baltimore Orioles gave Nelson Cruz.
At the time, Mets GM Sandy Alderson explained to John Harper of the New York Daily News that he didn't regret making the early move for Young rather than waiting to sign Cruz:
They’re different types of players. I’m not here to criticize Nelson Cruz. He brings power to the table, but he doesn’t bring defense, and he doesn’t have our approach [at the plate]. We’re very happy with Chris Young.
Fast forward to today, and Cruz is now leading the baseball with 33 home runs. Young went on to hit .205 in 88 games before getting released in early August. It's easy to wonder if the Mets even watched Young play in 2013, when he hit .200 with the Oakland Athletics.
Left Field: Shin-Soo Choo, Texas Rangers
The Deal: Seven years, $130 million
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Shin Soo-Choo has cleared waivers and is eligible to be traded. Of course, that doesn't mean the outfielder is going anywhere anytime soon. The way he's been playing, the Texas Rangers are stuck with the 32-year-old.
In his first season of his seven-year, $130 million deal, the left-handed hitter has been a major disappointment. Choo has underwhelmed at the plate (.244 average), been a liability on the basepaths (3-of-7 on stolen base attempts) and often been lifted for a defensive replacement late in games.
The Rangers will hope that Choo's ankle injury is at the root of his drop-off because otherwise the club is in serious trouble.
Designated Hitter: Raul Ibanez, Kansas City Royals
The Deal: One year, $2.75 million
It's harsh to describe Raul Ibanez as a bust, considering that he's 42 years old.
Still, his numbers make him a necessary inclusion on this squad. After getting released by the Los Angeles Angels in June, the veteran latched on with the Kansas City Royals, where he's been serving as a part-time designated hitter.
In both stops, Ibanez has struggled considerably, as he's batting .170. The most remarkable part of Ibanez's stat line is just how awful he's been in limited playing time against left-handers. In 41 at-bats, Ibanez has a .024 average with a .109 on-base percentage, a .049 slugging percentage and a .157 OPS.
Starting Pitcher: Ubaldo Jimenez, Baltimore Orioles
The Deal: Four years, $50 million
Ubaldo Jimenez has pitched so poorly in 2014 that the right-hander has lost his spot in the Baltimore Orioles' starting rotation. As manager Buck Showalter explained via Eduardo A. Encina of The Baltimore Sun, the 30-year-old will be working out of the bullpen as the club looks to lock up the AL East.
The biggest problem for Jimenez has been the absurd number of walks he's issued. The pitcher leads the entire AL with 66 free passes.
Closer: Jim Johnson, Detroit Tigers
The Deal: Oakland Athletics acquired Jim Johnson from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for Jemile Weeks
The 2014 season has been a mess for Jim Johnson since the beginning.
The right-hander lost his gig as the closer for the Oakland Athletics within the first week of the season. He was ultimately released after posting a 7.14 ERA in 38 outings. Johnson hasn't had much better luck with his new team, the Detroit Tigers, where he's already the owner of a 5.40 ERA after two appearances.
Johnson's teammate Joe Nathan and Tampa Bay Rays reliever Grant Balfour are also worthy of dishonorable mentions.
If you want to talk baseball, find me on Twitter @KarlBuscheck.