MLB Jobs Already at Risk After Dismal 2017 Starts

Jacob ShaferFeatured ColumnistApril 21, 2017

MLB Jobs Already at Risk After Dismal 2017 Starts

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    Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story.
    Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story.David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    We're less than a month into the 2017 season. The grace period isn't over yet.

    That said, jobs can be lost before summer arrives. It's happened before and it'll happen again.

    To whom could it happen? Let's take a glance around both leagues, keeping in mind that fortunes turn quickly this time of year.

    Will they turn for an annually hyped Minnesota Twins outfielder, a veteran New York Mets infielder and a manager north of the border, among others?

    Keep reading and weigh in.

Chris Marrero, LF, San Francisco Giants

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    Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

    The San Francisco Giants didn't address their left field vacancy via trade or signing this offseason, opting instead for internal options.

    Jarrett Parker won the job out of spring but struggled initially and landed on the disabled list with a borken clavicle.

    Now, the Giants are ostensibly rolling with Chris Marrero, a 28-year-old journeyman who's gone 4-for-30 with one home run and eight strikeouts.

    San Francisco could try an array of alternatives, ranging from veteran minor league signee Melvin Upton Jr. to prospect Christian Arroyo. Or they could give Marrero more rope and wait until the trade deadline on July 31.

    Unless he starts hitting fast, however, the latter option seems unlikely. 

Byron Buxton, CF, Minnesota Twins

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    Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

    Ah, Byron Buxton, how you confound.

    The second overall pick in the 2012 amateur draft, Buxton has perennially teased elite potential but never delivered.

    Entering his age-23 season for a Minnesota Twins club with need and patience, this felt like Buxton's year.

    So far, so bad, as Buxton has gone 4-for-49, "good" for an .082 average and .257 OPS, numbers that define anemic.

    For now, manager Paul Molitor is sticking by his underperforming outfielder.

    "In this case, it's exaggerated because of who he is, the expectations we have, and the finish he had last year," Molitor said, per Chad Graff of the Twin Cities Pioneer-Press. "Obviously, it's been something that's been paid attention to."

    The rebuilding Twins won't demote Buxton with a jerk of the knee, but he's got to start producing soon.

Jose Reyes, 3B, New York Mets

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    B51-MarkABrown/Getty Images

    With captain David Wright sidelined indefinitely, the New York Mets are relying on Jose Reyes as their primary third baseman.

    Thus far, Reyes is frigid at the hot corner.

    Through 16 games, the 33-year-old veteran is hitting .105 with just two extra-base hits in 57 plate appearances. He's also made some significant defensive miscues, including a crucial dropped pop fly in a loss to the Philadelphia Phillies Tuesday.

    Manager Terry Collins is on Reyes' side.

    "For me, it's, 'Hey, look, you've earned the right to go back out there and battle through this. Now battle through it and don't just throw your hands up and say woe is me. Battle through it,'" said Collins, per Fred Kerber of the New York Post. "I think Jose is of that mentality."

    Perhaps, but if Reyes doesn't pick it up soon, he could be supplanted by any number of up-and-comers, including top prospect Amed Rosario.

Trevor Story, SS, Colorado Rockies

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Last season, Trevor Story was a homer-mashing revelation for the Colorado Rockies before he went down with a season-ending thumb injury.

    Now, he's at risk of losing his starting job thanks to a .135/.262/.327 slash line.

    Yes, Colorado will give the powerful middle infielder more time to find his groove. However, with Mark Reynolds swinging it capably at first base and former shortstop Ian Desmond set to come off the disabled list, it's possible Story could be the odd man out.

    "If you had asked me just a few days ago, I would have said no, thinking that a demotion would do more harm than good," Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post opined. "Now, given how bad Story looks, it might not be a bad idea. That's my opinion. Would the Rockies do it when Desmond returns? I'm sure they would consider it."

John Gibbons, MGR, Toronto Blue Jays

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    Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

    This one may seem absurd, considering the Toronto Blue Jays inked manager John Gibbons to an extension through 2019 with an option for 2020 earlier this month.

    And, no, Gibbons isn't likely to be fired tomorrow or the day after.

    Toronto, however, is off to a woeful start, and at a certain point someone will eat the poison pill.

    The Jays have made the postseason each of the last two seasons, but have stumbled to a 3-12 start that has them buried 7.5 games out in the deep, noisy American League East.

    It's early, to apply the obligatory caveat. But when a club that's expected to contend posts the worst record in baseball, the manager's seat gets warm, fair or not.

    A tidy five-game winning streak could make this a moot point. On the other hand, another handful of losses could make it a hot-button issue.

       

    All statistics current as of Thursday and courtesy of MLB.com and Baseball Reference.