It is always hard to watch a player that was once at the top of his game not know when to call it a career.
I understand, and fully respect, the fact that these guys love the game of baseball and want to play as long as they can. However, when they start taking on reserve roles or struggle to the point that they are forced into a reserve role, it is time for them to hang 'em up.
So here are 10 players who I would love to see ride off into the sunset come seasons end, or sooner if at all possible.
2009 Stats: .100 BA, 0 HR, 1 RBI
Career Stats: .267 BA, 229 HR, 780 RBI
Current Role: Designated hitter
It's hard to believe that Chavez is still only 32, but injuries have really taken their toll on the six-time Gold Glove winner, and he is far from being in his prime.
After playing a total of 31 games the past two seasons, the A's made the curious decision this spring to send the team's top power threat in Jack Cust to Class AAA and make Chavez the team's primary DH.
Now just two weeks into the season, Chavez is already splitting at-bats with Jake Fox and seems to be willing to take on a lesser role if it means he can make it through an entire season healthy.
The move away from third base shows that the A's are willing to take what they can get from Chavez at DH but are no longer going to count on him as a key contributor. He could stick around for several more years as a role player but I doubt he'll be an everyday player again.
2009 Stats: .250 BA, 27 HR, 81 RBI
Career Stats: .274 BA, 325 HR, 1,072 RBI
Current Role: Free agent
Dye was still semi-productive for the White Sox last season, but they didn't think twice about re-signing him—they didn't. Despite interest from a few teams in need of a power bat in the offseason, Dye's steep asking price and horrendous defense make him unlikely to find a suitor unless injury strikes.
It is the consensus around the league that Dye is in the running for worst defensive outfielder at this point in his career. With more and more AL teams going to a DH-by-committee approach, no team is willing to shell out big bucks for an aging star who hit .250 last season.
There is a good chance that Dye will latch on somewhere when a team is hit with a major injury and needs a stop gap option, unless he continues to expect to be paid like the player he was five years ago and not the one he is today. He would be better off just calling it a career at this point.
2009 Stats: .201 BA, 13 HR, 51 RBI
Career Stats: .282 BA, 409 HR, 1,330 RBI
Current Role: Pinch hitter
Giambi is a former AL MVP and was once one of the most feared sluggers in all of baseball and the cleanup hitter in what was a potent New York Yankees lineup.
The five-time All-Star re-signed with the Oakland Athletics prior to last season, as he rejoined the team that originally drafted him and opened the season as the team's starting designated hitter.
However, after hitting just .193 and playing just 83 games, Giambi was dealt to the Rockies, who were in need of a left-handed bat for their postseason run. He played well enough down the stretch, hitting .292, 2 HR, 11 RBI over 19 games, for the Rockies to re-sign him.
So far this year, he has appeared in five games, and is hitless in eight at-bats. At 39 years old, Giambi is a shell of the player he used to be, and would be best served to hang up his spikes at this point.
2009 Stats: .214 BA, 19 HR, 57 RBI
Career Stats: .285 BA, 630 HR, 1,830 RBI
Current Role: Designated hitter in platoon
Griffey was the face of baseball throughout the 1990s, and he will go down as one of the best hitters to ever play the game. He played the game the right way, and despite numerous injuries his career numbers still rank him as one of the best.
That said, it is time Junior called it quits. The last time he put up solid numbers was during the 2007 season, when he hit 30 HR and had 93 RBI. Since then, he has hit just .233 BA, 37 HR, 129 RBI over 269 games.
He still has 20 HR power if he gets a chance to play on a daily basis, but he would struggle to hit over .250 and would be more of a hindrance to the team than anything.
With 3,000 hits out of reach and having already slugged HR number 600, he has little to play for milestone-wise at this point. The return to Seattle was a nice way for Griffey to close out his Hall of Fame career, but it is time he do just that and retire.
2009 Stats: .264 BA, 18 HR, 71 RBI
Career Stats: .307 BA, 428 HR, 1,449 RBI
Current Role: Starting third basemen
Unlike anyone else on this list, Jones is a career .300 hitter, and that could be in jeopardy if he continues to play.
At 38, he has a legitimate chance at 500 HR and 3,000 hits if he manages to produce at his 2008 level for about four more seasons. However, he will see his other career numbers drop each season, and hurt his legacy more than he helps it by continuing to play.
Not only that, but the stage is set for him to retire. With Bobby Cox retiring and Jason Heyward well on his way to being the face of the franchise this is a changing of the guard type of season in Atlanta and seems like as appropriate a time as any for Jones to call it quits.
In my opinion, Jones is easily one of the best switch-hitters in baseball history and a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame right now. The stage is set for him to retire, time will tell if he feels the same way.
2009 Stats: .238 BA,. 28 HR, 99 RBI
Career Stats: .281 BA, 317 HR, 1,070 RBI
Current Role: Starting DH
For as quickly as Ortiz burst onto the scene in Boston, his fall from the ranks of top tier run producer has been just as quick.
As recently as 2007, Ortiz put together a .332 BA, 35 HR, 117 RBI season, and that season was a drop-off from the 54 HR and 137 RBI numbers he put up in 2006.
Compare that to a combined .250 BA, 50 HR, 188 RBI over the past two seasons and it is clear that Big Papi is nearing the end.
With Adrian Beltre manning third, Mike Lowell has been relegated to the bench, but if Ortiz continues to struggle (he's hitting just .171 with 2 RBI as of this article) he could surrender DH duties to Lowell and find himself struggling to get at-bats.
It is sad to see a man who did so much to bring a World Series to Boston fall so hard, but as the last two seasons have shown, Ortiz's time may be up.
2009 Stats: .276 BA, 10 HR, 43 RBI
Career Stats: .292 BA, 509 HR, 1,676 RBI
Current Role: Free agent
Sheffield, much like Jermaine Dye, is still looking for a place of employment this season. At 41, and coming off a season in which he was more productive than most people thought he would be, but was still unimpressive, I highly doubt he will find an interested team.
Last season, he was relied upon to be a presence in the middle of a decimated Mets lineup, and while he got to the milestone with career HR No. 500, he did little else to show that he is any more than a fourth outfielder and pinch-hitter at this point.
Sheffield has done everything he can to build his Hall of Fame resume and has little else to accomplish in his career. It will come down to whether the voters look past his juicing when he comes up on the ballot, and if Sheffield is smart that will be in five years.
2009 Stats: .241 BA, 20 HR, 55 RBI
Career Stats: .278 BA, 291 HR, 763 RBI
Current Role: Starting left fielder
Following a 46 HR, 41 SB season with the Nationals in 2006, Soriano hit the jackpot, inking an eight-year, $136 million contract from the Chicago Cubs.
He was an All-Star in each of his first two seasons in Chicago, averaging .291 BA, 31 HR, 72 RBI, 19 SB. While far from his 2006 numbers and far from the numbers you would expect from someone who made $24 million over that stretch, he was at least still helping the Cubs win,
Last season, however, was a different story, as his average dipped and his power waned. Worse than his hitting, though, was his defense in left field, as he committed 11 errors and his little hop catch became less and less endearing.
Little has changed this season, a season in which Soriano will make $17 million, as he is chasing every breaking ball in the dirt he sees and has already made three errors in left field.
With four years to go on his monster contract, there is little chance of Soriano retiring, although that would be the best possible thing for the Cubs. I would expect the Cubs to eat a good portion of that salary and try to dump him before those four years are up, and he will go down as one of the worst signings in Cubs history.
2009 Stats: .249 BA, 23 HR, 77 RBI
Career Stats: .277 BA, 566 HR, 1,570 RBI
Current Role: Designated hitter in platoon
Many baseball fans figured Thome was headed for a decline following an injury-plagued 2004 season that ended with him being traded to the White Sox.
He was far from finished, however, as he posted a .282 BA, 77 HR, 205 RBI line over his first two seasons in Chicago. He again posted impressive power numbers in 2007 with 34 HR and 90 RBI, but he saw his average drop 30 points to just .245.
After again struggling to keep his average over .250 last season, he eventually lost his starting job after the Sox picked up Alexis Rios and he was dealt to the Dodgers with cash on August 31 for a 26-year-old Class A infielder.
While he did little down the stretch to warrant much of a look, the Twins took a chance on him this offseason, and while he could provide a bit of pop off the bench, he is little more than a big name pinch-hitter at this point in his career.
2009 Stats: .209 BA, 14 HR, 51 RBI
Career Stats: .259 BA, 178 HR, 708 RBI
Current Role: Backup catcher
In all fairness, Varitek has not been much of an offensive force for a number of years now, but the drop to .209 last season signaled the end of him being an option as an everyday catcher. The Red Sox recognized that too, and they responded by trading for Victor Martinez last season.
Varitek will have a spot on the Red Sox and in the clubhouse as long as he can physically put on the gear. He is just the third team captain since 1923 and he has more than earned that prestigious honor.
He is off to a hot start this season, hitting over .400 with three home runs. It is doubtful that those numbers will hold up, but it shows that he has embraced his role as a backup and is able to produce despite limited at bats.
Varitek is no longer a star, and it is always hard to see once great players struggle. Best case scenario, Varitek would slip into a coaching role immediately with the Red Sox.