Bartolo Colon and the 20 Most Washed-Up Players in Baseball
The New York Yankees recently signed 37-year-old Bartolo Colon to a minor league contract. The former 2005 Cy Young Award winner, Colon has not pitched since 2009, but is determined to make a comeback in the Bronx.
Obviously, this was not what the Yankees were looking for when they set out to find free agent pitching help (see Lee, Cliff).
Colon, however, is not the only player in the MLB this year who's better days have passed by him. With that, here are the 20 most washed up players in baseball for the 2011 season.
Well, it seems as if the Yankees are loading up on washed-up talent. These next four players have all been inked to minor league contracts by the Bronx Bombers.
Chavez, for starters, has been plagued by injuries for the past few years, which makes it that much harder to remember how dangerous of a third basemen he was for the Athletics for 13 seasons
Andruw Jones was once one of the most feared center fielders in all of baseball with Atlanta. However, after transitioning to the American League with Chicago, his career started to severely decline.
A five-time All-Star, Jones was one of the best fielders in the league, and had power to boot.
Now, with the Yankees, Jones looks to regain some of his skills, as he competes for a starting role in the Yankees outfield.
Belliard used to be one of the most versatile infielders in all of baseball, compiling some very good seasons for the Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers. He made one All-Star team in 2004.
However, he is often out of shape and now, at 35, is competing for a backup role for the Yankees.
Freddy Garcia, along with Colon, Chavez and Belliard, has been signed by the Yankees. He was signed to compete for the fifth position in the starting rotation with Colon, Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre.
Garcia had some very solid seasons, as he made two All-Star games (2001-02) and was the AL ERA Champion in 2001. However, those seasons are a long way in the past and Garcia has to prove to Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman that he is worthy of another shot.
While he won his first World Series ring in San Francisco this past year, Barry Zito's best days are past him. The 2002 Cy Young Award winner, Zito once had the nastiest curveball in the league.
Now, he fights for a top spot in the stacked Giants rotation, with young guns Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez easily passing him by in the skill department.
Juan Pierre used to be one of the deadliest baserunners in professional baseball. He twice led the league in steals and has over 500 career steals.
However, at 33, Pierre has lost a step or two, and with his weak arm from the outfield, it will be tough for him to warrant a starting job this year in Chicago.
One of the most controversial players of the past few years, Bradley had a few good seasons, but has been a nuisance almost everywhere he has gone.
After signing a huge contract with the Cubs, he was dealt for struggling Carlos Silva in a trade where both teams just wanted to get rid of their guy.
Bradley, now 32, is three years removed from his last All-Star season and shows no real signs of having much left in the tank.
Speaking of Silva, he deserves a place on this list as well. At an even 70-70 career win-loss record, it looks as if Silva's best playing days are behind him. At the age of 31, Silva has already been run out of Seattle, and is starting to wear out his welcome in Chicago.
Miguel Tejada is a six-time All-Star (he took home MVP Honors of the 2005 game) and the 2002 AL MVP. However, his last All-Star game was in 2009, and it does not look like he has a shot to make it back any time soon.
One of the most dangerous hitting shortstops in recent memory, Tejada had a knack for driving in runs. However, once it was found out that he had used performance enhancing drugs, his image took a huge hit.
Now in San Diego, Tejada acts as a veteran leader for the team, as his production on the field cannot do all the talking anymore.
In 2006, "Pronk" set an MLB record with six grand slams in one season, and batted .308, his second consecutive .300 season.
However, in 2007, his average dropped below .300 and he has never reached that plateau again. His RBI and HR totals have also decreased dramatically. He finished 2010 with only 50 RBI.
The once dangerous power hitter is now nothing but a shell of his former self.
At the age of 34, it looks as if Randy Wolf's playing days are coming to an end. An All-Star in 2003, Wolf has had rather pedestrian numbers since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2005.
He is currently in the final year of a three-year contract with Milwaukee, and it is possible that he retires at the conclusion of this season.
Once a hotshot prospect with the Yankees, then an All-Star with the Rangers and the Nationals, Soriano has massively declined since coming to Chicago.
His move from second base to the outfield was supposed to extend his career. Last season, he batted .241 with only 55 RBIs.
While his body might not say it, the severe decline in his power numbers might suggest he was a product of the steroid era.
Gary Matthews Jr.
After a stellar 2006 season in which he was selected to an All-Star game, Matthews Jr. was given a five-year, $50 million contract by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, which ESPN's Rob Neyer called "one of the worst contracts" in league history.
Matthews' performance has severely declined since then, and now a free agent, his time might be over in the MLB.
The former power hitting first basemen for Oakland and the Yankees is now a shell of his former self. After winning multiple Silver Sluggers and an AL MVP Award, Giambi's career tailed off after he admitted to using performance enhancing drugs.
Now in Colorado, Giambi looks to find his at-bats as a pinch hitter. Most of his pop is gone, but he hopefully has something left for the Rockies.
Once one of the most feared hitters in all of baseball, Manny Ramirez, now with Tampa Bay, is nothing more than an average hitting outfielder/designated hitter.
Never a strong fielder, Ramirez's skills have decreased to aging. He broke out in Cleveland, took his talents to Boston (where he eventually wore out his welcome) and then burst onto the scene in Los Angeles.
After it was discovered that he used banned substances, Manny has never been the same. We are about to see everything he has left in the tank as he goes to Tampa Bay to play alongside...
Former "Idiot" in Boston Johnny Damon is one of the more polarizing players in recent memory. While the Boston fans adored him, everyone else hated him. When he went to New York, Boston fans turned on him.
As he gets older, Damon's extremely weak arm is becoming even more of a burden, as he loses some of his speed. It will be interesting to see how Damon replaces Carl Crawford in left field in Tampa Bay, as a severe drop in fielding ability and speed is clear.
At the age of 35, the former power hitting, strong fielding third baseman is nearing the end of his career. He enjoyed great success with the Phillies, where he won the 1997 NL Rookie of the Year award. He peaked in 2004, his first season in St. Louis.
Now, in 2011, Rolen is with Cincinnati as he tries to win his second World Series title as the veteran leader of the young Reds.
One of the best hitting pitchers of all time, Mike Hampton is definitely over the hill. As a result of many injuries, Hampton hasn't made an All-Star game since 2001.
Today, he has a minor league contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he is trying to make a last ditch effort at pitching in the major leagues.
A four-time All-Star and former World Series MVP, Troy Glaus has had an extremely successful career. He started with the Anaheim Angels, where he won a World Series, and then went to Arizona, Toronto, St. Louis and Atlanta.
Currently, Glaus, 34, is a free agent struggling to find a job in the MLB. His long career might be over.
Jim Edmonds was one of the best fielding outfielders of the past decade. All of those years spent in center field in Anaheim and St. Louis were great. A four-time All-Star, Edmonds has seen his production slip in recent years.
Currently, Edmonds has a minor league contract with St. Louis, as he returns to the Cardinals to try and earn a spot on the team. His skills, however, are mostly gone at this point.