Alfonso Soriano and 14 Former MLB Superstars Who Look Washed Up
Going into each season we wonder. We wonder what rookies will step up and make a name for themselves. We wonder which teams will fall flat on their faces and even which teams will shock the world.
We rarely wonder which of the players are going to take a nosedive in terms of production. We try not to wonder which of our favorite players may just be entering "stiff-dom." That's why I'm here.
Someone needs to point it out to fans because they ignore it until they raise their arms, shrug their shoulders and ask: "What happened?" Keep reading and you'll see what happened to these once-great players.
I would like to warn you that seeing a few of these players on my list might get your blood boiling. Just take a deep breath and try not to soil yourself. Things will be OK.
If you choose to comment, which I encourage, please try to be respectful. I'm not telling you that you suck or calling your mother names. I am just pointing out some facts you may have overlooked.
Don't hate the player, hate the game.
Tejada has been on the downside of his career for a couple of years now. The guy is 36 and he has begun to play like it.
His numbers have gone down in nearly every statistical category since 2008. He hasn't hit over 18 home runs since 2007, and his numbers took a steep drop from 2009 to 2010.
All Tejada could muster in 158 games in 2010 was:
.269 BA, 71 R, 15 HR, 71 RBI, .312 OBP, .381 SLG and .692 OPS
Tejada became a glorified singles hitter, unable to hit the ball with much authority, as evidenced by that horrendous slugging percentage. He has also lost much of his range at short and isn't much more than adequate in the field.
His start to the 2011 season leaves little room for optimism for his future.
He's a great guy and he was a really good player for many years in New York, but it might be time for him to start filling out his retirement papers.
While old age has clearly taken its toll on Posada, so have injuries over the past few years. He hasn't played in over 120 games since 2007.
His 2010 season was brutal, and his start to the 2011 has not gone as he or the Yankees had hoped. They should expect more out of their DH. I get it that the Yankees are loyal to their "old" guys (see Derek Jeter), but it's time to pull the plug on Posada.
Maybe he'll stick around to occasionally DH or be a bat off the bench, but that's really all he is at this stage of his career.
Injuries have sucked much of the effectiveness out of Furcal over the past several years. This season is only about 20 games old and Furcal has found himself, once again, on the disabled list.
In 2010, he showed he could still play in the 97 games that he was healthy, but there is a pattern forming and it's not a good one. In 2008, Furcal missed all but 38 games. One of his biggest assets, his speed, has been rendered relatively ineffective.
Could Furcal bounce back and have some solid seasons over the next few years? Of course that's possible, but it seems that every time I look up, I see the letters DL next to Furcal's name.
You're of no use to a team if you can't stay on the field.
Magglio Ordonez has been awesome throughout his career without that many people realizing it. At age 37, that career is coming to a close.
He is a career .311 hitter with a .371 OBP and .880 OPS.
Ordonez has gone from All-Star to on the way out in a relatively short amount of time, and some of that is due to injuries. He played in only 84 games in 2010 and has missed several this season already.
There may be room over the next couple years for a guy who hits over .300 (.303 in 2010 and .310 in 2009) on someone's bench, but the end is near.
In the span of one season, Derrek Lee has gone from solid run producer to below-average offensive first baseman. He still can pick it, but he's having a lot of trouble hitting that hard, white ball with red laces.
In 2009, Lee hit 35 bombs and drove in 111. Last season that dropped to 19 and 80 respectively between both the Cubs and Braves. The Braves made a trade hoping Lee would bolster their offense and solidify the first base position. It didn't happen. Lee only hit three home runs and drove in 24 with the Braves.
So far this season, Lee's power stroke hasn't returned. He has one home run and two runs batted in while playing in 20 games for the Orioles.
Stick a fork in him. Lee is D-O-N-E.
There was a time when Kerry Wood was a dominant starting pitcher for the Chicago Cubs. Injuries prevented Wood from continuing that dominance of National League hitters.
Wood made a comeback of sorts in 2008, this time as a closer. It was a successful transition as he saved 34 games for the Cubs. That success didn't last long.
Fast forward to 2011. Statistically Wood's numbers look pretty good, but looking at one specific game shows that he is nearing the end of the line.
On April 10th against the Brewers at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wood entered the game in the eighth inning with the Cubs holding a 5-4 lead. Wood walked Yuniesky Betancourt and three batters later gave up a pinch-hit opposite-field home run to Casey McGehee. Just walking Betancourt is a feat in itself as he has only walked 107 times in 829 games in the majors. McGehee, who had been struggling, had no problem taking an up-and-away fastball and lining it into the right-field seats.
That's not supposed to happen to a Kerry Wood fastball. I'm sure he's got some good innings left, but he doesn't need a telescope to see the end of his career.
This will be an unpopular choice, no doubt. I stipulate to the fact that Jeter is nearing 3,000 hits. Good for him. There was a time when he was an awesome player in the league. That can't be said about him any longer. And just as an editorial fact, the Yankees were amazingly stupid to give a three-year, $51 million contract for a guy who has little chance of actually earning that money.
If 2010 is a harbinger of what is to come, enjoy these next three years. Even strident Jeter fans may begin to boo him. Last year he was putrid. .270/.340/.370 which adds up to .710 OPS. I don't see those numbers improving much, if at all, this season. At the moment, all of his 2011 stats are below those of last year.
Jeter continues to be popular and many Yankees fans still see him as the guy from 1999. Guess what? That Jeter ain't walking through that door. The reality is a 37-year-old Jeter who just isn't all that good any more.
I also thought I'd mention that Joe Girardi actually is as dumb as he looks. Thinking that it's a good idea to bat Jeter leadoff at any point is moronic at best.
Pudge hasn't really had much left in the tank for a few years now. He's stuck around and done what teams have asked of him, which really isn't all that easy to do for a former MLB star.
Since 2008, Rodriguez's batting average hasn't been above .266, his on-base percentage hasn't been above .294, and his OPS hasn't been above .640. Those numbers are purely ghastly.
This year the Nationals brought him in to help young catcher Wilson Ramos transition from the minors to the National League. That process has gone quicker than many had anticipated, with Ramos getting regular work behind the plate.
At age 39, Pudge Rodriguez is nearing the end. I say it's already here, but he just doesn't know it yet.
I'm not all that sure why this guy is even still around. He hasn't hit above .253 since 2005. It's not like he's a solid defensive replacement. He can't play multiple positions, and he no longer hits for power.
I do believe I must be missing something. He just turned 40 in January. Did I hear something about 40 being the new 30?
With all due respect (very little) Mr. Giambi: Get off my list and get out of the league!
Yes, I do realize he had a very good year in 2010 for the Texas Rangers. I may be dumb, but I'm not stupid. The problem is that was last year. We are now in 2011, unless Marty McFly recently drove by and picked me up. I'm pretty sure that never happened.
Old age does something to the body, and it's not good. It's a well-known fact that Guerrero's knees have been a pain, literally, for some time. Take a look at this pic of Vlad to the left. Is it me or do his thighs look inordinately large? I doubt he would admit it, but he has gained weight since last year. I've seen the pictures. That does not help a person's joints work more smoothly.
He's struggled early this season. Maybe that's because it's still been cold up north, but maybe his time is coming to an end. This season may just be his last.
There was a time when this guy was all that and a bag of chips. These days all that is left in the bag are the little crumbled chip pieces that make you swear to yourself when you open the bag. You were expecting some honest-to-goodness chips and got Soriano instead.
Years ago Soriano was a triple-threat, hitting home runs, driving in runs and snatching bases left and right. His homers have gone down nearly every season since 2006, he hasn't driven in more than 79 runs since 2006 and he hasn't had more than 19 stolen bases since 2006.
Soriano's batting average and on-base percentage have dropped dramatically over the past two seasons as well.
I hate to tell you Cubs' fans this, but Alfonso Soriano has lost that loving feeling.
It seems that Carlos Lee has had a perpetual smile on his face throughout his major-league career. These days, that smile has turned into a bit more of a glazed look in his eye. Maybe that's why in the picture at the left it seems like Michael Bourn is conducting a field sobriety test on Lee.
The 2010 season was a big shocker as Lee's production dropped dramatically. He finished the season .246/.291/.417 to go with his 24 home runs and 89 runs batted in. At this very moment, his 2011 numbers are worse than those from 2010.
Lee is a terrible defensive player which is why the Astros are now switching him between left field and first base. If Lee wishes to extend his career, DH may be his only outlet to do so. In all honesty, the end may be just around the corner.
At the beginning of every MLB season, I informally choose a date by which certain players will find themselves on the disabled list. Scott Rolen is one of those guys. Other participants have included Nomar Garciaparra, Chipper Jones, Jim Edmonds and Troy Glaus among others. So here we are, with Rolen once again residing in his home away from home, the DL.
Rolen has always been a very good player and a Gold Glove third baseman, but injuries take their toll. Rolen doesn't have the power he once did, and he really can't be an everyday player any longer.
He'll contribute and provide some leadership, but you can't expect too much more. If he sticks in this league beyond 2012, I will be shocked.
I'm going to hear it loud and proud from the Carlos Beltran and New York Mets' fanbase with this one. I really used to like this guy, but it's gotten to the point where you have to ask yourself: "What does he have left in his tank?"
A lot of Beltran's issues stem from his recent injuries. He's not the great athlete he once was, covering outfields like the Miller Park Hawk. He's switched to right field to accommodate Angel Pagan, who is currently the better fielder with more range. He doesn't run much any more either.
Maybe 2009 and 2010 were just blips on the radar screen and now that he's healthy, Beltran will revert to his form of the 2006-2008 seasons. My gut tells me that he is closer to the end than many people want to believe.
Someone will give him a shot to play in 2012, but beyond that we'll have to wait and see.
Ah, Andruw Jones. In this picture he seems to be auditioning for a new job with the New York Department of Sanitation. I'd really like to see how well he cleaned things up.
Jones practically fell off the globe following his departure from Atlanta. I wasn't even aware it was possible for a guy like Jones to be as bad as he has been the past three seasons. Luckily, the Dodgers are still paying this hump after they released him over two years ago. They are paying him to play for the Yankees. Sounds fair.
This guy is so washed up, he's got the Maytag repairman on his speed dial.