Do you ever notice that you really need something only after you've gotten rid of it?
Baseball teams have that same problem.
Some teams will find that their biggest holes could be filled by a player they previously traded or let walk via free agency. Perhaps the time eclipsed is long, like a few seasons, or short, like less than one year.
Either way, it's frustrating.
Here are five contenders who could use the services of a former player. Chances are low that they'll make a move to bring these players back, but it can be fun to imagine nevertheless.
Stats courtesy of ESPN.com.
Let's come out and say it: No one saw this coming. And if you say you did, you're lying.
Bartolo Colon had an impressive stint with the Cleveland Indians, his first major league team. He went 75-45 over six seasons with a 3.92 ERA. He bounced around briefly with the Montreal Expos and the Chicago White Sox before he came to Anaheim to pitch for the Angels.
After winning the Cy Young Award in 2005, Colon, more or less, disappeared.
Now he's having a resurgent season with the New York Yankees. He's already won seven games this year, more than he's had in any year since the Cy Young campaign.
Colon is pitching with velocity reminiscent of his Cleveland days and has kept the Yankees in almost every game he's started. He's been a true blessing for a franchise whose back end of the rotation appeared very shaky heading into the season.
But his first team could really use Colon back on their side. The Indians are surprise contenders this year, and they have somehow overcome very mediocre starting pitching. The rotation is 10th in the league in batting average against and 11th in ERA. While no Indians starter is striking out even seven batters per game, Colon has averaged eight in 2011.
The New York Yankees picked up Lance Berkman at the trade deadline last year in order to solidify the designated hitter spot. He, well, didn't really do that, hitting .255 with one home run in 37 games.
No one gave it a second thought when Berkman signed with the St. Louis Cardinals this offseason. Yet the guy who looked washed up at the end of last year is having a renaissance season, smacking 27 home runs and slugging .595 so far in 2011.
Granted, it might just be that Berkman wasn't fit for the American League. And, granted, the Yankees aren't exactly in dire need of offensive help; they're third in Major League Baseball in runs scored and first in home runs.
Still, with DH Jorge Posada hitting under the Mendoza line through much of the first half and right fielder Nick Swisher not doing much better, it is difficult not to see how Berkman's revived form could have been immensely valuable to the Bronx Bombers.
Before you say anything, yes, I know Jayson Werth is hitting .215 for the Washington Nationals. And, yes, I know he's slugging 100 points below his career average.
But I'm going to venture a guess that the move to Washington has at least something to do with his tremendous struggles. Werth should be right in his prime, not slowing down, and certainly not slumping to the degree he is.
And the Phillies this year could use the Jayson Werth they had the past three seasons. Their offense in general has sputtered; they rank only 13th in MLB in runs scored.
Right field has been a particular waste zone. The Phillies' production from right field (resulting mostly from Ben Francisco and Dominic Brown) ranks 25th in runs scored and batting average.
The Phillies had accepted the strong likelihood of Werth's departure when he reached free agency last offseason, especially as they had their sights set on the likes of Cliff Lee. But, as terrific as their starting pitching has been, they could use some more offensive firepower, like that which Werth used to provide for them.
Aramis Ramirez spent the first five-and-a-half seasons of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was a solid player there, but he truly blossomed once he came to the Chicago Cubs in 2003, having hit 232 home runs and compiling a .293 batting average during his ongoing tenure.
But whereas the Cubs are heading nowhere except into continued disappointment, the Pirates are surprising everyone with their quest for first place in the National League Central.
Still, the Pirates have weaknesses, and one is third base. Their production from the hot corner (mostly from struggling prospect Pedro Alvarez and former Angels bust Brandon Wood) includes a .228 batting average, good for 20th in baseball, and 39 runs scored, good for 22nd.
Ramirez, meanwhile, leads all National League third basemen in home runs with 19 and slugging with a .525 clip.
Although everything lines up for a sweet homecoming—including the fact that Ramirez is in the final year of his contract—it doesn't appear the third baseman will be on the move anytime soon. He reportedly wants to stay in Chicago, and he has the no-trade clause in his contract to ensure that.
Edgar Renteria and Juan Uribe are having terrible seasons, which makes it all the more impressive that the Giants could miss them.
But San Francisco has had major offensive difficulties, ranking 15th in the National League in runs scored and 13th in home runs.
Production at shortstop has been downright awful. Their shortstops (a combination of Miguel Tejada, Mike Fontenot and Brandon Crawford) rank last in baseball in runs scored and second-to-last in batting average.
Renteria and Uribe, members of last year's World Series-winning squad, don't have much more impressive numbers. They've combined to hit five home runs and a batting average not too far north of the Mendoza line.
But whereas the Giants' current shortstop situation represents uncertainty and disappointment (mostly surrounding the struggling rookie Crawford), the tandem that left via free agency would have represented, at least, the veteran leadership and stability that helped lead to a championship.
In other words, if you're going to have sub-par statistics, better they come from someone who at least you know you win with.