MLB Free Agents 2012: 10 Clubhouse Cancers Worth Taking a Chance on
Sometimes, a team is desperate enough to take on a player with a notorious personality. Sometimes, that player's talent is so great that you can't ignore it.
In a free-agent market with limited stars and impact players, some teams may need to bite that bullet and pursue one of those clubhouse cancers.
Talent is talent, and as long as he keeps himself in check, there should be no problems.
Clubhouse cancers are always on the trading block since any team would love to get rid of them.
Here is a list of the 10 clubhouse cancers worth taking a gamble on.
Yunel Escobar was once the Atlanta Braves' future shortstop. However, clashes with former manager Bobby Cox and uninspired play cut that future short.
The Braves shipped him to the Toronto Blue Jays and he hasn't exactly lived up to the expectations he had in Atlanta while in Toronto either.
Despite that, he's still a solid shortstop with an average likely to hover around the .290 mark.
Escobar doesn't do anything flashy.
He's not Omar Vizquel at shortstop, nor will he suddenly start belting out homers like the Texas Rangers version of Alex Rodriguez, and he's not exactly Jose Reyes when it comes to stealing bases.
However, he's not dreadful at anything either. He'll also come relatively cheap if the Blue Jays think they can get someone better.
B.J. Upton hasn't exactly lived up to the potential everyone thought he had when he first came up.
Recently, his average has been going south as his power numbers fluctuate anywhere from 24 to nine home runs. Also, his strikeout numbers have been on the rise getting 161 of them in 560 at-bats.
Also, there's that famous altercation he had with Evan Longoria over his lack of hustle when it comes to how Upton plays the game. Then there's the arguments he's had with Joe Maddon over the same issues.
However, Upton's 27 years old and is still in his prime, so he has a good chance to turn things around.
He's shown flashes of his skills and talents over the years, but has yet to put it all together to be the player he was projected to be.
Delmon Young has been known to get into fights with umpires as he so famously did in his minor-league career. He's also clashed with managers over his lack of effort and plate discipline.
Young's played for three teams in six years, so it's clear that managers and teams are having a tough time adjusting to him.
His lazy defense and swing-first mentality has been the ire of his managers.
However, you can't ignore his strong, accurate arm and offensive skills.
He can gun down just about any runner from the outfield. Young also hit 21 home runs for the Minnesota Twins in 2010. Everyone also saw his postseason performance where his bat nearly single-handedly eliminated the mighty New York Yankees.
Unlike other players who have had fights with their managers, Chris Carpenter seems to be getting into fights with players on other teams.
He's a clubhouse cancer in that his attitude and personality will likely instigate something on the field with the other team.
Everyone remembers the fight with the Cincinnati Reds that Carpenter got in the middle of, adding to it by commenting afterwards.
Then there's the Nyjer Morgan incident from this past season. Carpenter seems to find trouble whenever possible.
With all that, there's no denying that Carpenter is one of the better pitchers in baseball and any team would love to have his pitching skills on their side.
If we're going to put Chris Carpenter here, might as well throw in one of the guys he gets into arguments with, which is why Nyjer Morgan and his mouth are on this list.
It's no secret that Morgan has an Energizer Bunny mouth. This has led to confrontations with members of opposing teams, the St. Louis Cardinals being the most recent example.
Though you could also look at his fight with the Florida Marlins in 2010. Then there's also him allowing an inside-the-park home run by dropping a ball and throwing his glove instead of chasing after it.
So yeah, Morgan has his share of troubles, but he's also a gifted fielder and one of the fastest players in the game. He'll also hit for a relatively high average.
Teams will be willing to take a chance on a guy as talented as Morgan. He just has to close his mouth once in a while.
I had to include at least one member of the Boston Red Sox's epic-collapse squad on this list.
Josh Beckett is often pointed to as the leader of the whole drinking-in-the-clubhouse stuff, as well as the collapse.
For that, his own fans don't even like him and you can be sure the team isn't too fond of him either.
The Boston Red Sox seem to be purging themselves of the toxins of the September collapse, so don't be surprised if Beckett is on his way out.
Despite being at the center of the collapse, Beckett is still one of the better starting pitchers in the majors.
Beckett can easily be an ace or the No. 2 pitcher for any team as long as he stays away from the bottle.
Everyone remembers Hanley Ramirez's little verbal scuffle with then-manager Fredi Gonzalez after he was benched for lazy play.
Ramirez hasn't done much to erase that, as he had a .243 average before going down with a season-ending injury. He wasn't exactly himself this past season, which leads to the question of whether or not the Miami Marlins be willing to stick with him.
So far the answer is maybe, since they did offer Jose Reyes a contract. The Marlins haven't ruled out moving Ramirez to center field, but it remains to be seen how he handles being moved in favor of another shortstop.
He may have a reputation of being lazy and has fought with his previous manager, but there's no denying Hanley Ramirez's talent.
Ramirez has speed, power and can hit for a high average. Should the Marlins decide to move him, you can bet teams will be lining up to take him.
Brandon Phillips is known for being a bit cocky and abrasive towards other teams. The best example of this are his comments towards the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2010 season.
His words led to a massive bench-clearing brawl that got several players suspended and a couple injured.
This was all because he just had to tell the Cardinals what he really thought of them.
Yeah, like calling an opposing team a certain word isn't going to have repercussions later.
Even though he started one of the largest fights in recent baseball history, the Cincinnati Reds seemed interested in trying to keep him by signing him to an extension.
That might change should Phillips start another brawl anytime soon.
So Phillips is arrogant and a bit of a hot head. He's also one of the best second basemen in the league.
Phillips has power and can hit for an average while also being a solid defender and a base stealer.
You just have to take the chance that Phillips might instigate another fight somewhere down the road.
Here's probably one of the most hated players in the majors today.
A.J. Pierzynski has gotten into more fights than Manny Pacquiao and Batman combined. He argues with just about everyone and just seems to rub opposing players the wrong way.
Pierzynski is one of those guys who you hate if he's playing against you. If he's playing with you, you hate him a little less, just barely tolerating him.
For a hothead, he's pretty talented. His career average is .284, pretty good for a catcher if you ask me, and his career fielding percentage is.995.
Pierzynski has his value and he'll play for his headache-ridden team. You've just got to accept that everyone else hates him.
And here we are with Mr. Clubhouse Cancer himself, Carlos Zambrano.
Once upon a time, he was a fierce pitcher on the mound as the Chicago Cubs ace, as he struck out opposing hitters with ease.
Then his attitude problems started getting the best of him, causing him to explode and get suspended because of it.
He's had tirades and problems in the past, but this past season, the Cubs said enough was enough.
The Cubs would love to be rid of him. The other teams around the league would prefer if the Cubs kept him.
However, you can't underestimate or ignore his pitching skills and that he would be a great No. 2 pitcher if he just settled down.
It's been reported that the Royals are interested in him.
Maybe a change of scenery would calm down Big Z.