15 Spring Training Flops We Should Officially Give Up on in 2013
With time running out on spring training in Major League Baseball, time is also of the essence for players who are desperately hoping to land a job.
With just 10 days to go until the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros do battle on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball, cuts will be made to get each team down to the 25-man limit. For some, their baseball careers are on the line.
Many of the players on the roster bubble are there simply because they've been complete flops all spring. Their lackluster efforts have put them in a very untenable position. Only managers and GMs can save them at this point.
Here are 15 players who have flopped to this point and possibly can't be counted on for much in 2013.
Brad Snyder: Arizona Diamondbacks
At 30 years of age, one would have expected a former MLB first-round draft pick to be enjoying success at this point in his career.
But Brad Snyder can't say that right now.
Chosen by the Cleveland Indians with the 18th overall pick in the first round the 2003 MLB draft, Snyder has played in exactly 20 games at the major league level.
Snyder simply never developed into the slugging outfielder that the Indians originally envisioned. He was waived after five-plus seasons and picked up by the Chicago Cubs in June 2008. Snyder finally made his major league debut in 2010 but hit only .185 in 12 September games.
The Cubs released Snyder at the end of 2011, and the Houston Astros took a chance on him. But Snyder didn't impress there either, being released again last November.
This time, the Arizona Diamondbacks came calling, offering Snyder a minor league contract and inviting him to spring training as a non-roster player.
Snyder again disappointed, this time hitting just .143 (5-for-35) before being sent to the minors on Monday.
Time is indeed running out on Snyder, and the word "flop" will unfortunately be associated with him as he continues his travels through the minors.
Daniel Schlereth: Baltimore Orioles
At one time, Daniel Schlereth showed tremendous promise as a reliever for the Detroit Tigers.
Now, Schlereth is trying to win a job with the Baltimore Orioles. Based on his current numbers, it simply isn't happening.
Schlereth enjoyed a solid 2011 campaign with the Tigers, compiling a 3.49 ERA in 46 appearances. But Schlereth also walked 31 batters in 49 innings of work. Last year, Schlereth battled through shoulder tendinitis for much of the season and never got untracked, posting a 10.29 in six appearances. He struggled mightily at minor league level as well.
Thus far for the O's, Schlereth is sporting an ugly 12.00 ERA, giving up eight runs on 10 hits in six innings. For the once highly regarded reliever, it's a flop that hasn't been pretty.
Ryan Lavarnway: Boston Red Sox
Heading into spring training, catcher Ryan Lavarnway likely didn't have a great shot at making the 25-man roster. With both Jarrod Saltalamacchia and David Ross ahead of him on the catching depth chart, Lavarnway needed a huge spring.
What he's delivered instead has been a flop.
Lavarnway first opened eyes when he delivered two huge home runs in the second-to-last game of the 2011 season to help keep the Red Sox playoff hopes alive.
Lavarnway hit .295 at Triple-A Pawtucket last year but only .157 in 46 games for the Sox.
Any chance Lavarnway might have had to earn a roster spot this spring is likely completely gone now. He's hitting just .158 with no homers in 14 games.
Amazingly, he could actually be kept around as a DH option while David Ortiz's heels are still on the mend.
Considering what Lavarnway has delivered thus far, it just goes to show how desperate the Red Sox are right now.
Ryan Ludwick: Cincinnati Reds
One can only hope that the struggles Ryan Ludwick has faced this spring are only temporary.
Ludwick signed a two-year, $15 million contract after hitting .275 with 26 home runs and 80 RBI last year. After such a hot year, Ludwick has been completely cold this spring.
As of Wednesday, Ludwick was hitting just .111 (4-for-36) with no home runs and 10 strikeouts.
Reds manager Dusty Baker chalked it up to Ludwick's normal history of slow starts (via Mark Sheldon of MLB.com):
I think we put too much stock in Spring Training with veterans. He started slowly last year. Once you know these things, that he's a slow starter, you don't panic. I'm trying to figure out a way to get him started a little quicker. But I've always said it takes older guys longer. Plus, he's got a lot of moveable parts that you have to get in sync. His swing is not as simple as Joey [Votto's]. In order to get it timed, he needs reps. I'm not worried. Last year at this time, I didn't know. It's how you finish.
We'll see if Baker is still saying that come May.
Charlie Culberson: Colorado Rockies
The man that the Colorado Rockies traded Marco Scutaro for last season is looking like a complete flop.
Charlie Culberson, a prospect infielder in the San Francisco Giants' system, was a sandwich-round pick in the 2007 MLB draft. He got a chance to show his stuff at the major league level with the Giants last season before the trade. But Culberson hit just .136 in six games.
Culberson never made it up to the Rockies last year, and he may not reach the top this year, either. At least to start the season.
Culberson has hit just .136 this spring with one home run and three RBI. In terms of getting value back for Scutaro, Culberson certainly qualifies as a bust at this point.
Duane Below: Detroit Tigers
In parts of two seasons, reliever Duane Below has shown flashes of consistency, delivering a 4.06 ERA.
Below pitched far below expectations this spring, however.
The left-hander struggled throughout spring training, allowing 11 runs on 14 hits in just eight innings of work.
On Tuesday, Below was sent down to Triple-A Toledo as one of eight roster cuts made by the Detroit Tigers.
Below will have to now perform above expectations to make it back.
Chad Cordero: Los Angeles Angels
Chad Cordero has endured a serious shoulder injury and the loss of a child in his latest comeback attempt.
That attempt will likely come up short.
Cordero is trying to land a bullpen job with the Los Angeles Angels. He hasn't been the same pitcher since undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum in 2008. In fact, he hasn't pitched in the majors since July 2010.
It could be a while longer before—or if—he ever does.
Cordero has given up 12 runs on 14 hits in just 4.2 innings this spring for a whopping 23.14 ERA. As great as it would be to see Cordero complete his latest comeback try, it's been painful watching him flop thus far.
Chone Figgins: Miami Marlins
It's probably not really fair to call Chone Figgins' effort this spring a flop. He did hit .308 in 11 spring games.
But when you're an 11-year MLB veteran who can't crack the roster for a lowly team like the Miami Marlins, the moniker stays.
Figgins' can certainly be called a flop after signing a four-year, $36 million contract with the Seattle Mariners. Figgins' flopping effort led to the Mariners releasing him with one year remaining on his contract.
But now, Figgins is looking for employment again after the rebuilding Marlins decided Figgins just wasn't a viable solution for their rosters.
That's just adding insult to injury.
Taylor Green: Milwaukee Brewers
The Milwaukee Brewers have been more than patient in waiting for infielder Taylor Green to mature.
In fact, they're still waiting.
Taylor was signed by the Brewers in 2006 after being drafted in the 25th round of the MLB draft.
Even then they had to wait. That should have been a sign.
Green has simply never developed to the point that he can handle major league pitching, posting a .207 over parts of two seasons.
Green is hitting just .139 this spring, proving that point even further.
Joe Benson: Minnesota Twins
Joe Benson was a top prospect for the Minnesota Twins before Aaron Hicks. However, Benson finds himself playing second fiddle to Hicks now.
Benson was considered a Top 100 prospect by Baseball America in both 2011 and 2012. He earned a call-up to the Twins in September 2011, hitting .239 in 17 games.
Injuries completely derailed Benson last season, though, as he hit just .202 in 76 minor league games.
Now, Benson is hitting just .154 for the Twins this spring, and he will watch Hicks possibly become the starting center fielder while he continues trying to find his way once again in the minors.
Mike Baxter: New York Mets
The New York Mets' outfield situation heading into spring training was already looking dire. The projected starters at the time were Lucas Duda in left, Kirk Nieuwenhuis in center and Mike Baxter in right.
It now could very well be Duda, Jordany Valdespin and Marlon Byrd.
Nieuwenhuis suffered a bruised knee sliding into second base in early March and hasn't played since. He was also hitting just .056 at the time.
Byrd was in camp as a non-roster invitee and has hit .314. According to Christie Ackert and Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, Byrd is all but assured the right field job on Opening Day.
What does that mean for Baxter? Well, he's hitting just .152 with no extra-base hits.
Seems to me he pretty much dug his own baseball grave, so to speak.
Travis Hafner: New York Yankees
The New York Yankees certainly have a lot on their plate in terms of injuries to deal with before the start of the season.
They also have to face the fact that the man they paid to be their designated hitter is hitting just .138 this spring.
Travis Hafner will likely hit against right-handed pitching only. But considering what he's done thus far, he could end up being a $2 million mistake.
Brandon Inge: Pittsburgh Pirates
Brandon Inge has gone from a popular star for the Detroit Tigers to trying to just hang on with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Released by the Tigers last April, Inge shined for a while with the Oakland A's before getting injured and then wasn't invited back at the end of the season.
Inge came to the Pirates as a non-roster invitee trying to lay claim to one of the few utility spots on the roster.
Inge has completely spit the bit, hitting just .156 with no extra-base hits. With the Pirates looking for an offensive spark off the bench, Inge is clearly not the answer.
Freddy Garcia: San Diego Padres
At 36 years of age, Freddy Garcia is on the back end of his career.
His performance this spring gives credence to that very fact.
Hoping to earn a starting role with the San Diego Padres as a non-roster invitee, Garcia isn't giving manager Buddy Black a warm, fuzzy feeling.
In five spring appearances, Garcia has given up 17 earned runs on 21 hits in 15.2 innings. His 9.77 ERA, not to mention his excuses for not getting the job done, won't have Garcia pitching at Petco Park.
After giving up six runs in five innings against the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday, Garcia's comments regarding his status following the game were given with almost an "I don't care" approach (via Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com):
"That's not my decision. It's their decision. All I can do is go out there and pitch and do my job. Today, five innings, I gave up six runs against a tough lineup."
Giving up six runs in five innings is not doing your job. And it won't land Garcia a job, either.
Ty Wigginton: St. Louis Cardinals
Ty Wigginton is best classified as a super-utility guy. He even made an All-Star team in a year in which he played four different positions for the Baltimore Orioles.
But for the St. Louis Cardinals this spring, Wigginton has been a flop.
Wigginton has hit an awful .103 in Grapefruit League games for the Cardinals with one double and one RBI.
Yet he's still in the running for a reserve role.
For someone fighting for a role of any kind, Wigginton has failed miserably.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.