Ranking Baseball's Most Polarizing Clubhouse Figures

Josh Schoch@JoshSchochAnalyst IIIAugust 11, 2013

Ranking Baseball's Most Polarizing Clubhouse Figures

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    There's nothing like a clubhouse cancer to throw an MLB team's season down the toilet.

    There are always guys in baseball who tear their own teams apart. Whether it's because they have feuds with teammates, have off-the-field issues or even because they simply attract so much media attention they overshadow the rest of their team, these guys simply don't help their team's chemistry.

    These 10 guys are the biggest cancers in baseball right now, and you should hope your favorite team doesn't have a player or manager on this list.

10. Johnny Cueto

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    Johnny Cueto is a talented young pitcher, posting ERAs well below 3.00 in 2011 and 2012, and posting an ERA of 2.08 until his last two starts this year for the Cincinnati Reds.

    There is a downside though: He's an idiot.

    St. Louis Cardinals fans won't forget the late-season brawl that Cueto helped instigate against their team, and no one will forget how it ended.

    After being pushed back in the brawl, Cueto decided that a random kick would be better than waiting for the brawl to end. He ended up hitting Cardinals catcher and former Red Jason LaRue.

    LaRue would be diagnosed with a concussion and hit the 60-day DL. However, he would never come back off the DL, as he was forced to retire from the injury.

    You couldn't have just not kicked out wildly, Cueto?

9. Manny Ramirez

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    There's a lot of speculation about what Manny Ramirez did. Here are just a few of the whispers surrounding his MLB career:

    1. He didn't try on defense

    2. He quit on his team to be traded

    3. Manny being Manny

    So maybe that last one isn't exactly speculation, but there are a few things we do know about Ramirez's career.

    1. He failed two drug tests and retired rather than face a 100-game suspension

    2. He ruined several good clubhouses

    3. Manny being Manny

    Man-Ram signed with the Texas Rangers earlier this season, and if he makes it back to the bigs the team could be dealing with one of the biggest sideshows in baseball.

    However, since he's not in the majors yet, he's lower on this list than he would be if he were already playing for the Rangers.

8. Delmon Young

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    The No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 MLB draft never exactly panned out. He's a solid player, but he was never the superstar he was expected to be.

    In the minors, Young quickly became known for his antics. After he disagreed with a called third strike he would proceed to argue the call, get thrown out, and then throw his bat and hit the umpire.

    As noted by the AP and ESPN's Mike Mazzeo, Young was also arrested in New York in 2012 on hate crime harassment charges, which obviously doesn't bode well for any clubhouse's morale.

    Young has made headlines a few times for the wrong reasons since being drafted, but at least he isn't consistently a distraction like some of these next guys.

7. Nyjer Morgan

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    Nyjer Morgan might be legitimately insane.

    Sorry, that was supposed to say "Tony Plush might be legitimately insane."

    Morgan, Plush, or whatever he's calling himself these days, quickly earned a reputation for giving ridiculous postgame interviews, showboating and being as disrespectful as possible.

    Whether he's calling Albert Pujols "Alberta," forgetting how many outs are in a baseball game, or stealing the mic from his counterpart, this guy has a knack for putting on a show.

    He's also earned himself a reputation as one of the most hated players in baseball outside of Milwaukee.

6. Yasiel Puig

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    Yasiel Puig is a great player, but he's an awful teammate and an annoying sideshow.

    Thanks to one of the best first months in MLB history, Puig quickly showed off that his antics in the minors (including a speeding ticket, among other things) wouldn't stop in the majors.

    He's ignored legends like Luis Gonzalez, run over Miguel Montero and stared him down, called out his teammates for running slower than him and been the center of attention in a benches-clearing brawl.

    Puig simply has a way of finding the spotlight for the wrong reasons.

    While his performance has certainly helped the Los Angeles Dodgers claim the NL West lead, there's no doubt that Puig is a clubhouse cancer.

5. Jonathan Papelbon

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    The outspoken Jonathan Papelbon has a knack of saying the wrong things at the wrong times.

    Earlier this year, Papelbon weighed in on the last clubhouse cancer, Yasiel Puig, and whether or not he should play in the All-Star Game (the biggest controversy in MLB this season). Using words like "joke" and "stupid" didn't hide the fact that Pap was very much against Puig making the team.

    Papelbon also seems to enjoy talking smack about his former and current teams.

    In his career, Papelbon has only played for the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies. He ripped Red Sox fans mere months after signing with another team, and just over a year later he called out his current team, saying "I definitely didn't come here for this."

    It's also worth noting that he played for the 2011 Red Sox team during their epic collapse, and when he came to Philadelphia the team went from 102-60 to .500 to 52-63 this year.

    Coincidence? I think not.

    His bad attitude has finally begun to affect the chemistry in the clubhouse, and his teams are suffering.

4. A.J. Pierzynski

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    A.J. Pierzynski is not a very nice player.

    You may recall a scene in 2006 when he collided with Chicago Cubs catcher Michael Barrett before the ball got there on a legal play when he played with the interleague rival Chicago White Sox. Barrett proceeded to get up and punch Pierzynski in the face, most likely because everyone hates him.

    It's no longer unfair to say that people hate Pierzynski, as he was voted the "meanest" player in a poll by 215 MLB players in 2011...and again in 2012.

    The voting wasn't even close, as Pierzynski's 34 percent more than tripled the next highest vote-getter in 2012, Alex Rodriguez (10 percent), who, ironically, now appears to be the most hated man on the planet.

    As reported by Tim Keown of ESPN, here's a reason why Ozzie Guillen said this about Pierzynski: "If you play against him, you hate him. If you play with him, you hate him a little less."

    From the mouth of babes.

3. Carlos Zambrano

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    Carlos Zambrano has never been a good teammate, and he's had a few very nasty incidents with his own team over the years.

    His worst incident came with catcher Michael Barrett (who you may remember from the last slide for clocking A.J. Pierzynski). The two fought not once, but twice in the first five innings of a loss. Barrett had to go to the hospital after the fight with a cut lip.

    You'd think the Cubs would've separated the two after the first incident.

    Among his many suspensions, Zambrano was banned from the Cubs for a time after he was ejected from a game, stormed off the field to the locker room, cleaned out his locker and said he was retiring.

    Obviously he didn't retire, but it makes sense that Zambrano's had a problem finding teams over the last few years. He was also released in late July 2013 by the Philadelphia Phillies.

2. Ozzie Guillen

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    Ozzie Guillen is the most quotable, most disruptive manager in baseball. He's not managing right now, but he's still looking for a team, which is why he is eligible for this list.

    When he's not supporting Fidel Castro or telling the media he wants his team to be hated, Guillen enjoys dropping some of the funniest quotes in baseball.

    Let's take a look at a few from the year 2011. Keep in mind these were all in a 12-month span (via Yahoo! Sports):

    Speaking on Bobby Jenks' outspokenness after moving to Boston:

    Am I going to say anything bad about [Bobby Jenks]? I'm not going to waste my time.

    ...

    I wish I was mad about it, because I will rip his throat [out].

    Standing up for Juan Pierre:

    As long as JP is here, he's playing. [If] people don't like it ...  I wish I could say what I think, but I'm not going to be in trouble. I'd be all over, CNN, Playboy Channel, everywhere. But I'm not going to say it. That's the first time I'm going to keep it to myself.

    Discussing the Paul-Star campaign to elect Paul Konerko to the 2011 All-Star team:

    He needs the money; he's kinda broke. The poor man, he needs $200,000 more.

    Hating on Sean Penn for his love of Venezuela:

    Sean Penn, if you love Venezuela please move to Venezuela for a year … But rent a house in Guarenas or Guatire to see how long you last clown.

    And, of course, he thinks he's the man:

    I'm the Charlie Sheen of baseball, without drugs and a prostitute.

    Oh Ozzie, you're so silly.

1. Alex Rodriguez

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    Surprise, surprise.

    Alex Rodriguez has become arguably the most hated player in MLB history.

    Facing a 211-game suspension (the longest non-lifetime ban in history), Rodriguez has decided to appeal and play out the rest of the season. However, he is playing under intense scrutiny, both from the media and from fans.

    Despite his appeal, fans are convinced of his guilt. The general opinion seems to be that he used PEDs and was involved with the Biogenesis scandal, which is why he's been booed before every at-bat, including at home. The only time he's been cheered by a full crowd was when he was hit by a pitch in Chicago.

    Rodriguez has not only brought an unneeded circus to the New York Yankees' clubhouse, but he has inspired his teammates to take subtle shots at him, and at least one teammate asked for him to be traded.

    No player is more polarizing in the MLB currently, and with that comes the fact that he is now the biggest clubhouse cancer in baseball.

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