11 MLB Players Who Have the Most to Lose During Spring Training
One of the biggest parts of MLB Spring Training is determining who will be the starters. As usual, there are a lot of tough position battles this year.
A lot of high-profile moves were made this offseason. There's a lot of anticipation to see who will win those battles.
Here are the top 11 players who have the most to lose in their position battles this year.
11. Armando Galarraga, P, Arizona Diamondbacks
Armando Galarraga entered the national limelight when his perfect game was mistakenly taken away from him last year.
A lot of things have changed. The Detroit Tigers traded him to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Now his role on the D-backs is up in the air.
10. Scott Olsen, P, Pittsburgh Pirates
Scott Olsen was a hot prospect a few years ago. He was traded to the Washington Nationals and things went downhill. He battled injuries and inconsistency in Washington.
Now on a one-year deal with the Pirates, he’s battling for the fifth starting spot. He’ll need to clinch it for the sake of his future.
9. A.J. Burnett, P, New York Yankees
Burnett’s starting position never seems to be in question. But it should be. Some pressure may help with his consistency.
Inconsistency isn’t Burnett’s only weakness. He’s hot-headed, too. He needs to prove himself.
Especially if both Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes perform well in Spring Training, Burnett may find himself competing for a spot he didn't even know he was competing for.
8. Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, C, Washington Nationals
The Washington Nationals brought in Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez to bring veteran experience behind the plate.
He’s been beneficial with their young pitching squad, but he could easily lose out this year.
The Nationals seem committed to their young players, so I wouldn't be surprised if they choose them over Pudge.
7. Carlos Beltran or Angel Pagan, OF, New York Mets
The two outfielders are competing for the New York Mets’ starting center field position.
Beltran is coming off an injury from last season. He may not be 100 percent again.
I’m giving the edge to Pagan in this battle simply based on that.
6. Jon Rauch, P, Toronto Blue Jays
Jon Rauch signed with the Toronto Blue Jays. The reliever is now in the competition for closer. He’s up against Octavio Dotel.
I don’t see Rauch winning that battle, based on his experience the past few years.
But he could still play a vital role in the bullpen, putting him in the position to become the Jays closer later on down the road.
5. Matt Joyce, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Matt Joyce is fighting for an outfield spot. With the Tampa Bay Rays’ new additions in the outfield, Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon, there’s only one starting spot left.
Joyce is also competing against the guys from last year. Dan Johnson showed a lot of promise late last season. He’ll be tough competition for Joyce.
4. Xavier Nady, OF/1B, Arizona Diamondbacks
Xavier Nady is competing for the starting first baseman position. He’s up against Brandon Allen.
After his past couple injury-ridden seasons, Nady looks to stay healthy and earn that starting spot. Otherwise, he’ll move around the outfield.
I think as long as Nady is healthy, he can get it.
3. Jason Giambi, 1B, Colorado Rockies
Jason Giambi signed a minor league contract with the Colorado Rockies. He hopes to impress enough at spring training to warrant a roster spot.
If not, he’ll be stuck in the minor leagues, waiting for a call-up opportunity.
I don’t see Giambi getting his roster spot, though. I think his best days are behind him.
2. Brett Gardner, CF, New York Yankees
Brett Gardner has been astounding in the Yankees outfield. But he lacks real power at the plate, making him a replaceable player.
This year, he’s competing for the starting center fielder position again.
I think Gardner deserves the starting position, but I don’t think he’ll get it this year.
1. Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain, P, New York Yankees
Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain both signed over million dollar deals this offseason. They’re also both vying for the fifth spot in the Yankees rotation.
They’ve been each others’ competition since they arrived in the league and it will continue this year in spring training. Whichever pitcher doesn’t get the fifth spot will be relegated to the bullpen.
I’m giving the edge to Phil Hughes for the fifth starter because that’s what has happened in the past. Plus, Chamberlain’s strong arm could be better for the Yankees bullpen.