11 MLB Players Who Have the Most to Lose During Spring Training

April WeinerCorrespondent IFebruary 3, 2011

11 MLB Players Who Have the Most to Lose During Spring Training

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    NEW YORK - OCTOBER 19:  Joba Chamberlain #62 of the New York Yankees reacts as he walks back to the dugout at the end of the top of the eighth inning against the Texas Rangers in Game Four of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on Octo
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    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

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    DETROIT - JULY 25: Armando Galarraga #58 of the Detroit Tigers warms up prior to the start of the first inning against the  Toronto Blue Jays on July 25, 2010 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. The Blue Jays defeated the Tigers 5-3.  (Photo by Leon Ha
    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    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

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    WASHINGTON - JULY 29:  Scott Olsen #19 of the Washington Nationals pitches against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park on July 29, 2010 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    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

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    NEW YORK - OCTOBER 19:  A.J. Burnett #34 of the New York Yankees looks on against the Texas Rangers in Game Four of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 19, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/G
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    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

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    PHOENIX - AUGUST 04:  Catcher Ivan Rodriguez #7 of the Washington Nationals in the dugout during the Major League Baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 4, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Nationals defeated the Diamondbacks
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    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

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    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 18:  Carlos Beltran #15 of the New York Mets in action against the Atlanta Braves during their game on September 18, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Ima
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    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

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    SEATTLE - AUGUST 27:  Relief pitcher Jon Rauch #60 of the Minnesota Twins pitches against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on August 27, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. The Twins won 6-3. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    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

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    ST PETERSBURG, FL - OCTOBER 07: Matt Joyce #20 of the Tampa Bay Rays walks to the dugout after striking out during Game 2 of the ALDS against the Texas Rangers at Tropicana Field on October 7, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    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

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    PHOENIX - JULY 05:  Xavier Nady #22 of the Chicago Cubs at bat during the Major League Baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on July 5, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Cubs defeated the Diamondbacks 9-4.  (Photo by Christian Petersen
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    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

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    PHOENIX - SEPTEMBER 21:  Jason Giambi #23 of the Colorado Rockies looks on from the dugout during the Major League Baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on September 21, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    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

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    NEW YORK - OCTOBER 19:  Brett Gardner #11 of the New York Yankees tries to make a play in foul territory as a fan gets in the way against the Texas Rangers in Game Four of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 19, 2010 in the
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    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

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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 22:  Phil Hughes #65 of the New York Yankees walks on the field during Game Six of the ALCS against the Texas Rangers in the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 22, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ste
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    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.