With the season half over and a lot of clubs are either looking down the barrel of a losing season or finding that it might be time to kick it into the next gear. There were literally dozens of signings in the offseason and it’s no real shock that some of them were done in either desperation to increase the team’s depth at a position, or because someone had faith in the wrong individual at the wrong time. In any case all is not lost, but there are a few prospects that don’t seem to be living up to their potential just yet. Thankfully it’s still early enough for some of them that they might be able to shine once they get into their rhythm. For others though it might be a bust.
So which players seem to be the biggest slip-ups so far?
5. Ian Desmond – Colorado Rockies
Five years for $70 million seems a bit of a stretch for a player that’s not putting up the numbers he was expected to. Desmond was thought to be a catch when he was signed on, but thus far he’s not doing much to really prove that he deserves the big money that’s yet to come. What’s fortunate is that he still has room and incentive to grow in his game, so perhaps near the end of this season or into the next one he’ll start showing what he’s all about.
4. Luis Valbuena – Los Angeles Angels
You don’t really want to call anyone a one-trick pony in any sport, but the biggest problem with Valbuena right now is that he’s not smashing right-handed pitches the way he used to. He’s a versatile player that can cover first and third base with equal skill, and he’s got a strong bat that can smash the ball into the outfield on a constant basis. But after injury and missing several games it’s seeming unlikely that he’ll get back to top form any time soon.
3. Brad Ziegler – Miami Marlins
Injury in any sport often takes a heavy toll on an athlete. Since straining his back Ziegler really hasn’t gotten after it the way he used to. His number of average walks has increased while his strikeouts have decreased. The money the Marlins put into his signing is kind of going to waste as his game continues to devolve. One can only hope that he finds a way to climb that mountain and become the dominant pitcher he used to be.
2. Bartolo Colon – Atlanta Braves
Age is not a baseball player’s friend. Colon is nearing his mid-forties and unfortunately his aim is not what it used to be. Batters are smashing far more home runs off of his pitches and finding themselves walked to base far too often for a man that’s been known to leave many batters in the dust in the past. It’s been a nice two-decade run for Colon, but unless someone else needs the services of a seasoned veteran next season it’s likely he’ll be headed for retirement.
1. Brandon Moss – Kansas City Royals
Typically you would think bringing in a designated hitter would allow you to get what you’re paying for. Moss was a hard hitter in the 205-16 season, but since coming to the Royals he’s yet to really hit his stride. It’s reasonable to think he might get better, but if not then his position might be a whole lot more tenuous when the next offseason rolls around.
It takes a lot of effort to get to the majors and earn that humongous paycheck. But it takes even more to stay there and keep getting paid.