It is a well known fact that all professional athletes have their shelf life, and whether they like it or not, Father Time catches up with them all, even if some can last at an acceptable elite level longer than their peers. It is then crucial for these men during this time to optimize both their earning potential and success, which comes with even more pressure when a player is considered elite in their sport and has the weight of a franchise on his shoulders.
While a player cannot simply straight up move teams under his own power if he feels his talent is not being capitalized on correctly, when a franchise caliber player is not surrounded with acceptable talent, the players and fans alike must feel exceedingly frustrated, as individual success is often nothing to a player compared to World Series or playoff success. With this in mind, the following are 15 MLB players who desperately need to find new teams.
29 Billy Hamilton
Billy Hamilton is without a doubt the fastest player in all of the MLB, and plays a very solid defensive center field, which could turn a contending team into a World Series Champion, yet he is stuck in Cincinnati with the Reds who have no hope of being a playoff contender. While he is still young and has plenty to offer the Reds going forward, and he may become more valuable as a trade candidate when his numbers improve, there is no doubting that his prime years should not be wasted in a ball park hell for pitchers on a non contending team. While his .252 average may not scream star player, his 19 stolen bases after 60+ the last 2 years would be a huge addition to a frightening offense like Baltimore or Toronto, and would improve any playoff caliber team significantly.
27 Chris Carter
When Chris Carter left the Astros it was met with mixed reaction, as he continued to strike out more than any player in the AL with his time there, yet provided the thunder they needed in the middle of the order, as he consistently blasted 30+ HR a year, but decided to take his talents to Milwaukee to team with Ryan Braun, and while this has worked out individually at 1B, he is much more suited to a championship team as a DH. While not at the caliber as most people on this list, Carter would be perfect to an AL team needing to boost their power numbers as a DH, due to his struggles with hitting for average and in the field. A team like Cleveland or the White Sox could make much better use of Carter’s talents as a DH due to their deep lineups, as clutch, power hitting is a necessity to succeed in October, which both teams have aspirations of making in 2016 and beyond.
25 Justin Upton
When Justin and his brother B.J came together in Atlanta, much was expected of the duo as they had both been star players in Arizona and Tampa Bay respectively throughout their careers, and when this didn’t pan out the duo again failed in San Diego. Then Justin moved on to Detroit leaving B.J in San Diego, and while neither has experienced team success, individually they again have both produced at their best, and while B.J may not be a star anymore, his brother Justin certainly is and deserves better than Detroit. Hitting in a power fueled lineup, Upton continues to show the power and RBI ability that made him one of the most sought after out fielders in baseball a few years ago, and while the defense is slowly diminishing, that doesn’t effect the ability he has at the plate, and the Tigers, if they indeed do go into a rebuilding mode could get a lot back for Upton, who still has more than a few good years left in him to be a significant contributor to a championship team.
23 Wil Myers
The former AL Rookie of the Year has been on a down slide ever since his breakout season due to injury, but after an average year in San Diego he finds himself again dominating at first base instead of the outfield, and has become the backbone of the Padres lineup hitting .284 with 18 HR and 55 RBI, and he looks to finally be fulfilling the hitting potential he promised several years ago. With the Padres team still in a rebuilding phase after failing to go ‘all in’ last year, these improvements shown by Myers, as well as his defensive versatility (he was their starting CF in 2015), he looks to be a valuable trade piece to a contender which would help the contending team, Myers himself and the rebuilding efforts of San Diego. Being a young guy too, a Championship team could pick him up and make him an integral part of their lineup for years and years to come.
21 Jay Bruce
Jay Bruce is a player whose name always comes up at the trade deadline, but always seems to stay put, at the year 2016 is the right time to move him, as the Reds aren’t doing anything special anytime soon, and a corner outfield, left handed power bat is something every contending team in 2016 would want, and Bruce himself has recently added fuel to year long trade rumors when he apparently said he would wave a no-trade clause to play for the white hot Indians. With good defensive skills in the field, a good average and power hitter (although the numbers may be a little skewed playing in Cincinnati) and a great veteran presence in the club house, Bruce is the kind of player who could send a good contending team over the top if he is indeed traded, which many insiders expect to finally happen this year.
19 Sonny Gray
Despite playing on an average Oakland team, Sonny Gray continues to make a case for being in the top 2-3 pitchers in the AL, with his consistent performances, despite earning his first All-Star nod in 2015, compiling a career record of 37-24. In 2015 he finished third in the Cy Young award ballot, and would be perfect for a team like the Orioles or the Blue Jays who are looking to cement a solid rotation behind incredible offenses, as the A’s team have not looked like improving during his time there. While he may not intimidate hitters like other pitchers do, he knows how to pitch with the arsenal he has, and is one of the brightest young pitchers today, one just hopes that he does not stay in Oakland beyond his current contract.
17 Jose Fernandez
While immediately this one doesn’t make as much sense as others, as Fernandez owns a 24-1 record in his career at home with Miami, but a pitcher as talented and as bright a future as Fernandez should be pitching on a contending team, behind an ace to relieve the pressure from the young right hander. Coming off Tommy John surgery, Fernandez picked up from where he left off in his impressive start to his major league career, and while Miami is a good place to gain experience at the major league level, if he truly wants to achieve success, both personally and team wise, he would be better suited with a contending team like the Giants or the Cubs, who have a great coaching staff and rotation to slot him into, but wherever he goes, Miami is not the place for Fernandez, even if they are slowly improving.
15 Ryan Braun
The rumors of Ryan Braun being on the move have gathered steam as of late, with the San Francisco Giants being frequently linked to the power hitting right hander, and the move makes sense for both Braun and the Brewers, as the fan base has been constantly frustrated with his problems, and the lack of success would be a deterring factor to Braun ever resigning with Milwaukee. Though not in his prime, which was when he controversially beat out Matt Kemp for NL MVP, Braun is still putting together solid numbers, hitting over .300 with solid power, and can play both corner outfield positions, which would make him a valuable middle of the order hitter to any championship contender, as the move to San Francisco will allow him to achieve success both as a team and individually, as hitting around Buster Posey, Brandon Belt and Hunter Pence would give him a great chance to improve those numbers.
13 Paul Goldschmidt
Quite under the radar, Paul Goldschmidt has developed into one of the best all around hitters in all of baseball, rivaling the years of players like Bryce Harper and Mike Trout, but never gets enough credit due to the lack of success the D-Backs have experienced. The right handed slugger has spent his entire career out west in the desert, and although they have tried time and time again to build a team around him, they always falter against the power houses in the division the Giants and Dodgers, and its about time that Goldy moved on to somewhere that can support his amazing hitting abilities, and deliver him a chance to play meaningful games in September and beyond. Whether he finds a new home this year or not, Goldschmidt has only just entered his prime, and will have plenty of chances to find success in his time left in baseball, whether that be in Arizona or somewhere else.
11 Aroldis Chapman
If ever there was a closer who deserves better, its Aroldis Chapman. The flame throwing Cuban went from a Championship contender in Cincinnati who couldn’t finish the job, to closing for that same Reds team, but one who had lost all its talent and had no hope of a championship, to his current predicament in New York, and although it looks better for him, he should be on a World Series contender with needs at the position, like San Francisco or the Cubs. Despite troubles off the field while derailed a move to the Dodgers, Chapman looks to be back to his intimidating best on the mound, and while the Yankees expected to contend this year, things aren’t going according to plan, and Chapman needs to be on a team which gives him a chance to close the most important games for his team, and unfortunately for the Yankees, that isn’t them, but he could give them a hefty return in a trade sometime before the deadline if it were to happen.
9 Freddie Freeman
An Atlanta product since the draft, Freeman came in during the days of Bobby Cox and was part of a young, successful group that included Jayson Heyward and Andrelton Simmons, and it looked as though the future was brighter than ever for the Braves after their legendary Chipper Jones retired. Fast forward several years and Freeman is the only young position player left from that group on the Braves roster as they struggle during their rebuilding phase, and a player the caliber of Freeman isn’t getting any younger, and deserves to be in the hunt for playoff success, as he has proven to be quite a clutch player in big spots over the years. The Braves rebuilding process will be long and arduous, beginning with former #1 pick Dansby Swanson, and a player like Freeman who will be a veteran before it pays off, if it ever does, and should be playing first base on a championship contender as his defense is often near the top in the NL, and when surrounded by championship players he rises to the occasion and hits better than most.
7 Giancarlo Stanton
Even after signing a 13 year deal worth over $300 million, it is clear that a player of Stantons all around ability is meant for a more important role in the MLB, rather than wasting away in a slowly improving yet never achieving Marlins team which hasn’t tasted success in over a decade. Much like Fernandez, Stanton has experienced personal success down in Florida, but could be a cornerstone to a successful franchise if he was with a different team, one which knows how to build around such a talented, powerful hitter. This one is less likely to happen due to the huge contract he signed, as it is unlikely the Marlins will try to unload him any time soon, but as the success drought continues, a player of his age and caliber will no doubt grow frustrated and want out of Miami, and when he does, it will be best for all involved.
5 Miguel Cabrera
Long considered the best hitter in baseball, Cabrera has recently been taken over by younger players like Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, but still remains an effect corner stone to a franchise, and a frightening all around hitter. While his Tigers may not be at the level they were in the early 2010’s when they were playoff regulars, Cabrera continues to hit for average and power, and with Justin Upton and Victor Martinez hitting behind him, he continues to drive in runs at a healthy level, which would make him a perfect fit for any MLB team, but should be on an AL contender to DH as his defense isn’t anything but average. A player with his level of experience and professionalism in a league where many players face off the field problems and drug suspensions, Cabrera deserves one last chance at Championship glory, as he hasn’t won a World Series since his time as a rookie way back for the Florida Marlins.
3 Nolan Arenado
While Arenado’s jaw dropping numbers may be helped by playing in hitter friendly Coors Park, there is no doubt he is the most talented third basemen in the National League, and deserves to be playing on a Championship team, where he would no doubt slot right into the heart of an order. With other power hitters like Trevor Story and Carlos Gonzalez in the line up around him, Arenado has proven to be one of the better all around hitters in baseball, and has been the heavy favorite for Gold Glove at his position ever since his debut, and while he may wait until free agency to leave, the thought of him leaving after his contract is up must tempt the Rockies into a trade situation, as he could be the future of any franchise, and one which serious playoff success can be built around.
1 Mike Trout
Undoubtedly the best player in baseball, Trout recently signed a huge deal to keep him in LA with the team that drafted him, but all this individual success and money isn’t essentially going to amount to team success, and if that is the goal of Trout, he will have to find a new home. The Angels pitching staff has been less than stellar in his time there, and his only protection in the line up, Albert Pujols is getting older and less effective, meaning more responsibility lay on the shoulders of the 24 year old, and in his time in LA, he won’t be able to carry the Angels to team success on his own. While Trout has a decade at least left in his career where he can go after Championships, injuries and other tragedies on the field can occur, which means he should seek to maximize championship and earning potential in his prime, the next 3-4 years, and this could be done on a team such as the Giants, the Yankees, Mets or any other contending team with a good rotation and solid organization.
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