A lot of things happened in terms of player movement during the 2018 MLB season, and with the Boston Red Sox having won it all at this year's World Series, it's time to look back at the year that was and examine each team's roster.
This offseason has already seen some major moves, such as the Mariners and Mets engaging in a massive trade involving Robinson Cano, as well as the Diamondbacks sending Paul Goldschmidt to the St. Louis Cardinals. But we still have to see some of the major dominoes fall this winter in terms of player movement.
Indeed, aside from players moving around, there should be some players whom you may feel don't deserve to be starting for their respective teams. Just who are these players, and why shouldn't they be starting once the new season begins next year?
This is a common thought through the brains of MLB fans everywhere. We all have that one player (or even several) that we cannot stand being penciled into the starting lineup every single night. We all wonder what it is about that certain player or two that makes them worthy of starting every single night. You also have to wonder about pitchers that still find themselves toeing the rubber every fifth day. This list takes a look at all positions, infield, outfield, and pitching and certain players that should maybe take a seat on the bench. Let's get right to it! Let's look at 7 MLB pitchers, 7 infielders, and 7 outfielders who shouldn't be starters.
21 Pitcher: Jose Urena - Miami Marlins
The Miami Marlins are in desperate need of a talent boost in order to turn themselves around. They lost seemingly all of their talents last off-season in one way or another and they now are relying on young guys to take over that load. One guy that was hopeful to take another step in the right direction was pitcher Jose Urena. He was 14-7 in 2017 and looked to improve upon that in 2018. He took a step backward instead.
In 2018, Urena went 9-12 with a 3.98 ERA and was 2-10 with an ERA flirting with the 5.00 mark before the trade deadline. The problem is that Urena's ERA has always been high since he arrived in 2015. Maybe some time in the bullpen can do him some good.
20 Infielder: Justin Bour - Philadelphia Phillies
One of the only pieces that the Marlins seemed to keep for a while was lefty-hitting first baseman Justin Bour, who was later traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. Bour is your prototypical big left-handed hitter that is supposed to scare pitchers at the plate. The only thing he is scaring away is Phillies (and previously, Marlins) fans from coming to the games. After hitting 19 home runs but hitting just .227 before the trade, Bour had just one homer and hit .224 in 49 at-bats for Philadelphia. The bottom line is this former Marlins starter should remain on the bench and focus on being a left-handed pinch hitter option.
19 Outfielder: Enrique Hernandez - L.A. Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers went all the way to the World Series before falling short against the Boston Red Sox, and their midseason trade for Manny Machado paid dividends for the team. However, Enrique Hernandez did not really help their cause in the regular season, even if he played better as the season went on. Hernandez went .256 at the plate with 21 home runs and 52 RBIs. Hernandez also had a .336 OBP average for the season, which isn't helping his cause to remain a starter either.
If the Dodgers know what is best for them, they will remove Enrique Hernandez from the starting lineup in 2019 if they want to win the World Series the next time around.
18 Pitcher: Jakob Junis - Kansas City Royals
The Kansas City Royals have seen themselves start at the bottom, get all the way to the top, and end up right at the bottom with a cellar dwelling 58-104 record. The Royals are likely to struggle next year and might be looking to make some changes to their roster. One change the Royals should think about making is taking Jakob Junis out of the rotation. Junis finished the 2018 season with a 9-12 record and a 4.37 ERA. He also had a 4.30 ERA last season for the Royals. The only difference last year was that he was 9-3, which is surprising to think about. Junis might be better off coming out of the bullpen going forward.
17 Infielder: Ian Kinsler - Boston Red Sox
The Los Angeles Angels wanted to make themselves serious contenders in the American League West. They added pieces like Shohei Otani and Justin Upton. They also added Ian Kinsler. Kinsler was one of the most prolific leadoff hitters in the MLB at one time. He signed with the Angels in 2018 and later joined the Boston Red Sox, where he helped them in their World Series win. All in all, he hit just .240, with 14 home runs and 48 RBIs combined across both teams. Kinsler is 36 and a shadow of his old self, and the Red Sox might want to consider finding themselves another second baseman for the future.
16 Outfielder: Brett Gardner - New York Yankees
One of the longest-tenured Yankees could see his time in pinstripes coming to an end. Brett Gardner has seen himself in a Yankees uniform since the 2008 season. He is one of the few guys in the MLB to be with the same team for the duration of his career. The end is near, though, as he hit just 12 home runs and had just 45 RBIs, with a .236 batting average. That is the lowest he has hit since his first season in New York when he only hit .228. With guys like Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Aaron Hicks in the lineup, the Yankees can very easily let Gardner go and definitely get him out of the lineup
15 Pitcher: James Shields
When the Tampa Bay Rays had their few good years which included an appearance in the 2008 World Series, they had the better days of James Shields with them. Shields garnered the nickname "Big Game James" as he was known to come up big in critical games. Shields pretty much wasted space in the Chicago White Sox rotation. He hasn't had a winning season since 2015 and he has not done that much better in 2018. He had a 7-16 record with a laughable 4.53 ERA in 2018, and now that the White Sox chose not to bring him back, he doesn't look like someone who belongs on anybody's rotation.
14 Infielder: Rafael Devers - Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox won the 2018 World Series, and it was in no small part because they have two of the best hitters in the game in Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez. They also have one of the best pitchers in the game in Chris Sale. One thing they can do to improve their chances is having Rafael Devers out of the starting lineup. He hit for 21 home runs and 66 RBIs, but also hit just .240 in the 2018 season. He also is a liability at third base. A trade or a replacement like Brock Holt would be better than Devers.
13 Outfielder: Alex Gordon - Kansas City Royals
Alex Gordon was one of the key pieces to the Royals World Series title in 2015. Now it is getting to the point where he shouldn't be in the starting lineup. Playing for a team that won just 58 games, Gordon hit 13 home runs and 54 RBIs and batted just .245. It is quite a shame that he isn't the same guy that he was a few seasons ago. He was a three-time All-Star from 2013-2015, so it isn't like Gordon has always been this bad for the Royals. The Royals might want to bench Gordon or see if there is any team that will take him and get a prospect or two in return.
12 Pitcher: Tanner Roark - Washington Nationals
The Washington Nationals are in their last season where they realistically have a chance to win the World Series. Bryce Harper will be gone and will leave a big hole in their lineup. One guy in their pitching rotation that should not be a starter by any means is Tanner Roark. As of July, he had already lost 12 games, which broke the record for the most in his career. He wound up finishing with a 4.34 ERA and a 9-15 record this year and had a 4.67 ERA last season. If the Nationals want any chance to contend next year, especially after losing some key pieces, Roark has to be out of their starting rotation.
11 Infielder: Joey Gallo - Texas Rangers
This next big slugging first baseman looks to be another example of a player similar to Justin Bour. Gallo is a hard-swinging lefty that is an all-or-nothing hitter. He proved that last season when he hit 41 home runs, and only hit .210 on the season. This season wasn't any different as he was hitting .206 with 40 home runs and 92 RBIs. It is very simple; Gallo strikes out way too much, and that was evident this season, as he ended up striking out a whopping 207 times. Gallo should be a pinch hit option at the end of the game if an extra base hit is badly needed and out of the lineup otherwise.
10 Outfielder: Adam Duvall
The Atlanta Braves are hoping to take the next step in 2019 after surprising many people with a NL East title in 2018. Signs of a decline for Adam Duvall were evident even before the Braves picked him up in a trade from Cincinnati.
One of the dead spots that the Reds had in their 67-95 campaign was the veteran outfielder. Duvall was an All-Star in 2016 and he hasn't been the same since. After hitting just .205 in Cincinnati, Duvall moved to the Braves before the trade deadline and hit .132 in 53 at-bats off the bench. Duvall could still very well get to 30 home runs on the season, but the batting average is not looking good at all. Adam Duvall should remain out of the starting lineup once the 2019 season begins.
9 Pitcher: Alex Cobb (Baltimore Orioles)
The Baltimore Orioles thought they were getting a steal for their starting rotation when they signed Alex Cobb in the 2018 offseason. Cobb had a decent year for the Rays in 2017 when he went 12-10 with a 3.66 ERA. The Orioles figured they would get a guy that could go deep into games and win for them. They were wrong there, as Cobb went 5-15 with a 4.90 ERA, which was unexpected, to say the least. The Orioles were just a huge disappointment as a whole. But Cobb has not been holding up his part to help the cause either. Some bullpen time might do Cobb some good.
8 Infielder: Alcides Escobar - Kansas City Royals
Alcides Escobar is another player in this list who was allowed to walk in free agency after a poor 2018. With the Royals in 2018, "Esky" hit .236 with four home runs and 34 RBIs. He was an All-Star for Kansas City in 2015 when the Royals put it all together to win it all. Like we said before, the Royals are just unbearable to watch and far away from their winning years they had in 2014 (even though they lost in the World Series) and in 2015. He is consistent as he has played 162 games in each of his last two seasons prior to 2018. Other than that, Escobar should be sitting down.
7 Outfielder: Jackie Bradley Jr. - Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox have one of the best outfields in all of baseball. But the weak link just might be Jackie Bradley Jr. The center fielder has made a reputation for himself as one of the best defensive center fielders in the MLB. But, Bradley has also made a name for himself as one of the streakiest hitters as well. When he is on, he helps the Red Sox lineup that much more. When he is off, he ends rallies faster than he can throw a ball to home plate from center field. Bradley hit just .234 for the World Series-winners, which is very low for him. Again, he's a defensive asset and was a hero in the Red Sox's playoff run, but he may be better off as a reserve.
6 Pitcher: Drew Pomeranz - Boston Red Sox
Besides their loaded offense, the Red Sox have a decent rotation and bullpen that have been key to their World Series win. With Chris Sale, David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Rick Porcello, they have been going deep into ballgames. One outlier in that otherwise great pitching staff was Drew Pomeranz. He had a great year in 2017 when he went 17-6 with a 3.32 ERA. This season, he battled injuries and went 2-6 with a 6.08 ERA.
The Red Sox just traded for right-hander Nathan Eovaldi midway through the 2018 season. Pomeranz, who recently became a free agent, may likely be better used as another team's reliever.
5 Infielder: Logan Morrison - Minnesota Twins
The Minnesota Twins looked to be one of the teams that could compete with the Indians in the American League Central and get past their Wild Card game loss to the Yankees last season. They decided to add power to their lineup by adding Logan Morrison from Tampa Bay. The problem is that Morrison wasn't putting up the numbers that the Twins were hoping for. This past year, he hit .186 with 15 home runs and 39 RBIs. He is another case of an "all or nothing" type of hitter. Morrison could easily be a pinch hitter off the bench if someone signs him in the offseason, as he is currently a free agent.
4 Outfielder: Billy Hamilton - Cincinnati Reds
The Reds already had one problem with Adam Duvall in their outfield before trading him. They might have another one in Billy Hamilton. Hamilton is known as a very dynamic player who can change the game with his legs. Last season, he had 34 stolen bases, which is impressive. But at the plate, he hit .236 with four home runs and 29 RBIs. Hamilton should only be a guy that comes off the bench as a defensive replacement or a pinch runner. The Reds already have enough problems as it is. But finding a minor league player to be an everyday starter over Hamilton might not be a bad idea.
3 Pitcher: Jason Hammel - Kansas City Royals
The Royals needed some pitching to get themselves back into prime contention for a World Series title. They thought that bringing in a guy like Jason Hammel last year would be a good move to help them out. It has been a failure and hasn't gotten any better, as the Royals clearly gave up on him and let him walk as a free agent. In 2018, he went 4-14 with a 6.02 ERA after going 8-13 with the Royals in 2017 with a 5.29 ERA. The bottom line is that Hammel cannot pitch in the AL. He would be better off in the National League where the batting lineups are considerably weaker. Anyone who signs him could also have him come out of the bullpen, so long as he is out of the rotation in some fashion.
2 Infielder: Chris Davis - Baltimore Orioles
The Baltimore Orioles might be stuck with one of the worst players in the MLB right now in Chris Davis. Everyone remembers Davis as being a big left-handed hitter that could knock the ball out of the ballpark at any given moment. Now, he seems lucky to make good contact or find himself on base. Davis had his worst offensive season thus far as he hit .168 with 16 home runs and 49 RBIs.
Davis was not much better in 2017 as he hit .215 with 26 home runs and 61 RBIs. Davis could see his playing days coming to an end. The Orioles should go with somebody younger instead of watching Chris Davis again go well below the Mendoza Line in 2019.
1 Outfielder: Delino DeShields - Texas Rangers
One of the fastest outfielders in the game without a question is Delino DeShields. He has not been a part of those Texas Rangers teams that almost won World Series titles in 2011 and 2012. But now, he is part of a Rangers team that won only 67 games in the 2018 season. And he didn't exactly deliver like a starting outfielder should. For the season, he hit a measly .216 with two home runs and 22 RBIs, but also had 20 stolen bases to his credit.
The bottom line is DeShields is not helping the Rangers try to catch the teams above them in the AL West. Maybe, being a guy off the bench can be exactly what DeShields and the Rangers need.