Major League Baseball’s regular season is an excruciating 162 games long, which doesn’t include the playoffs. During the dog days of the season, fatigue, injuries and slumps can all make a season even longer for players, teams and fans alike. The season is a grind, and can wear a player down mentally and physically. When this occurs, there are only so many options a team has when the season begins to negatively affect their players. Teams can just hope player rekindle their lost abilities, rest them, place them on the disabled list or send them down to the minors to work on their craft. If none of those options snap a player out of their funk, then talks of trading them or all out releasing them begin to circulate.
While fans may wish their team could just release every bad player, there are other factors to consider before outright dumping them. A player may have a long term deal, hoping to see the returns of a young prospect or a player could be experiencing a down year due to nagging injuries. Because of contracts, managerial decisions or faith in a player recovering from a down season, casually dumping bad players isn’t always possible.
That being said, there is a least one player that could realistically be on the chopping block for every team in the AL, and this article points them out. Most players on this list are on here because of their terrible Wins Above Replacement (WAR) stat, their batting line, (for batters), ERA (for pitchers), and the terms of their contract. Still, it’s not just about which player gets let go. Teams also need someone to take that player’s spot as well. In this article, we take a look at the players from each AL team that should be dumped, and who their replacement should be.
30 Baltimore Orioles: Chris Davis (Out)
Chris Davis was one of the best power hitters in the League, hitting a league leading 53 home runs in 2013 and a league leading 47 homers in 2015. Davis retained much of his power, but he slowly began slipping in batting average.
Now, Davis’ average has dropped even further, and the tremendous power numbers have also diminished.
Baltimore could live with the mounting strikeouts if Davis could give them 30 homers, but now, in 2018, Davis may end up having the worst season of any player in MLB history with a WAR of -1.9.
29 Replacement: Mike Moustakas
Mike Moustakas didn’t have many offers after the 2017 season, and “Moose” returned to the Royals after signing a one-year contract. Moustakas has since been traded to the Brewers and finds himself a free agent once again after 2018. Despite his struggles to stay healthy, Chris Davis is so bad that Moustakas is still a major improvement at first over “Crush” Davis.
Unlike Davis, Moustakas still has something left in the tank and some power in his bat. Moustakas isn’t going to break Baltimore’s bank due to his age and could provide some veteran knowledge to the young prospects that the Orioles really need.
28 Boston Red Sox: Eduardo Núñez
The Boston Red Sox had an issue at second base after starting the season without Dustin Pedroia because of an injury. Pedroia returned, but the injury still affected him, after going 1 for 11 in three games.
Despite Pedroia missing most of the season and a WAR in the negative, Eduardo Núñez found a way to be even worse. Núñez hits decently, but his WAR is a staggering -1.3. Núñez has a player option for 2019, but even with the question marks surrounding Pedroia, the Red Sox are unlikely to keep Núñez for next year.
27 Replacement: Ian Kinsler
The Red Sox knew they needed some help at second base, after Pedroia went down, and made the trade with the Angels for Ian Kinsler. Although the durable Kinsler found himself on the DL, he has been a considerable improvement over Núñez.
Kinsler could be a free agent after 2018, but with Pedroia’s injury possibly affecting his 2019 season, the Red Sox may be wise to keep him around.
After all, when healthy, Kinsler’s WAR is on the rise, he’s great defensively, he’s a tough out and has been hitting above .300 as a Red Sock.
26 Chicago White Sox: Trayce Thompson
The Chicago White Sox are having a rough 2018 and are in the process of rebuilding. However, one player is having a particularly bad 2018, and that’s Trayce Thompson. Thompson came up through the White Sox farm system and debuted in 2015. Thompson hit well for Chicago but saw his numbers plummet after being traded to the Dodgers.
The Oakland A’s claimed Thompson on waivers in 2018 only to be traded back to the White Sox. However, Thompson’s numbers from his first stint in Chicago didn’t return. Thompson was hitting about .100 with a WAR of -1.2 before being designated for assignment.
25 Replacement: José Bautista
While José Bautista, even at his best, isn’t going to give the White Sox a great season for next year, he could provide some veteran experience for the young prospects of the organization. Chicago still has about a year at the earliest for their top prospects to become major league ready. In the meantime, Bautista could at least give the White Sox fans something to watch during the rebuilding 2019 season.
José Bautista shouldn’t demand a lot of money after his struggles since leaving Toronto. However, if the White Sox sign “Joey Bats” to a short term deal, and he finds his swing again, the White Sox could have a nice piece to trad, getting even more major league ready players for the future.
24 Cleveland Indians: Josh Tomlin
Playing his entire career in Cleveland, Josh Tomlin was always an average starter for the club, posting a career ERA of 4.78. Tomlin was about to have a breakout year in 2015, posting an ERA around 3.00 but missed most of the season due to injury.
While 2016 and 2017 were much of the same, 2018 saw a new low for Tomlin with an ERA well above 6.00.
The Indians removed him from the rotation and with Tomlin’s contract up after the 2018 season, he’s likely on a new team for 2019.
23 Replacement: Patrick Corbin
Patrick Corbin isn’t one of the more well-known free-agents-to-be on the market, but he’s quietly having an excellent season with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Corbin’s ERA is barely above 3.00 and has a 10-5 record. Arizona would be completely foolish not to resign him, but if Corbin continues to pitch well in 2018, he may be looking at a big payday from a big market team.
Corbin would be an excellent addition to the Cleveland rotation along with Mike Clevinger and Corey Kluber. Corbin may ask for more money than Cleveland wants to spend, but if the Indians let Cody Allen and Andrew Miller walk, they may find room in their payroll to land Corbin and give themselves a solid rotation through 2019.
22 Detroit Tigers: Victor Martinez
Victor Martinez has had a solid career in Major League Baseball and has hit extremely well in seven seasons with the Tigers. Unfortunately, Martinez hasn’t had the best 2018, with his power numbers down and average slipping.
In 2018, Martinez is posting a WAR of -0.9 and just isn’t putting up the numbers that is expected of a designated hitter. Detroit should dump Martinez after this season, but it turns out they might not have to. In August, Martinez announced that the 2018 season will likely be his last, hinting at a possible retirement.
21 Replacement: Adrián Beltré
Despite the woes of the Texas Rangers, Adrián Beltré remains a positive influence on the team. Beltré is enjoying his time in Texas, despite their record, and his players are responding well to him. Beltré is still a great hitter and will likely go to a contender after 2018 so that he can finally win a ring. If not, Beltré is definitely the kind of player Detroit could use to replace Victor Martinez.
If Detroit is looking for a guy that can play third, DH and bring some much needed life to a young Tigers team, than Adrián Beltré is the guy to do it.
He may not win a ring with Detroit, but he’ll certainly bring some positive energy and a strong bat to Deroit's slumbering offense.
20 Houston Astros: J.D. Davis
Finding players on the reigning World Series champion Houston Astros team that should be dumped isn’t an easy task. Unfortunately, J.D. Davis stands out as one of these underperforming players. J.D. Davis has a career average under .200, and his 2018 season hasn’t brought it up. Davis is now showing a WAR of -0.6 with an abysmal average of just .174.
Despite making the opening day roster in 2018, Davis definitely needs to be dumped. The Astros have shuffled Yuli Gurriel and Alex Bregman around in the infield to get more offense, and have effectively lessened the need for Davis even further.
19 Replacement: Garrett Stubbs
While J.D. Davis has been underwhelming, so has Houston catcher Brian McCann. McCann is batting barely above .200 with less than ten homers in 2018. J.D. Davis definitely needs to be let go after 2018, but with Gurriel and Bregman assuming roles at third, the real replacement for Davis should be Garrett Stubbs.
Stubbs is in Houston's minor league system and has been tearing it up down in Fresno. With Gattis leaving after 2018, McCann struggling and third base seemingly under control, the Astros don’t need to do anything other than to bring Garrett Stubbs to the majors.
18 Kansas City Royals: Alcides Escobar
Kansas City were sellers this season and hoped to rebuild their team with trades of Mike Moustakas and Kelvin Herrera. Meanwhile, players like Alcides Escobar just aren’t getting the job done.
Escobar has been with the Royals since 2011, was a solid player and even won a ring with them. However, 2018 hasn’t been Escobar’s year.
For 2018, Escobar has a WAR of -1.0, a batting average that has slipped to the .220 mark and is posting one of his worst OPSs of his career. With Escobar a free agent after 2018, even the lowly Royals should avoid re-signing him.
17 Replacement: Asdrúbal Cabrera
It’s a pipe dream that the Royals will get Asdrúbal Cabrera, but he’d be a fine addition to the young club. He’s hovering around a .270 BA with over twenty homers this year and will be looking for a team during the offseason.
The Royals are hoping for major league ready players, but Kansas City, with Cabrera, could tread water until these prospects are brought up and ready to play. When these young players begin to click, similarly to the young Phillies team, they’ll have a much better shortstop in Cabrera than they would with Alcides Escobar.
16 Los Angeles Angels: Kole Calhoun
The Angels are in a tough spot, hovering around .500 and playing in the tough AL West. The Astros and A’s are getting better while Los Angeles has yet to move the needle. However, one big help would be shedding the dead weight of Kole Calhoun.
Calhoun’s 2018 start was a mess and a trip to the DL in June didn’t help. Despite coming around the second half, his batting average and OPS remain the lowest they’ve been since his rookie season. Calhoun signed a three-year deal with an option for 2020, but the Angels should definitely work a trade before Calhoun’s numbers return to normal and lessen his trade value.
15 Replacement: A.J. Pollock
The L.A. Angels were sellers in 2018 but haven’t completely overhauled their team. They still have Pujols (who’s out with injury), Justin Upton and of course Mike Trout. However, with right field a huge eye sore with Kole Calhoun, the Angels could really use A.J. Pollock.
Although this would force either Trout or Pollock to play right, getting a little more offense from the outfield would do the Angels some good.
Pollock still has a solid slugging percentage and can hit for a respectable average. If Pollock holds steady, he’ll have a nice WAR of around 2.0 as well.
14 Minnesota Twins: Ervin Santana
There may be worse players on the Minnesota Twins team, but it’s time to dump Ervin Santana. Even the Twins, who are in dire need of starting pitching, have no use for him. His start to the season was delayed thanks to an offseason surgery to his middle finger, and his return since hasn’t been a stellar one.
Santana has started only five games for the 2018 season and is winless with an ERA above 8.00. His WAR is below 0 and to make matter worse, he’s on the DL again. Despite having an option for 2019, Minnesota might need to let Santana walk.
13 Replacement: Trevor Cahill
While Minnesota should be going young looking to 2019, the Twins really need some pitching. With Santana disappointing, Minnesota should be eyeing Oakland’s Trevor Cahill.
Cahill is a free agent after this season, and, unlike Santana, Cahill is coming off a great 2018. He’s younger than Santana, his ERA is under 4.00, has a WAR nearing 2.0 and has a winning record. Small market Oakland will likely not re-sign Cahill but small market Minnesota still could, especially after shedding Santana, Brian Dozier, Eduardo Escobar, Lance Lynn and, potentially, Joe Mauer.
12 New York Yankees: Neil Walker
The New York Yankees managed to make the playoffs in 2018 despite a surging Red Sox team in front of them. However, the pinstripes certainly have a few areas that could use an upgrade. One in particular area is second base with Neil Walker.
Walker was expected to bring some more pop into the lineup but has a SLG roughly 100 points lower with the Yanks and a WAR below zero.
The Yankees have other disappointments, but second base is an easy fix after 2018.
11 Replacement: Gleyber Torres
With Neil Walker only signing for one year, there’s no reason to resign him after 2018. The Yankees already have a young stud that could be their everyday second basement to replace Neil Walker, and that’s Gleyber Torres.
Torres may be a rookie, but you wouldn’t know it seeing him play. Torres is hitting near .300, owns a WAR near 3.0 and has launched over 20 home runs. With Torres’ bright career just starting, Walker’s services are no longer required at second base, and his limited DH and pinch hitting contributions aren’t worth retaining.
10 Oakland Athletics: Dustin Fowler
Oakland has been a surprising team in the AL West, competing with the reigning champion Astros. However, Dustin Fowler has not been a contributing factor to their success.
Although Fowler’s career is in its infancy, he’s hitting in the low .200s with a WAR approaching -1.0. While Oakland’s outfield isn’t murderers' row, the Athletics seem to be doing just fine with their wide range of outfielders which, includes Stephen Piscotty, Chad Pinder and Ramón Laureano. Oakland may not be ready to give up on Fowler, and he’s still young, but he just hasn’t produced in the major leagues as he has in the minors.
9 Replacement: Andrew McCutchen
Even with the injuries and a mediocre trade deadline, the Oakland A’s are still in the thick of the playoff hunt. The Athletics are likely going to lose Trevor Cahill but could still be formidable in 2019. However, even with the A’s revolving door of outfielders, Oakland would be wise to sign an everyday centerfielder like Andrew McCutchen.
Oakland’s outfield has been sufficient, but they have room in their bank to sign a high caliber center fielder like “Cutch.”
McCutchen is definitely going to want to play for a contender, and Oakland can contend for several years if they play their cards right. Although McCutchen’s performance in New York has been lacking, he still holds a solid WAR for the year and can produce some pop that Oakland’s outfield lacks at the moment.
8 Seattle Mariners: Félix Hernandez
The Seattle Mariners have a good amount of disappointing players, despite holding their own in the competitive AL West. From Zack Duke to Guillermo Heredia, Seattle has some candidates to dump after 2018. However, no one takes the cake more than “King Félix.”
Félix Hernandez is looking very much like a peasant in 2018 with a WAR of -1.0 and an ERA above 5.00. With Hernandez moved from the starting rotation, to the bullpen, to the DL for the third season in a row, Seattle should consider a trade.
7 Replacement: Andrew Miller
The Mariners are a good team, but they need some pitching, both in the rotation and bullpen. Edwin Diaz has been sensational as the Mariners closer, leading the league in saves, but the rest of the bullpen is struggling. One way to solidify the backend of the bullpen would be to sign free agent Andrew Miller.
Miller has slipped a little bit in 2018, spending some time on the DL, but he still holds an ERA in the mid-3.00s and has an outstanding post season ERA. If the Mariners’ rotation continues to play surprisingly well, and they sign Miller to help out Diaz, Seattle could be a dangerous team next season.
6 Tampa Bay Rays: Carlos Gomez
The Tampa Bay Rays are a very young team, but they’re holding their own in a tough division that includes the Red Sox and Yankees. However, out of all the Rays players, it’s the veteran Carlos Gomez whom they should discard.
Gomez brings a veteran presence to the Tampa Bay team, but he’s only hitting .219 and, excluding 2017, has seen his OPS in decline.
Gomez is a free agent after this season, but with Tampa’s thriving farm system, there’s no need to re-sign Gomez especially with Tommy Pham returning for 2019.
5 Replacement: Brandon Lowe
As stated earlier, Tampa Bay is a young team with a farm system full of prospects. One of Tampa Bay’s top prospects, Brandon Lowe, would make a fine replacement for Carlos Gomez.
Lowe can play in left field or second base and is major league ready. He’s hitting over .250 and has an OPS over .800 in just 80 plate appearances. There is a lot more upside to a young Brandon Lowe, and he is more than capable to fill-in for Gomez after the 2018 season.
4 Texas Rangers: Eddie Butler
The Chicago Cubs got an absolute steal of a trade sending Rollie Lacy, Alexander Ovalles and Eddie Butler to Texas for Cole Hamels. While Butler showed signs of life as a Cub, his career ERA is nearing 6.00, and his time in Texas hasn’t made it any better.
This season, Butler has an ERA over 7.00 and a losing record with the Rangers. He has a WAR nearing -1.0 and has given up 10 home runs in only 27 innings pitched. Butler’s experiment to the bullpen clearly hasn’t worked out, but Texas can still replace him with better relievers all while staying young as well.
3 Replacement: Kelvin Herrera
The Washington Nationals tried to prop up their bullpen when they thought they were still in the playoff hunt with the trade for Kelvin Herrera. Unfortunately, the Nationals are out of it, Herrera wasn’t effective, and he’s out for the season after surgery to his foot.
Herrera is a free agent after 2018 and, when healthy, will be a key piece for any team’s bullpen in 2019.
Despite having a rough time in Washington, Herrera still posted an ERA of 2.44 for the year and has a career ERA under 3.00. Herrera would be an excellent choice to replenish Texas either in relief or as a closer.
2 Toronto Blue Jays: Yangervis Solarte
The Toronto Blue Jays had a horrible season, making it difficult to find just one player to dump after 2019. They’ve already dumped an unproductive Jaime Garcia, meanwhile they're stuck with the equally subpar Ken Giles. Realistically, if Toronto were to dump anyone that they haven’t dumped or traded away already, it’d have to be Yangervis Solarte.
Solarte, who could be a free agent after 2018, had a career low season in batting average and on base percentage, with a WAR below 0 as well. Not to pick on Solarte, because he’s not the worst player on the team, but with prospects on the way, Solarte's time to go is now.
1 Replacement: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Toronto's mid-season trades were a bit of a head scratcher. The Jays didn’t get much for J.A. Happ, and Osuna is pitching great for Houston. Even more bizarre is the Brandon Drury trade. Drury and Solarte are essentially keeping the seat warm for top prospects Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., but why trade for Drury if he's just going to be in the way? At least Solarte could be gone after 2018, Drury isn’t going away anytime soon.
Although Drury will remain on the team, he'll probably still be pushed aside once Guerrero and Gurriel arrive. Guerrero is posting sick numbers in the minors and could potentially be ready now, while Gurriel isn't far behind. If Toronto is wise, they'll make sure Drury and Solarte aren't in the way of their highly touted prospects.