Professional athletes have as little job security as it gets. Major League Baseball is no different. The following are some guys I think are in trouble of losing their job in the next month, be it in the starting lineup, the rotation, or the closer role.
Robert Andino – Orioles – 2B/SS
Stats through June 1: .250 Avg, 19 Runs, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 2 SB
After a hot start to the season that saw Andino picked up in tons of leagues, he’s cooled off considerably. He’s been a capable fill-in for Brian Roberts at second base, but Roberts seems to finally be on the verge of returning from the concussion that’s kept him sidelined more than a year. He’s currently on a rehab assignment and is expected back in mid-June, leaving Andino nowhere to play.
Rick Ankiel – Nationals – OF
Stats through June 1: .230 Avg, 13 Runs, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 1 SB
The man with the best outfield arm in my lifetime stands to lose most of his playing time when Mike Morse makes his season debut on Saturday. Bryce Harper has proved capable of playing center at the big league level, and Steve Lombardozzi has cemented himself in the leadoff spot and in left field. Ankiel will probably be mostly a 4th outfielder/defensive replacement now.
J.P. Arencibia – Blue Jays – C
Stats through June 1: .234 Avg, 21 Runs, 9 HR, 29 RBI, 1 SB
Why is a catcher with 9 home runs through the first 2 months of the season in danger of losing his job? Two reasons. First, his abysmal .265 OBP for the season and .273 for his career. Second, the top catching prospect in the game, Travis d’Arnaud, is absolutely mashing in AAA. He has 12 home runs already to go along with an eye-popping .330/.385/.598 line, and has nothing left to prove in the minors. Arencibia would still get some at-bats at DH and as the backup catcher, but probably only about half of what he’s getting now.
Coco Crisp – Athletics – OF
Stats through June 1: .173 Avg, 6 Runs, 0 HR, 6 RBI, 7 SB
The A’s aren’t going anywhere this year. But even so, they can’t abide what Crisp is doing this season. At some point, Seth Smith will have to start playing every day in left field.
Ike Davis – Mets – OF
Stats through June 1: .167 Avg, 13 Runs, 5 HR, 21 RBI, 0 SB
This may be a lost year for Davis, as it looks like the Valley Fever he suffered during spring training has sapped him of a lot of his strength. With the Mets looking like surprise contenders this season, they’re not going to let Davis continue to not hit at the big league level for long. When Jason Bay comes back from the DL next week, the Mets could solve their crowded outfield problem by moving Torres to right, Duda to first, and Davis to the minors. Ike still has a promising career ahead of him once he can prove he has all his strength back.
Nick Hundley – Padres – C
Stats through June 1: .166 Avg, 9 Runs, 3 HR, 17 RBI, 0 SB
The Padres called up one of their top prospects, catcher Yasmani Grandal, on Friday. They certainly didn’t do it so could sit on the bench. It’s pretty much guaranteed he’s now the starting catcher in San Diego. Grandal hitting well in the minors wasn’t the only reason for his call up though, as Nick Hundley has been dreadful all season.
Ubaldo Jimenez – Indians – SP
Stats through June 1: 5 W, 33 K, 5.79 ERA, 1.79 WHIP
It’s time to face the fact that this is not the same Ubaldo Jimenez anymore. The average velocity on his fastball is down 4 mph (seriously) since his breakout 2010 season. He’s also striking out less than 6 batters and walking more than 6 batters per 9 innings. With the Indians having a real chance at competing this season, it’s only a matter of time before they cut their losses. Zach McAllister would likely replace him when this happens.
Mike Minor – Braves – SP
Stats through June 1: 2 W, 51 K, 6.98 ERA, 1.47 WHIP
Kris Medlen was sent down to the minors for the sole purpose of stretching out to be a starter. Minor has pitched really poorly this season. This one’s a no-brainer. Medlen will make 3 starts in the minors before joining the big league rotation, so that’s as many as Minor has left.
Joe Saunders – Diamondbacks – SP
Stats through June 1: 3 W, 41 K, 3.61 ERA, 1.30 WHIP
Trevor Bauer is ready to explode onto the scene. But someone must be moved to the bullpen when he’s called up, which will almost certainly be this month. A month ago, it would have been pretty obvious that person would be Wade Miley. But Miley’s been awesome ever since being moved to the rotation, while Saunders has struggled mightily with a 6.12 ERA in May. The 30-year-old Saunders doesn’t have nearly as much upside anyway, and will probably be drawing the short straw upon Bauer’s ascension.
Miguel Olivo – Mariners – C
Stats through June 1: .200 Avg, 10 Runs, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 1 SB
Miguel Olivo is the worst defensive catcher in baseball. He has been for a few years now. This has been somewhat tolerated due to his above average power for a catcher. But his already awful on-base skills have only gotten worse (down to just .216 this season), and his power seems to be evaporating as well. The Mariners have a more-than-capable John Jaso already on the roster, with Jesus Montero as the backup when he’s not DHing. Jaso’s been playing well and will probably be the de facto starting catcher before long. While Olivo shouldn’t even be on a major league roster.
Alfonso Soriano – Cubs – OF
Stats through June 1: .267 Avg, 14 Runs, 8 HR, 31 RBI, 1 SB
Cubs manager Dale Sveum has said that Anthony Rizzo will more than likely be called up within the next few weeks. While it’s possible that Bryan LaHair will lose some playing time as a result, the more likely scenario is the long-overdue benching of Soriano, with Rizzo taking over left field. At this point in his career, I think Soriano’s best suited for hitting the occasional home run as a pinch hitter. But there’s also the possibility that Soriano and LaHair will be platooned, with Soriano losing more at-bats, being the righty.