As we have seen in the past, sometimes a player can be bogged down by a particular team, and see their once high level production turn into a prolonged slump. Players such as Travis d’Arnaud with the New York Mets, getting released in 2019, and then almost instantly turning into a top tier catcher for the Tampa Bay Rays and Atlanta Braves. Funny things like this happen constantly, as sometimes all it takes is one transaction to get your career back on tracks.
Today I will be looking at one such player from each team, that I think would most likely benefit from a change to a new team, and see a rise or return of their production.
I mean, it cant get much worse can it? From 2012-2016, there might have not been a better home run hitter than Davis, as he averaged 39 home runs a year, and led the American League in home runs two times. In that span he received two top 15 MVP finishes and was the beast in the middle of the Orioles lineup. Well since then, Davis has been far alone the worst player in the big’s, not hitting above .180 in the last three seasons and seeing his production completely fall off the cliff. After signing his huge contract in 2016, for seven years and 161 million dollars, Davis will not be a free agent until 2023, so if the Orioles do want to get rid of him (which they do), they would have to eat basically the entire contract if a team was willing to take a chance on him. But I believe if you get Chris Davis out of Baltimore, he will become a better player, while not the same player that put together a 53 home run season in 2013, but much more respectful than the one we have seen the last three seasons.
New York Yankees
This was a difficult choice between Andujar and Clint Frazier, but with Frazier likely headed toward receiving more playing time in 2021, and Andujar posting back to back dreadful seasons in limited time due to injury and being blocked at third base by Gio Urshela, Andujar was the clear choice. Andujar who is only 25 years old, will likely be a large trade chip, as it was only two seasons ago he had a slash line of: . .297/.328/.527 with an .855 OPS. Andujar desperately needs to find his way out of the Bronx, as he will only see his playing time diminish more as everyone on the team returns to being healthy, and for a young player with a good deal of talent, that is not a good situation to be in.
Tampa Bay Rays
While there already are rumors to Blake Snell being moved, to a couple different teams (Toronto and Seattle currently being the favorites) Snell does not really fit the mold of a player in need of a change of scenery because of the drop of his production. Snell is coming off of a stellar 2020, in which he pitched to a 3.24 ERA with a 131 ERA+, but the sour taste of Kevin Cash’s move in the World Series likely will lead to Snell’s departure. He will be a great fit for basically any team, and will likely net the Rays back some young studs, to continue with their ways of winning trades and building a young core.
Boston Red Sox
The 26 year old Benintendi is coming off a horrendous 2020 season, which saw him barely hit above .100 (at .103) and every single one of his stats was pointing towards the fact he was lost at the plate. Not since 2018 have we seen a Benintendi that was at least an above average player, and I think with the Red Sox exploring the free agent outfielder market, and the rise of Alex Verdugo, that Benintendi should have a legitimate chance of ending up on a different team in 2021, which for his sake I believe is a good thing.
Toronto Blue Jays
The guy that got caught having a little too much fun in his car in a public parking lot? Yeah that guy. One thing that McGuire can really beat, is a baseball, as his first two seasons he looked like the catcher of the future, putting together back to back seasons of .870 or higher OPS. Last year he looked lost in his 45 plate appearances, hitting .073/.073/.146 and struggling to get any footing in the short season. I believe McGuire is better than a back up catcher to a fellow young catcher, and he will get his career off the ground if he gets moved to a different club in need of catching, and gets an opportunity to get consistent AB’s, and if he can stay away from public masterbation that would be a plus too.
The pitcher that for some reason teams have been enamored with for the past three seasons, constantly being the talk of trade rumors, even though his career ERA has hovered around 5.00. Boyd has definitely shown flashes of being an above average pitcher in his career, but if that day comes, it likely wont come as a Detroit Tiger. After a putrid 2020 in which he posted a 6.71 ERA and led the American League in losses, the Tigers need to find some value for Boyd and ship him somewhere else, and I believe if that happens, we will see Boyd take the shape of a solid number 3-4 starter elsewhere.
Kansas City Royals
It is hard to believe that Duffy has already been pitching for the Royals for 10 seasons, which makes it a little less likely that he will be traded, but his name has surfaced a few times in the past couple seasons, which makes you believe that the likelihood of him being shipped out of Kansas City is a possibility. I believe there is a better pitcher in Duffy than the one that has posted an average 4.72 ERA in the last three seasons combined, and it would take playing for a different team with a different pitching coach to find that guy. Entering his age 32 season, teams should be picking up the phone and calling Kansas City to try to buy low on a reliable left handed starter that could be a huge addition with the right coaching staff.
I know what youre thinking, who the hell is this guy, well this would be a left handed reliever on the Twins AAA team who has pitched extremely well, but has gotten not legitimate chances on their major league roster. In 2018, Vazquez pitched to a 1.30 ERA in three different levels, ranging from High A all the way to AAA, and was rewarded with five innings at the major league level. The following season he struggled in three different levels, eventually finding himself pitching games at rookie ball at the end of the season. Vazquez is definitely not a move that would garner much attention, but with a career minor league ERA of 2.51, he has proven enough at the minor league level, for a team to take an opportunity on him, and give him a legitimate chance at the major league level.
Chicago White Sox
While it has only been one year with the White Sox, Cishek’s 2020 season was a bad one, for a pitcher who has never seen his ERA go above 3.58 for a season, his 2020 ERA was 5.40. Cishek has been one of the more undervalued and underappreciated relievers for the last 11 years in the big leagues, posting a 2.78 ERA, and is 160th all time for relievers in WAR, ahead of the likes of Eric Gagne, Al Hrabosky and Wade Davis. Cishek would be a perfect fit to return to the team that drafted him in 2007, and the one her spent the first six seasons of his career with, in the Miami Marlins, as they need relief pitching, and he is obviously comfortable there.
This one’s a bit surprising, with Lindor not having a bad season in tenure with the club, but with all the trade rumors circling around his head, and impending free agency coming after the 2021 season, i think it would be in the best interest on Lindor and the Indians to find a trade for the star shortstop now, rather than let the season play out. If Lindor does play for the Indians in this coming season, the team risks the chances of either him, declining and losing a bit of trade value or an injury risk, that could really damage any chances of the team getting anything back for him. Lindor is a star, but I believe in the right city with the right team, he can become an MVP.
Our second “Chris/Khris” of the list, what an accomplishment. If theres one thing you can count of Davis for, is hitting .247 and putting up gaudy home run numbers. Well that was true before 2019 and 2020, where he regressed significantly, but there is still plenty of talent, to be enticed by. Davis found himself a solid home in Oakland, but I believe moving forward, he would benefit from finding a new team, which might be unlikely, as he is headed towards free agency at the end of 2021.
With all the negativity swirling around the Houston Astros after their cheating scandal was exposed (rightfully so), basically all of their offensive players would fit into this category of improving if they left Houston. Correa might be the most talented of the bunch outside of Bregman, who is still hitting well, and he would be a large trade chip for a team in need for young prospects to get this label of cheaters off their heads.
Gallo showed a flash of stardom in 2019, when he was named to his fist all-star team, and then having a season ending injury. Fast forward to 2020, and he had a career worst season in which he has a .679 OPS and reached base at a .301 rate. Gallo will never be a high batting average hitter, but he will put up power numbers where ever he goes, and with the Rangers heading towards a lukewarm rebuild, it is likely the protection around Gallo will be limited, which spells trouble for a player who is unable to carry the offense load on his back. A team with pieces on the offensive side that can surround Gallo with talent, would allow him to post numbers closer to his 2018 output.
Los Angeles Angels
Isn’t it weird to think that Justin Upton only three years ago won a silver slugger, was an all-star and garnered a 16th place finish in the MVP voting? This season led to 5 year 106 million dollar free agent signing with the Angels, and his time in Anaheim hasnt gone exactly smooth. Averaging a .748 OPS in his three seasons with the club, he has been regarded as a big disappointment with the club. Being only 33, there is a real possibility that all Upton needs is to get a fresh start somewhere else, and he will see his production rise once again.
This is coming off the news that Mitch Haniger and the Mariners avoided arbitration yesterday afternoon. The 29 year old outfielder has had only one full season of playing time due to abnormal injury, but in that one season in 2018, Haniger was one of the best players in baseball, finishing 11th in MVP voting. Seattle currently is in the process of bringing up their young prospects and attempting to complete the rebuild, but it is likely to take a few seasons before they are ready to contend, and Haniger would be better suited elsewhere during this time, and possibly that 2018 Haniger will come out once again and be a star.
The key piece that brought Christian Yelich to Milwaukee, has been, well, extremely bad as a major leaguer. So far in his four seasons in the majors, he has been worth a total of -3.3 WAR, and 2020 was the first time he had hit above .200 in the big leagues (at .226 in 2020). Maybe he was overhyped, or scouted incorrectly, but at this point his trade value is low, and the team is unlikely to do anything but keep giving him chances. But moving forward, I believe that maybe, just maybe, in the right team, Brinson could develop into a serviceable major leaguer. He is still only 26, so time will tell.
This was a tough call between Newcomb and Johan Camargo, but I eventually decided on Newcomb. The 6’5 left handed pitcher transitioned to the bullpen in 2019, after having some trouble with command in the previous two seasons, and it was seen as a success, pitching to a 3.16 ERA. In 2020, it was a different story, pitching to a 11.20 ERA in limited innings, and it is likely going into 2021, that Newcomb will see his role decline even more. There’s a serviceable pitcher in there somewhere, it just might take a new team to find it.
The Nationals outfielder does not lack talent, he just is blocked by two young studs, and the likelihood of the front office going out and getting an every day outfielder in free agency is growing more and more likely every day. Stevenson showed he has the capability of playing at this level last season in limited playing time, having a ridiculous 1.179 OPS. If Stevenson does not get an opportunity for more consistent AB’s in 2021, he would benefit immensely from a change of scenery.
While as a human being, he is more garbage than the New York Jets, as a baseball player and baseball player alone, he was a pretty good one. Now the likelihood of a team taking on Herrera after the incident involving domestic abuse with his girlfriend in Atlantic City is highly unlikely. If things eventually get smoothed over (which might be unlikely) Herrera could be a very good fit for a good deal of teams in the majors.
New York Mets
The Mets fan really hate this guy, and i’m not entirely sure why. After finishing 6th in ROTY voting in 2016, Matz has had a good season (3.97 ERA) an average season (4.21 ERA) and two bad seasons (6.08 in 2017, 9.68 in 2020). It is pretty obvious if you watch Mets games, that Matz has a good deal of talent, but just lacks any form of consistency, which can be frightening if you are the GM of a team and looking for reliable pitching. I believe once again, it has to be a perfect match, but Matz can be a solid third option in the rotation for the right team.
St. Louis Cardinals
The lifelong Cardinals, Carpenter has spent the last 10 season with the big league club, and has been a steady left handed hitting bat in their lineup. In the last two season though, Carpenter has taken a big step back, going from averaging a .848 OPS in his first seven full seasons with the club, to averaging a .683 OPS the last two seasons. Carpenter at this point in his career likely is just a DH, so pending on the universal DH voting, an American League team should be interested in the 35 year old, and getting him away from the only team he has known.
While the slick fielding shortstop has never been known for gaudy offensive stats (having a career average OPS+ of 73) I believe Arcia would benefit strongly from playing for a new team. He has shown flashes of power, which from a shortstop is a huge plus, and has never had a significant problem with striking out, only reaching the 100 strikeout mark twice in his career.
Bryant will always bee loved by Cubs fan, the man who helped them bring home their first title in 108 years, and also winning the National League MVP in the same season, but it is likely the sun is setting on his time in Chicago, and its for the best. Last season was a tough one for a star player like Bryant to have to go through, finishing with a .644 OPS, easily the lowest of his career by almost .200 points. Bryant will rebound if he leaves Chicago which is growing more and more likely as the days go on.
Honestly, anyone established playing for the Pirates currently could make this list, because god, they are just so bad. Joe Musgrove might be one of the handful of respectful pitchers left on the staff (along with underrated Steven Brault), with a career ERA hovering around 4.30. Musgrove had a great 2020, that saw his strikeout numbers increase, and his ERA+ reach a career high. Musgrove will only get even better if he enters a winning atmosphere some place else.
Is it too early to say Aquino needs to find a new home? I mean he only has played one full season, and after tearing up the league in 2019, he found himself left off the roster in 2020 for most of the season. Withh the Reds having a surplus of outfielders needing consistent AB’s (Senzel, Winker, Castellanos, Akiyama) Aquino could possibly be the odd man out moving forward. If that is the case, he will find a great deal of success outside of Cincinnati.
San Diego Padres
Lucchesi came up in 2018, and had a solid rookie season, followed by another decent 2019, but in just 5.2 innings, the Padres removed him from their 26 man roster during the season. With the rise of Dinelson Lamet, Chris Paddack and Zach Davies and the soon to be young prospects such as Luis Patino, Adrian Morejon and MacKenzie Gore coming up soon, Lucchesi might be left without any innings. He would benefit from being moved, and a team would get a funky left handed starter with the ability to progress moving forward.
Brother of C.J. Cron, Kevin has hit at every minor league level he has been at, the highlight being a 36 home run .921 OPS season in AAA in 2019, which led to his call up in the same season. At the major league level, Cron has struggled to hit anywhere close to that level in 98 plate appearances. With Christian Walker blocking his path to the big leagues at first base, Cron would be better suited going into his age 28 season, to find a new home, and the team that gets him, I predict will be very happy with the results.
San Francisco Giants
The soon to be 35 year old is coming off back to back over 5.00 ERA seasons with the San Francisco Giants, after signing a 6 year, 130 million dollar contract back in 2016. The three time top 6 CY Young award finisher has lost a good deal of velocity on his fastball in the last handfuls of seasons, but he still has the ability to compete and deceive. Getting out of San Francisco would be the best case scenario for Cueto moving forward.
The third overall pick in the 2015 major league draft, Rodgers has only be awarded 102 PA in his first two seasons in the big leagues, and barring a Trevor Story or Nolan Arenado trade, it isnt likely he will receive more any time soon. The 24 year old has raked at the lower levels, and I believe given full time at bats, he can do close to the same at the major league level.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Beaty, who made his debut in 2019, at the age of 26, is another instance of a younger player being limited AB’s because of the depth ahead of him. Beaty posted a solid 2019 season, in which he has a .775 OPS and 102 OPS+ in his rookie season, but at this point, he is locked into pinch hitting duties for the Dodgers moving forward.