The seasons is fast approaching (FINALLY!), and at this point most teams have hammered out the meat of their rosters. Trades have been made, free agents have been signed, minor leaguers have been invited to camp in hopes of adding them to the roster, and few teams have gaping holes they are still waiting to fill. This is bad news for the boys who are still without a solid gig. I'm guessing that by now those players are starting to get a bit nervous that they might wind up being forced into retirement, stuck down in the minors, or maybe making a jump over to Japan to keep playing. This is unfortunate, because some of those unemployed or underemployed* guys could make a good contribution to a team,
if only someone wanted them.Top Ten Employable Unemployed or Underemployed Dudes
10) Balco Barry - yes, he's clubhouse cancer and embroiled in a legal battle, but he's obviously still capable of smacking some homers, so I think he could be a good fit for a team in need of a little pop - as long as it's not the Yankees. Maybe the Mariners? They stayed in the playoff run all the way till August last year, and maybe some Bonds power could put them over the edge.
9) Roger Clemens. You know he's going to try to weasel his way onto some team anyway.
8) Shannon Stewart. He was a big part of the A's (practically nonexistent) offense last year, just 2 points shy of being a .300 hitter, and I would imagine there must be a team out there that might need a 4th outfielder, not just a minor league team.
7) Sammy Sosa. Get him on the cheap and throw him on the bench. Why not? He had 92 RBI last year!
6) Mike-a Piazza. Still a viable backup catcher and a decent hitter at that.
5) Tony Clark. Can be had for cheap, and he had a .511 slugging percentage last year.
4) Kenny Lofton. He is a .299 career hitter and had a terrific 2007, hitting .296 in the regular season and smacking 23 homers. Yes, he's 40, but he can still hit and ain't bad in the field either.
3) Doug Mientkicantspell. I love this man dearly, and his defense makes him worthy of a one-year contract. Surely someone
needs a first baseman, no? Maybe the Mets.
2) Nick Johnson. He hasn't played in a LONG time thanks to that nasty broken leg he suffered way back in 2006, but if he has rehabbed well his awesome OBP would be a boon to any team. I know I'd love to have him on the Yanks.
1) Akinori Otsuka. I don't get this one. Almost EVERY team is hurting for relievers.Read last week's Top Ten: Reasons to be Optimistic About the 2008 Yanks
*I say "underemployed" because some of these guys have been signed to minor league deals but in my opinion deserve better.