By Brad Kallet and Jeff Capellini, WFAN.com
Baseball season is dead in New York. The Yankees are still breathing, but they’re fading farther and farther out of contention with every passing day. The Mets, of course, are the Mets. Barring a tremendous September, they’ll finish with a losing record for the sixth straight year.
There have been some bright spots in New York baseball — Tanaka, Betances, Gardner, deGrom, Lagares and Duda, just to name a few — but there have been far more disappointments. The Bombers spent nearly $500 million in the offseason and this was the year that the Mets were finally expected to contend.
Let’s just say it hasn’t worked out for either party.
Here are the 10 most disappointing local baseball players of 2014:
10) Ruben Tejada
Oh, Ruben. The reason that he’s not higher on this list is because nobody — save for Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins — really expected him to do much of anything in 2014. Instead of coming back strong after a terrible 2013 season, he’s been his usual bad self in 2014. When you don’t play every day on a team that is this bad offensively, you know something is very wrong. All these months later, New York still has no idea who the shortstop of the future will be.
9) CC Sabathia
Injuries happen, but when they happen repeatedly to a not-yet-ancient former Cy Young Award winner who will be paid $23 million this season and next season — and $25 million the season after that — it’s hard to stomach. The fact remains that Sabathia hasn’t been good since going 15-6 with a 3.38 ERA in 2012, and nobody knows for sure when he’ll be able to rejoin the Yankees’ rotation next season — and if he will even be remotely effective.
8) Derek Jeter
God forbid anyone says anything negative about Jeter during his going-away party. But the truth is if you had never seen him play before and then saw him this season, you’d be wondering what all the hubbub is about. Jeter has never been a power hitter, but three homers, 37 RBIs and a .261 average in 123 games is barely better than Tejada. Think about that. His .309 on-base percentage while batting second in what was supposed to be a vaunted lineup is almost criminal. But, hey, he’s the captain. It’s his year. Whatever.
7) Alfonso Soriano
The Yankees got lucky last season when Soriano convinced everyone that he was 10 years younger than he actually was. He murdered the baseball, produced runs at a prolific rate and was expected to — at the very least — be a solid DH this season, the elder statesman benefiting from a ton of guys on base. Then the season started and the fans were left feeling “Sori” for themselves after the longtime fan favorite went in the tank with just a .221 average and six homers in 67 games. He was designated for assignment on July 6.
6) Chris Young
When Alderson signed Young to a one-year, $7.25 million contract in the offseason, many called it a terrible move. And many ended up being right. The Mets hoped that Young, a reclamation project, would magically become the player he once was and supply middle-of-the-order power. What they got was a terrible hitter who took playing time away from more promising pieces and killed rallies on a daily basis. He was released on August 15 after hitting .205, and in an odd turn of events, he now finds himself on the Yankees. He struck out in his lone at-bat for the Bombers. Fitting.
5) Mark Teixeira
See Sabathia. No, wait. That’s not fair. When he plays, Tex still hits homers and drives in runs. But if not for his continuous stellar defense, Teixeira would be thought of as a more modern-day version of Rob Deer with a side order of Dave Kingman. Teixeira is now the quintessential feast-or-famine hitter, batting .223 this season and .239 over his last four seasons. And, oh yeah, he’s 34 and owed $45 million through 2016.
4) David Wright
Relatively speaking, Wright’s numbers aren’t that bad. (He’s batting .265 with eight home runs and 62 RBIs.) But when you’re the No. 3 hitter, captain and face of the franchise, that just doesn’t cut it. The Mets have a ton invested in the seven-time All-Star, and the worry is that his skills are diminishing with many years remaining on his contract. If Wright is no longer Wright, this team will continue losing for a long, long time.
3) Carlos Beltran
So here’s what a three-year, $45 million contract is worth so far: a .239 average, 15 homers and 47 RBIs in 101 games. Granted, Beltran has been suffering from a bone spur in his right elbow for most of the season, but he’s 37 now and the Yankees — a notoriously veteran team — aren’t allowed to use more than one designated-hitter spot in their lineup. As good as Beltran has been throughout his career, it’s hard to imagine him staying healthy long enough to justify the investment over the next two seasons.
2) Brian McCann
McCann has been one of the biggest free-agent busts in the majors this season. Since signing his five-year, $80 million deal, the 30-year-old catcher has put up decent power numbers — 17 homers and 61 RBIs — but his .244 average, especially since the Yankees play half their games in hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium, is from hunger. The only thing that prevents McCann from being the Grand Poobah of this list is the fact that he’s done a great job with a pitching staff that has been decimated by injuries.
1) Curtis Granderson
The Grandy Man. He’s one of the most likable and affable athletes on the planet, but unfortunately that doesn’t make up for a .210 batting average and .313 OBP. The former Yankee was the Mets’ major free-agent splash this past offseason, and he was expected to be the guy who would finally protect Wright in the lineup. Well, as we all know, Citi Field is not Yankee Stadium. The Mets need 35-40 homers from Grandy, not 16. They also need a guy who can at least hit .250. It’s only his first year in Queens, but this four-year, $60 million deal is slowly entering Jason Bay territory.
You May Also Be Interested In These Stories
[display-posts category=”sports” wrapper=”ul” posts_per_page=”4″]