Moving On Without Them

This should be the last post from my preseason Established Win Shares (EWSL) division previews, and it’s one I have been meaning to do in past years: a look at the amount of roster turnover. Each year, I identify 23 players who are projected to play roles for their team – 13 non-pitchers and 10 pitchers. That’s not the whole Opening Day roster, but it pretty closely corresponds to the number of people who have something like a steady major league job, given the insecurity of life as a 12th pitcher or last man on the bench.
So, comparing the 2008 23-man rosters to the 2007 ones, how much turnover was there? 173 players were listed last season but not this year, an average of almost six per team. In percentage terms, 173 out of 690 – that’s a 25% attrition rate in a single year even for guys who had made it all the way up the professional pyramid and shimmied up the greasy pole at the top to have one of those scarce jobs playing major league baseball. I’m not making any excuses for anyone when I say that you should remember figures like that the next time you read about ballplayers taking steroids, lying about their ages, corking their bats, scuffing the baseball, concealing injuries, or whatever other edge they think they need to get a big league job and contract and cling to it.
Not all these guys dropped out of the big leagues – some just slid from 10th pitcher to 11th, some are on the DL but could well be major contributors again by midseason, some are youngsters who got sent back for a little more minor league seasoning, some were guys I was just mistaken in thinking last year they’d have jobs. Some, in fact, are already back in a regular job a month later. The under-30 crowd in particular is dominated by injured pitchers. That said, the bulk of this list is guys who fell victim to the dog-eat-dog competition for scarce Major League jobs, most of whom will not return to that perch, and others of whom face an uphill battle in reclaiming those jobs from eager youngsters. In the main, they are a reminder that many more Major League careers end with a whimper than a bang.
The average age of the dropouts? 31.8. Average Win Shares earned show a pattern: 5.8 in 2005, 5.4 in 2006, 2.5 in 2007, with an age-adjusted EWSL of 3.4.
Here’s the full list by age (sorted among age groups by declining EWSL) – each and every name on this list is a story of a guy who, at a minimum, started 2008 with less hope and optimism about his future than he did a year earlier:

Age 23
Jesus Flores
Joel Zumaya
Joaquin Arias
Age 24
Adam Lind
Jason Johnson
Anibal Sanchez
Brandon McCarthy
Ambiorix Burgos
Rene Rivera
Mike Pelfrey
Age 25
Jeremy Sowers
Macay McBride
Brandon League
Alberto Callaspo
Andy Sisco
Ryan Wagner
Age 26
Matt Murton
Chris Ray
Rocco Baldelli
Jesse Crain
Jason Hirsh
Ramon Ramirez
David Aardsma
Jason Woods
Robinson Tejeda
Chris Snelling
Brian Anderson
Randy Messenger
Francisco Cabrera
Anthony Reyes
Jerome Williams
Age 27
Jose Castillo
Gustavo Chacin
Russ Adams
Tom Mastny
Brad Halsey
Sergio Mitre
Lance Cormier
Seth McClung
Paul McAnulty
Brad Eldred
Age 28
Chris Burke
Chris Shelton
Ruddy Lugo
Nook Logan
Clay Hensley
Matt Belisle
Hector Luna
Brandon Medders
Neal Cotts
Horacio Ramirez
Kei Igawa
Humberto Quintero
Brian Stokes
Age 29
Chris Capuano
Alex Cintron
Jorge Julio
Joe Kennedy
Byung-Hyun Kim
Kirk Saarloos
Lance Niekro
Humberto Cota
Joe Borchard
Age 30
Marcus Giles
Kevin Mench
Claudio Vargas
Danys Baez
Mike Maroth
Angel Berroa
Julio Mateo
John Patterson
Casey Fossum
Tony Armas
Chris Reitsma
Wil Nieves
Age 31
Jason Lane
Jason Tyner
Lew Ford
Jeff Weaver
Robb Quinlan
Craig Wilson
Jae Seo
Termel Sledge
Rick Bauer
Andy Phillips
Victor Santos
Luke Hudson
Jason Phillips
Kip Wells
Wade Miller
Alex Sanchez
Robby Hammock
Age 32
Kelvim Escobar
Juan Encarnacion
Rob Mackowiak
Freddy Garcia
Russ Branyan
Shea Hillenbrand
Abraham Nunez
Rodrigo Lopez
Tomo Ohka
Eric Milton
Chris Woodward
Jaret Wright
Shawn Camp
Carl Pavano
Randy Keisler
Age 33
Sean Casey
Jamey Carroll
Chris Carpenter
Preston Wilson
Miguel Ojeda
Age 34
Mike Sweeney
Miguel Cairo
Scott Schoenweis
Robert Fick
Russ Ortiz
Jason Simontacchi
Age 35
Sean Green
Scott Speizio
Aaron Boone
Brady Clark
Jason Schmidt
Greg Norton
Julian Tavarez
Bartolo Colon
Armando Benitez
Trever Miller
Steve Kline
Ramon Ortiz
Vance Wilson
Age 36
Akinori Otsuka
Tony Graffanino
Brendan Donnelly
Mike Lieberthal
Juan Castro
Rondell White
Antonio Alfonseca
Paul Bako
Adam Melhuse
Age 37
Ryan Klesko
Olmedo Saenz
Todd Williams
Doug Mirabelli
Dan Miceli
John Mabry
Age 38
So Taguchi
Jose Valentin
Jeff Cirillo
Royce Clayton
Jon Lieber
Damian Miller
Hector Carrasco
Age 39
Mike Piazza
Bob Wickman
Rudy Seanez
Brian Shouse
Mike Meyers
Orlando Palmeiro
Rick White
Age 40
Reggie Sanders
Age 41
Curt Schilling
Kenny Lofton
Woody Williams
Mike Stanton
Age 42
Craig Biggio
Jeff Conine
Jose Mesa
Age 43
Barry Bonds
Roberto Hernandez
Steve Finley
Age 45
David Wells
Age 49
Julio Franco

2 thoughts on “Moving On Without Them”

  1. This list should be forwarded to every baseball pundit in the country, with emphasis on the players’ ages. Last week PTI addressed the whole Tejada situation and Wilbon commented that none of it mattered because even though Miguel was now 33 years old instead of 31 he was still “in his physical prime”. I wanted to reach through my television and strangle that ignorant muppet.

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