10 Struggling MLB Starters Still in Danger of Losing Jobs Post-Deadline

Karl BuscheckContributor IIIAugust 4, 2014

10 Struggling MLB Starters Still in Danger of Losing Jobs Post-Deadline

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    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    From Dan Haren to Ryan Howard, there are plenty of MLB players who just might want to keep their resumes nearby. 

    The non-waiver trade deadline has passed, but general managers can still come up with creative ways to replace players who simply aren't making the grade.

    There are sure to be big leaguers who pass through waivers and get dealt. Teams can also dip into their minor league systems to promote top prospects. Plus, there are some players who will just get demoted to the bullpen or the bench. 

    With a 6.58 ERA in his last 10 outings, there's no question that Haren is on notice with the Los Angeles Dodgers. And the right-hander is hardly the only big-name player in danger of losing his job. 

Jason Hammel, SP, Oakland Athletics

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    Any way you put it, the numbers have not been good for Jason Hammel since he joined the Oakland Athletics in the beginning of July. 

    In four starts, Hammel has been torched. The right-hander owns an 0-4 record and a 9.53 ERA. Hammel just can't seem to stop putting baserunners on, as he's piled up 26 hits and 10 walks in 17 frames. While with the Athletics, the opposition is hitting .351 against the starter.

    Ominously, the veteran was given the old locker of Jim Johnson once the latter had been designated for assignment, as John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group reports.

    With Jesse Chavez in the bullpen and Drew Pomeranz on standby in Triple-A, it could just be a matter of time before Oakland pulls the plug on the Jason Hammel experiment. 

Dayan Viciedo, OF, Chicago White Sox

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    Since the beginning of May, Dayan Viciedo has been in a rut. 

    The Cuban hit .229 in May, .163 in June and .202 in July. Attempting to strike a diplomatic tone, manager Robin Ventura described Viciedo as "streaky," via Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune (subscription required). Three months like that is much more than a streak.

    That poor play torpedoed any chance of the White Sox shipping out the 25-year-old before the deadline. At his current pace, Viciedo is on his way to getting non-tendered in the winter.

    In the interim, there's a legitimate argument that the right-handed hitter shouldn't be in Chicago's lineup on a consistent basis during the closing months of the season. 

Francisco Rodriguez, RP, Milwaukee Brewers

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    The second half of the season has not been kind to Francisco Rodriguez. 

    Going back to just before the All-Star break, Rodriguez has posted a 6.23 ERA in his last 10 outings for the Milwaukee Brewers. That slide for the closer coincides with the team-wide struggles that have seen the club's lead in the National League Central standings dwindle. 

    Back on July 25, the New York Mets tagged Rodriguez for three runs in the ninth inning on the way to a 3-2 win. 

    "It is frustrating," said Rodriguez afterward, via Jim Hoehn of MLB.com. "Fortunately, it is not my first rodeo."

    The question is just how many more he has left. 

Nick Swisher, 1B/OF, Cleveland Indians

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    Jason Miller/Getty Images

    It's been a forgettable season for Nick Swisher. 

    The first baseman/outfielder has dealt with knee issues throughout the season and most recently suffered a sprained right wrist, per Zack Meisel of The Plain Dealer.

    In 2014, the 33-year-old owns a .213 average. Swisher been useless against left-handed pitching, as he's swinging at a .160 clip. At the very least, sitting Swisher against lefties seems like a no-brainer. 

Ryan Howard, 1B, Philadelphia Phillies

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    No player in all of baseball provides less on a per-dollar basis than Ryan Howard. 

    The first baseman is hitting .215 with a .297 OBP while raking in a $25 million salary as part of a five-year, $125 million deal. In 106 contests, the left-handed hitter has punched out 128 times. 

    Jon Heyman of CBS Sports suggested that the only way the Philadelphia Phillies would be able to move the 34-year-old in a waiver trade is if the club picked up "80 percent, or more" of his remaining salary. 

    So, it looks like the Phillies are stuck with Howard. But that doesn't mean they have to play him. 

Edwin Jackson, SP, Chicago Cubs

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    Associated Press

    In advance of the deadline, the Chicago Cubs were trying to trade Edwin Jackson, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Before topping the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 3, the right-hander hadn't won a start since June 20. 

    On the season, Jackson is sporting a 5.66 ERA, which makes it difficult to imagine that there was much of a market for him at all. There's also all that money to factor into the equation. The starter is pitching in the second season of a four-year, $52 million deal. 

    The 30-year-old's exorbitant salary doesn't make it easy to justify it, but Jackson's performance makes it apparent that a trip to the bullpen is badly needed. 

Adam LaRoche, 1B, Washington Nationals

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Adam LaRoche had a miserable July. 

    Last month, the first baseman hit .159 with a .465 OPS for the Washington Nationals in 24 games. LaRoche insisted, via Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post, that he "feels okay" at the plate. The results would suggest otherwise. 

    The problem is that it's not clear just who could replace LaRoche in the lineup. Ryan Zimmerman would be a logical fit, but the right-handed hitter won't be doing anything at all for the next two weeks as he recovers from a strained hamstring, as manager Matt Williams explained to Daniel Popper of MLB.com

Mike Minor, SP, Atlanta Braves

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    Mike Minor has been skipped in the Atlanta Braves rotation, according to David O'Brien of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    The left-hander won't start again for the NL East club until August 12 and will be utilized out of the bullpen until then. If Minor is going to avoid making his demotion a permanent one, the 26-year-old has some serious work to do.

    In his last 10 outings, Minor has fooled no one. During that stretch, the starter has allowed 85 hits in 54 innings while posting a 7.33 ERA. 

Kendrys Morales, 1B/DH, Seattle Mariners

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    Nothing has gone right for Kendrys Morales ever since his ill-advised decision to reject the Seattle Mariners' qualifying offer last fall.

    The first baseman/designated hitter didn't sign with the Minnesota Twins until early June and has never been able to find his timing at the plate. The switch-hitter is batting .222 on the season and has nearly as many strikeouts (35) as hits (42). 

    At the end of July, the M's reacquired Morales in an effort to strengthen the club's underwhelming lineup. However, the 31-year-old hit just .171 (6-for-35) in his first nine games for the squad. 

Dan Haren, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Dan Haren has been making everyone he faces look like an MVP lately.

    Over the past month, opponents are hitting .340 against Haren, who is sporting a 10.04 ERA over that stretch. So, just why is the veteran still a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers rotation? 

    "Well, [Drew] Butera hasn't really been built up to pitch yet," manager Don Mattingly joked, via Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com

    Butera, who is the team's backup catcher, has made a couple of relief appearances in 2014. Haren definitely doesn't think his struggles are a laughing matter. 

    "I was just embarrassed with my performance," he explained, via Saxon. "I feel bad for the fans, for the 24 other guys."

    It won't be easy to find a replacement for Haren. One option would be to take a gamble and make a trade for a starter who clears waivers because he's pitching on a big-money contract. 

     

    Note: All stats and videos courtesy of MLB.com. All salary information courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts on BaseballProspectus.com. 

    If you want to talk baseball, find me on Twitter @KarlBuscheck.