This is the age of analytics, in which the projected performance of a player can be estimated down to the decimal point. Teams don’t chase the ethereal and intangible the way they once did.
But isn’t there still something to be said for guys who make your team ... fun?
We like to think so. And so, without getting into WAR scores and financial figures, let’s scour the open market for available players who might not be the shiniest items on the shelf but would still add some entertainment or intrigue to your favorite team.
This guy plays the game in animated, GIF-able ways, and his style has been known to rub some people -- especially opponents and the occasional water cooler -- the wrong way over the years. But his teammates, generally, love him for his indefatigable energy and personality (remember that story from Sports Illustrated about him learning the potassium content of kiwi thanks to Googling “rich people conversations” when he got a salary increase?).
And look, he apologized to the water cooler, OK?
No, I’m not including him here for the obvious reasons -- the age (45 and counting), the body, or the bat. I’m including Colon because CC Sabathia is set to retire at the end of 2019, and we deserve to have a satisfying resolution to this under-the-radar-but-crazy-close race:
Sabathia: 3,470 innings, 246 wins
Colon: 3,461 2/3 innings, 247 wins
It’s even more fun considering Colon was the established ace on the Indians when a 20-year-old Sabathia debuted in 2001. Nineteen years later, they are neck and neck in counting numbers.
Capps’ hop-step delivery was so funky (and effective) that MLB had to make an addition to Rule 5.07 to outlaw it a couple years ago. Capps was rehabbing from Tommy John surgery at the time, and a subsequent surgery to correct thoracic outlet syndrome surgery further sidelined him. So he’s pitched only around 50 innings (and only 12 1/3 of those in the bigs) since the rule went into effect.
That’s not much time to get accustomed to a reworked version of his mechanics in which he drags his foot, rather than jumping, in order to satisfy the rule. Would be nice to see if he can ... wait for it … bounce back.
We are almost to the point where it would be more efficient to list the teams Jackson has not pitched for (Red Sox, Yankees, Blue Jays, Indians, Twins, Royals, Astros, Mariners, Rangers, Angels, Mets, Phillies, Reds, Brewers, Pirates, Rockies, Giants) than the ones he has (A’s, Orioles, Padres, Marlins, Braves, Cubs, Nationals, Cardinals, White Sox, D-backs, Tigers, Rays, Dodgers).
If a team from the first list doesn’t sign Jackson, something is seriously wrong.
When Moylan was released by the Twins in 1998, he went back to his native Australia and sold pharmaceuticals for a while. Let’s not let the great story of his return to baseball and to the States end just yet. Moylan still has too much to offer as one of the game’s greatest Twitter presences.
This guy set the tone for those strong Orioles teams of the mid-2010s not just with the way he played but with the attitude he brought to the clubhouse and dugout every day. He also brings a playful personality. He is equal turns intense and absurd. His teammates used to marvel at his ability to do dead-on impressions of Buck Showalter and others.
Nobody should be seriously suggesting Jones is going to give a team All-Star-caliber output at this stage of his career, but Jones can still be a useful player when employed the right way, and whichever club signs him will get a big boost in the clubhouse.
How cool was it last summer when Holliday, who still cuts a menacing presence when he stands in the box, returned to Colorado and hit his first homer in a Rockies uniform in 3,634 games. He’s 39, and will soon be on permanent holiday, but what do you say we try to keep the nostalgia train rolling and get him back with the A’s or Cardinals?
An extended stint in free agency is nothing compared to what Gattis went through after walking away from baseball in 2006 and battling alcohol and marijuana abuse and depression. He re-emerged and burst onto the big league scene in 2013 and became one of the game’s great stories. And you’ve got to love a bearded dude who grips the bat with his bare hands and lets it rip. Just watch Gattis absolutely destroying some kid’s plastic ball this winter and tell me you don’t want him in your lineup.
Ballooned ERAs could potentially spell the end of Hughes’ career. But not even a 6.10 mark in a 16-outing stint with San Diego last summer prevented this fun, honest and engaging tweeter from winning the incredibly prestigious Padres Twitter Tournament. You want him in your squad’s social media community.
It’s simple: We will keep rooting for Timmy’s triumphant return until he officially retires or the authorities kick us out, whichever comes first. A 5.68 relief ERA in Triple-A Round Rock last year for the Rangers doesn’t bode well, but we still await a day when the Freak flag flies again.