Who Could Be Released This Year?

Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo, and Carlos Silva suffered the indignity a year ago of being paid to go away, as the three were released with $31.5MM remaining on their contracts in total.  Here are some big money players who stand a chance of being cut at some point in 2012.

  • Vernon Wells, Angels: three years, $63MM.  The contract gives Wells first crack as the Angels' starting left fielder.  With Mike Trout waiting in the wings, Wells needs to produce in the first half.  Bobby Abreu, owed $9MM this year, seems more likely to be traded than released.
  • Alfonso Soriano, Cubs: three years, $54MM.  There is plenty of positive talk about Soriano this spring, but the Cubs' new management team might not let him finish the season if his on-base percentage remains around .290.
  • Barry Zito, Giants: two years, $46MM.  Zito is penciled in as the Giants' fifth starter, but he's probably on a short leash.  
  • Alex Rios, White Sox: three years, $38MM.  Adam Dunn, White Sox: three years, $44MM.  The Sox might as well see if Rios and/or Dunn can bounce back to some extent, but if either has an awful first half, the team could move on.
  • Jason Bay, Mets: two years, $35MM.  Those looking for signs of life from Bay can point to his final month last year.  But if his performance matches the other five months (.234/.318/.342) the Mets could pull the plug.
  • Carlos Zambrano, Marlins: one year, $18MM.  The Cubs picked up most of the tab on Zambrano, so if he becomes a disruption despite the chance of scenery, the Marlins could let him go.
  • Chone Figgins, Mariners: two years, $17MM.  The Mariners aim to rejuvenate Figgins by giving him a shot to bat leadoff in 2012.  If that fails, he could be released.
  • Juan Uribe, Dodgers: two years, $16MM.  Uribe is hoping to wipe the slate clean and stick as the team's starting third baseman.
  • Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Twins: two years, $6.25MM.  Nishioka is competing for a utility infielder job, and if he doesn't make the cut the next step would be Triple-A.
  • Brandon Inge, Tigers: one year, $6MM. Inge is currently in the mix for second base and will probably be needed to back up Miguel Cabrera at third.  The Tigers removed Inge from the 40-man roster last July, but re-added him a few weeks later.
  • Kevin Gregg, Orioles: one year, $5.8MM.  Though the Orioles don't seem to project Gregg for a key role in 2012, releasing him now would be harsh.
  • Brandon Lyon, Astros: one year, $5.5MM.  There's plenty of room in Houston's bullpen for Lyon to reclaim a late-inning role.  That's the best case scenario.

Full Story | 55 Comments | Categories: Uncategorized

55 Responses to Who Could Be Released This Year? Leave a Reply

  1. RVANatsMama 3 years ago

    I’d like to add Tom Gorzelanny to this list.

  2. Carlos Zambrano most likely to be released.

    • CandyMaldonadoLand 3 years ago

       I disagree. I think Zambrano, unlike most of the people listed here, still has value as a ballplayer. His problem is he is lacking value as a person. If he keeps his cool, there should be no problems.

      • LazerTown 3 years ago

        Agreed, he is the type of player that I think just needs a change of scenery.  Miami is the type of city for him, and i think he could have a good year.

        • I don’t think Zambrano will make it through the season (either injuries or throwing fits or both).  He should be fun to watch regardless.  I hope Miami hides their water coolers……

  3. RBIBaseball 3 years ago

    You forgot Peyton Manning……..whoops wrong sport.

  4. Kevin Swords 3 years ago

    Carlos Lee, Astros: one year $18.5MM. He is entering the final year of his 6 yr, $100MM contract and if he does not get off to a good start, struggles, or is blocking the development of a prospect from reaching the majors, then it would not make much sense to keep him. Of course if he does get off to a good start and is blocking a prospect (perhaps Brett Wallace) they could seek a trade.  

    • InLeylandWeTrust 3 years ago

      Lee had an abysmal March/April but other than that he actually swung the bat quite well last season

      May: .343 wOBA, 118 wRC+
      June: .376 wOBA, 140 wRC+
      July: .339 wOBA, 115 wRC+
      August: .375 wOBA, 139 wRC+
      Sept/Oct: .360 wOBA, 129 wRC+

      He’s who I wanted the Tigers to target for DH before I thought Fielder was even an option.

    • LazerTown 3 years ago

      Carlos lee had a slow start, but he was a decent player last year.  He is not the type of player that you should eat the rest of the contract of, he still has value to a team in need of a dh, best bet is to hold him until the all star break and hope that a team’s dh either isn’t panning out or got injured.  If they eat most of his contract they should be able to get a prospect or 2 from a fringe team in need of a big bat.

  5. I think Bobby Abreu gets released before Wells does. 

    White Sox will not release any of their big money players, I’m trying to think of a time when they have and I can’t think of any who have been released with multiple years and over 30 mil left on their contracts.. 

    • Dan Mazzaro 3 years ago

       Abreu still has value, they would trade him before releasing him

      • melonis_rex 3 years ago

         Not when there are comparable guys who are still unemployed.

        Unless the Angels were going to eat almost all of his salary, it *probably* would be cheaper to sign whichever one of Vlad/Lee/Damon/Maggs/Matsui comes the cheapest.

    • Dan Mazzaro 3 years ago

       Abreu still has value, they would trade him before releasing him

  6. Tigerfan93 3 years ago

    Why isn’t Inge on this list?

  7. Billy Buckner 3 years ago

    I’d pay large sums of money, despite being broke, to have Kevin Gregg released in the harshest way possible.

    • CandyMaldonadoLand 3 years ago

       From the one season I saw him play for the Cubs, the guy came off as arrogant and not a team guy. If he pitched to a 2.50 ERA, I wouldn’t have noticed his other flaws.

      • Henduck 3 years ago

        Coincidentally, I met Gregg’s uncle Monday night.  For what it’s worth, his uncle is a nice guy.  

  8. FS54 3 years ago

    Adam Dunn? are you kidding me, after one bad season and a half you would release a slugger who is 32 years old and has history of about 40 homer seasons before this contract?

    • johnsilver 3 years ago

      Yeah.. Dunn is my candidate for comeback player of the year for 2 reasons:

      1) 2nd year in the Al, as more used to pitchers.
      2) Guillen not around any longer.

      • JacobyWanKenobi 3 years ago

        I agree. I think Dunn will bounce back strong.

    • Mike1L 3 years ago

       I don’t see Dunn being released, unless he’s really suffering from a hitter’s variation on Steve Blass disease, and I can’t think of a historical precedent.

      • johnsilver 3 years ago

        Wow.. Funny how the years roll by… Had forgotten all about him and how he totally lost it from 1 year to the next and NEVER did get it back.. Tiant had that 1 lousy season, then resurrected himself, lot of guys back then did, but Blass? he just imploded after being a fantastic pitcher for years and then was gone from the game for good.

    • HobokenMetsFan 3 years ago

      that was my exact reaction upon reading this list. I see no way Dunn is released, also don’t see the Mets moving on from Bay either. At least not this year.

  9. Shawn Baublitz 3 years ago

    I’d trade Gregg to Seattle for Chone and some $.

    O’s don’t have anyone who has batted leadoff. And Chone could go back to super utility and play some 3B, 2B and LF. 

    Unless Roberts is healthy (doubt it) enough to play the Field or at least DH.

  10. Ive never really looked too closely at the Zito contract until now. But wow, that is absolutely absurd. Far worse than some of these other jokes on this list.

    • It looked bad when he signed it but looks even worse now. I can’t believe they are putting him back in the rotation. He’s an 18 million dollar LOOGY.

    • It looked bad when he signed it but looks even worse now. I can’t believe they are putting him back in the rotation. He’s an 18 million dollar LOOGY.

  11. sallen22 3 years ago

    Vernon Wells’ revamped batting stance and approach at the plate have actually been somewhat impressive so far this Spring.  If that carries over into the season, I can see him delaying the inevitable for one more year.  But after 2012, I don’t envision him being a starting OF for the Angels anymore. 

  12. johnsilver 3 years ago

    All right.. This sounds.. Well.. before I get hammered… Bay needs out of that awful Citi Field and Epstein knows Bay and how he can shine if he gets the chance to play at a stadium that is even remotely friendly to RH hitters..

    What if the Cubs-Nets sent bad contracts of Bay/Soriano to each other and Epstein sent the $$$ difference of 19m? Neither has the fan base behind them and neither is worth anything in their present situation, but Bay **could** possibly be worth a LOT if he could get back to a place where his RH power is put into play on a more often basis..

    I know it’s not a give and then there is the issue of his failing his physical with his knees in Boston when he took his physical, the Soriano is a waste anyway in Chicago.. Maybe NY thinks Bay is a waste anyway and would just welcome getting rid of Bay??

    Epstein is a risk taker.. I think it would be worth the shot for what they could get out of it.

    • HobokenMetsFan 3 years ago

      Won’t happen, why would the Mets swap a left fielder for a left fielder? Plus, Bay can at least play defense, and he hustles everything out and is a real good clubhouse guy.

      Has he been unproductive? Yes, certainly.

      Do we think he is a “waste” (a-la rios, zito)? Not even close.

    • petrie000 3 years ago

      As a Cubs fan i’d love to see that. unfortunately i don’t see the Mets are really profitting much, unless someone there really believes Soriano ‘just needs a change of scenery’. Still, i have little faith in Soriano lasting the rest of the season as a Cub, so getting anything for him would be a bonus…

    • Canoli220 3 years ago

      They moved in the walls to Citi Field this year.  Bay may have a bounce back year along with David Wright.

  13. bjsguess 3 years ago

    No way Wells gets released. If anything he would remain a 4th/5th outfielder. Better to get some value out of him vs eating $60m.

    He seems like a bad contract swap candidate if he can’t turn it around in the first half. Maybe a Zito for Wells type deal. Angels could use another back-end starter or left out of the bullpen. Giants can always use another bat. Angels throw in $5-$10m.

    * Of course, NTC’s come into play here …

  14. SoCalAngelsFan75 3 years ago

    Unless Wells rebounds with an awesom year, I hope (wish) the Angels find a way to trade him for something decent.  It would open roster space to re-sign Torii on a cheap(-ish) deal.

    • johnsilver 3 years ago

      “Unless Wells rebounds with an awesom year, I hope (wish) the Angels find a way to trade him for something decent.”

      Like who? Rafael Soriano and kick in 10m to make up the difference to
      the Cubs? Anaheim might as well hang onto Wells.. Face it.. They are
      stuck with the guy, or try another equal type player from the Chisox in
      Rios, who is owed 50m and send them 15m..

      Wells contract is terrible.. I can’t picture anyone taking it unless
      they throw in a bundle and take another guy back with less upside than

      • rdillon99 3 years ago

        “Wells contract is terrible.. I can’t picture anyone taking it unless
        they throw in a bundle and take another guy back with less upside than him.”

        I thought the same thing last year prior to the Blue Jays trading him to the Angels.

    • melonis_rex 3 years ago

      In other words, you are hoping that Tony Reagins gets a GM job somewhere?

  15. SoCalAngelsFan75 3 years ago

    Unless Wells rebounds with an awesom year, I hope (wish) the Angels find a way to trade him for something decent.  It would open roster space to re-sign Torii on a cheap(-ish) deal.

  16. johnsilver 3 years ago


  17. johnsilver 3 years ago


  18. Rabbitov 3 years ago

    Seriously, Gregg was a huge factor that Markakis won the Gold Glove last year.  Markakis saved so many potential triples, hrs, doubles, singles that were hit off of Gregg that it was ridiculous. 

  19. goredsgo 3 years ago

    i think the least likely to be released is bay the last thing the mets need is more debt

    • petrie000 3 years ago

      except Bay is also the most likely to be picked up by another team. If he goes to another team, the Mets then get some, if not complete salary relief (i’m not entirely sure who’s on the hook for the money past this year, if another team picks him up)

      • melonis_rex 3 years ago

         Depends on HOW he’s picked up.

        If he’s released and then another team signs him, the Mets pick up all the salary with the exception of the prorated veteran minimum for each year.

        If he’s DFA’d and someone else claims him on waivers, the claiming team picks up all the salary, not the Mets.

        If they were dead set on getting rid of Bay, the Mets would obviously DFA him first, see if anyone else claimed him/try to work out a trade, then release him if he cleared.

  20. 55saveslives 3 years ago

    Zito isn’t going to be traded.  He is our 5 spot and unfortunately due to Sabean’s bad trades, the pitching depth isn’t what it used to be.  

  21. crashcameron 3 years ago

    i love the idea of ‘bad contract’ swaps. two years ago I was thinking V Wells for A Soriano. Cubs get the plus on defence, Jays get a DH (and maybe Dwayne Murphy does a Bautista on Alfonso!)
    Make the same trade now, Cubs and Angels? Maybe. but, first, I’d wait and see if VW does a rebound. 

    • petrie000 3 years ago

      trading Soriano for Wells just means the Cubs pay an extra 9 million dollars for a blackhole in left field. If the Angels wanna chip in money or a prospect, sure, but otherwise the Cubs actually come out better from just releasing Soriano.

  22. pft2 3 years ago

    Hard to release players making this kind of money with 2+ full years on their contracts.  Has it ever happened?.

    Also, Dunn has had 1 bad year.   I would wait for him to have a 2nd bad year like Bay did before hitting the panic button.

    Just amazing to me how guys like Dunn, Crawford, Bay and Figgins turned into pumpkins overnight after signing a FA deal.  Makes me wonder if players are still juicing and then stop due to health concerns after they get their big payday and then suffer from tetosterone deficiency.   Just speculation of course.

  23. melonis_rex 3 years ago

    Zito and Wells are easily the worst contracts on the list, but assuming Timmy/Cain/Vogelsong/Bumgarner are the super-strong top 4 in the rotation, who’s #5 if Zito is released?

  24. Joel Clark 3 years ago

    Yeah right the white Sox can’t release Dunn that contracts still new and has way too much money on it

  25. Runtime 3 years ago

    Wells and Rios… it’s funny how they were 2 of the best selling Jays jerseys less than 5 years ago

  26. Certainly does pay to have a breakout season preceding a breakdown career!

  27. Vegandork 3 years ago

     The White Sox already have a better option in Stewart to take over for Gavin when he gets traded.

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