Teams are still taking a chance on them though because what if things finally come together (or back together) for them this season? If everything were to finally fall into place for that player, they could be a difference maker in the team’s season.
Still the teams who are taking a chance on these kinds of players, whether they’re already on the big league club or were just given the chance to make the team via an invite to big league camp during spring training, patience is beginning to wear thin. These players need to come up big in spring training and during the early part of the season or potentially be replaced, released or relegated to the minors.
There’s always another year where they might get another chance with another club, but for the five players from the American League West highlighted in this short series, it is a make-or-break season with their current organization.
Billy Butler of the Oakland Athletics is one of these “what if” players. The Kansas City Royals declined his option after a poor 2014 season but the A’s took a chance – a big chance – on Butler signing him to a three-year, $30 million contract. Butler didn’t improve in 2015 and in fact, had one of the worst seasons of his career.
The team has other options for the designated hitter position so, this year, Butler needs to make it in order to stay in the A’s lineup regardless of his salary. To read the remainder of my column follow the link below – and check out more AL West make it or break it players over the next few days on Today’s Knuckleball: