Over at MLB.com, they’ve recently unveiled their 2013 fantasy baseball preview, including ranking 843 players — in order — based on their fantasy relevance. Unsurprisingly, Dodgers Matt Kemp, Hanley Ramirez, Clayton Kershaw, & Adrian Gonzalez rank in the top 50.
Much more surprisingly, Juan Uribe is not only ranked, he comes in at #795, meaning that there’s 48 players (subjectively, of course) deemed to be worse than he is. Among those who are more valuable: Tony Gwynn, Cesar Izturis, Nick Punto, Elian Herrera, Adam Kennedy & Miguel Cairo.
So what does it take to actually be worse than Juan Uribe? Let’s investigate.
Behold: the large group of Jim Thome (#802), Aubrey Huff (#803), Roy Oswalt (#804), Daisuke Matsuzaka (#810), Chone Figgins (#816), Brad Penny (#819), Livan Hernandez (#820), Scott Podsednik (#823), Jason Repko (#828), Jason Giambi (#832), Jose Contreras (#837), Sean Burroughs (#834), Jamie Moyer (#840), & Bobby Jenks (#842) contains years of outstanding performance and at least one borderline Hall of Fame case. But it’s not 2005 anymore, is it? All are over 30, in some cases well over, and none have 2013 clubs at the moment.
It seems that one way to be worse than Uribe is to no longer be a baseball player.
Being signed to a minor-league contract
Dig these names…
Austin Kearns (#786), Ben Francisco (#787), Darnell McDonald (#808), Rick Ankiel (#811), Jeremy Hermida (#814), Andrew Brown (#815), Brian Bixler (#821), Ryan Sweeney (#825), Lyle Overbay (#826), Don Kelly (#827), Joe Mather (#831), Dan Johnson (#833), Drew Sutton (#835), Mike Jacobs (#836), & Ramiro Pena (#838)
…because it might be the last time you ever hear them. They’re all in camp as non-roster invites, and maybe a few will get some big-league time, but the majority probably have seen their last days in the show.
Having no chance to play in 2013
Randy Wolf (#839) certainly fits in the “old and unemployed” section, but he gets a special call-out here for having blown out his elbow in September and undergoing Tommy John surgery, all but certainly costing him all of 2013.
Having no chance to play in 2013 and running afoul of the United States government by forging your name and age
Juan Carlos Oviedo (#841), formerly known as Leo Nunez, was suspended after getting involved in another age scandal, then got into three minor-league games before getting hurt and getting a Tommy John zipper of his own in September.
Being completely unable to hit professional pitching
Jose Iglesias (#813) is a highly touted shortstop in the Boston system, mainly because he’s a fantastic defensive player. He’s also got a career .626 OPS… in the minors. Good luck with that. Josh Vitters (#800) isn’t quite that bad, but the former #3 overall pick has failed to live up to that billing in the Cubs organization since being drafted in 2007 and hit .121/.193/.202 in 109 plate appearances in his first taste of the bigs last year.
Getting busted for PED usage
Losing your job in 2012
Armando Galarraga (#809) & Jeff Suppan (#818) were each DFA’d by two incredibly pitching-needy teams in Houston & Minnesota, respectively, which should tell you all you need to know about them. Matt LaPorta (#822) remains with the Indians but lost his 40-man spot this winter, and Daric Barton (#830) finally lost his starting job with Oakland and spent most of the year in the minors.
This is the list Uribe really belongs on.
Being someone I’ve never heard of before
Moises Sierra (#799) is a 24-year-old outfielder who made his debut for Toronto in 2012. Eduardo Escobar (#817) saw time with both Minnesota and the White Sox around being included in the Francisco Liriano trade. Supposedly.
Not having played professionally in 2012
Scott Kazmir’s (#807) downfall is well-known; after several years of solid performance for Tampa Bay, he was traded to Anaheim and completely fell apart, making just one start in 2011 for the Angels and toiling in the independent leagues last season; he signed a minor-league deal with Cleveland in December. Grady Sizemore (#829) was once one of the best center fielders in baseball, but continued knee issues allowed him to play just 104 games in 2010-11 and not at all in 2012; he’s currently without a team.
Not having played professionally in 2011 or 2012
Jeremy Bonderman (#806) last pitched in 2010 for Detroit, though he’s attempting to make a comeback with Seattle this year. I’d trade Uribe for him in a heartbeat.
Being Bill Hall, apparently
Poor Bill Hall. What did he ever do to anyone? He was actually a pretty valuable player at one point, hitting 35 homers while playing all over the infield for the 2005 Brewers. Since leaving Milwaukee in 2009, he’s bounced from Seattle to Boston to Houston to Fresno to San Francisco to the Yankees (Tampa, really, since he didn’t make it out of spring training) to Norfolk to Baltimore to Anaheim, where he signed a minor-league deal with the Angels last week. He’s hit .221/.285/.382 since 2009, which is, well, terrible. Terrible enough to be the absolute lowest-ranked player here? Apparently so.
Ah, who are we kidding? I’d still take the old, busted, injured & retired guys listed here over Uribe. Nearly every single one. But not you, Aubrey Huff. You know what you did.