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75 MLB Players Who Might Be Missing Their Last Season With Their Team

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The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the economy in 2020, with more than 30 million Americans filing for unemployment in just six weeks over March and April. What makes things worse for many is that the bad economy and social distancing measures have postponed or even eliminated sporting events, including Major League Baseball. Depending on how things shake out, this oddest of years may have the strangest consequence: Some players may spend their final year with their team from their couch at home.

Take Yadier Molina, for example. This veteran catcher is a true rarity, in that he has spent his entire career — 1,976 games — with a single team: the St. Louis Cardinals. At age 38, the likely Hall of Famer, playing in what may be his final year, would no doubt have enjoyed many tributes from home crowds. Instead, he may end up spending his last season at his house, rather than on the field.

Mookie Betts is another potential Hall of Famer that finds himself in an odd situation. After signing a one-year, $27 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, there’s a chance Betts might not suit up in Dodger blue at all. If the coronavirus epidemic ends up canceling the 2020 MLB season, Betts still gets credit for his year of service with the Dodgers, even if he never plays a single game for them. 

To seek out these and other stories, GOBankingRates used data from Spotrac to find 75 MLB players scheduled to become free agents in 2021, meaning each could miss their final year with their existing team. Players were ranked in reverse order, from smallest salary to largest. Additional information such as career wins above replacement, or WAR, and the number of games each major leaguer played for their current team is also provided. 

If the MLB cancels the entire season, players will feel the pain as much as the fans. As of late March 2020, MLB players agreed to accept an advance of just under 4% of their salaries for the current season, which they get to keep even if the entire season is canceled. Salaries would resume on a prorated basis if games end up being played. Players will also receive credit for a year of service, which can play a role in salary arbitration and free agency proceedings.

While there might not be many tears shed for the reduced salaries of pro sports athletes, the truth is that many will lose hundreds of thousands of dollars for each unplayed game.

Last updated: May 8, 2020

Carlos Osorio/AP / Shutterstock.com

Jason Castro

  • Age: 34
  • Position: Catcher
  • Team: Los Angeles Angels
  • Number of games played for current team: 0
  • Career wins above replacement: 12.07

2020 payroll salary: $6,850,000

Brynn Anderson/AP / Shutterstock.com

Homer Bailey

  • Age: 35
  • Position: Starting pitcher
  • Team: Minnesota Twins
  • Number of games played for current team: 0
  • Career wins above replacement: 5.02

2020 payroll salary: $7,000,000

Matt Slocum/AP / Shutterstock.com

Hector Neris

  • Age: 32
  • Position: Relief pitcher/closer
  • Team: Philadelphia Phillies
  • Number of games played for current team: 307
  • Career wins above replacement: 6.35

2020 payroll salary: $7,000,000

Ross D Franklin/AP / Shutterstock.com

Gio Gonzalez

  • Age: 35
  • Position: Starting pitcher
  • Team: Chicago White Sox
  • Number of games played for current team: 0
  • Career wins above replacement: 30.09

2020 payroll salary: $7,000,000

John Minchillo/AP / Shutterstock.com

Kirby Yates

  • Age: 34
  • Position: Relief pitcher
  • Team: San Diego Padres
  • Number of games played for current team: 187
  • Career wins above replacement: 4.25

2020 payroll salary: $7,062,500

Jeff Roberson/AP / Shutterstock.com

Brett Cecil

  • Age: 34
  • Position: Relief pitcher
  • Team: St. Louis Cardinals
  • Number of games played for current team: 113
  • Career wins above replacement: 6.60

2020 payroll salary: $7,250,000

Gregory Bull/AP / Shutterstock.com

Joc Pederson

  • Age: 29
  • Position: Left field
  • Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Number of games played for current team: 705
  • Career wins above replacement: 10.79

2020 payroll salary: $7,750,000

Sue Ogrocki/AP / Shutterstock.com

Michael Fiers

  • Age: 36
  • Position: Starting pitcher
  • Team: Oakland Athletics
  • Number of games played for current team: 65
  • Career wins above replacement: 9.83

2020 payroll salary: $8,100,000

Julio Cortez/AP / Shutterstock.com

Jonathan Villar

  • Age: 30
  • Position: Third base
  • Team: Miami Marlins
  • Number of games played for current team: 0
  • Career wins above replacement: 10.76

2020 payroll salary: $8,200,000

Elaine Thompson/AP / Shutterstock.com

Garrett Richards

  • Age: 33
  • Position: Starting pitcher
  • Team: San Diego Padres
  • Number of games played for current team: 3
  • Career wins above replacement: 7.31

2020 payroll salary: $8,500,000

Jim Mone/AP / Shutterstock.com

Joakim Soria

  • Age: 37
  • Position: Relief pitcher
  • Team: Oakland Athletics
  • Number of games played for current team: 71
  • Career wins above replacement: 15.02

2020 payroll salary: $8,500,000

Julio Cortez/AP / Shutterstock.com

Yulieski Gurriel

  • Age: 37
  • Position: First base
  • Team: Houston Astros
  • Number of games played for current team: 457
  • Career wins above replacement: 8.27

2020 payroll salary: $8,700,000

David Zalubowski/AP / Shutterstock.com

Jake McGee

  • Age: 34
  • Position: Relief pitcher
  • Team: Colorado Rockies
  • Number of games played for current team: 225
  • Career wins above replacement: 7.02

2020 payroll salary: $9,000,000

Elaine Thompson/AP / Shutterstock.com

Kevin Gausman

  • Age: 30
  • Position: Starting pitcher
  • Team: San Francisco Giants
  • Number of games played for current team: 0
  • Career wins above replacement: 9.47

2020 payroll salary: $9,000,000

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP / Shutterstock.com

Marwin Gonzalez

  • Age: 32
  • Position: Third base
  • Team: Minnesota Twins
  • Number of games played for current team: 116
  • Career wins above replacement: 13.56

2020 payroll salary: $9,000,000

Darron Cummings/AP / Shutterstock.com

Julio Teheran

  • Age: 30
  • Position: Starting pitcher
  • Team: Los Angeles Angels
  • Number of games played for current team: 0
  • Career wins above replacement: 19.35

2020 payroll salary: $9,000,000

Elaine Thompson/AP / Shutterstock.com

Robbie Ray

  • Age: 29
  • Position: Starting pitcher
  • Team: Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Number of games played for current team: 142
  • Career wins above replacement: 9.54

2020 payroll salary: $9,430,000

Carlos Osorio/AP / Shutterstock.com

Chase Anderson

  • Age: 33
  • Position: Starting pitcher
  • Team: Toronto Blue Jays
  • Number of games played for current team: 0
  • Career wins above replacement: 9.96

2020 payroll salary: $9,500,000

Jim Mone/AP / Shutterstock.com

Ken Giles

  • Age: 30
  • Position: Relief pitcher
  • Team: Toronto Blue Jays
  • Number of games played for current team: 110
  • Career wins above replacement: 7.77

2020 payroll salary: $9,600,000

Elaine Thompson/AP / Shutterstock.com

Mike Minor

  • Age: 33
  • Position: Starting pitcher
  • Team: Texas Rangers
  • Number of games played for current team: 61
  • Career wins above replacement: 17.83

2020 payroll salary: $9,833,334

Phil Long/AP / Shutterstock.com

Brad Hand

  • Age: 31
  • Position: Relief pitcher/closer
  • Team: Cleveland Indians
  • Number of games played for current team: 129
  • Career wins above replacement: 5.86

2020 payroll salary: $10,000,000

Gregory Bull/AP / Shutterstock.com

Blake Treinen

  • Age: 33
  • Position: Relief pitcher
  • Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Number of games played for current team: 0
  • Career wins above replacement: 8.65

2020 payroll salary: $10,000,000

Jim Mone/AP / Shutterstock.com

Kelvin Herrera

  • Age: 31
  • Position: Relief pitcher
  • Team: Chicago White Sox
  • Number of games played for current team: 57
  • Career wins above replacement: 9.57

2020 payroll salary: $10,000,000

Julio Cortez/AP / Shutterstock.com

Wilson Ramos

  • Age: 33
  • Position: Catcher
  • Team: New York Mets
  • Number of games played for current team: 142
  • Career wins above replacement: 14.33

2020 payroll salary: $10,000,000

Carlos Osorio/AP / Shutterstock.com

J.T. Realmuto

  • Age: 30
  • Position: Catcher
  • Team: Philadelphia Phillies
  • Number of games played for current team: 145
  • Career wins above replacement: 17.36

2020 payroll salary: $10,000,000

Vera Nieuwenhuis/AP / Shutterstock.com

Rick Porcello

  • Age: 32
  • Position: Starting pitcher
  • Team: New York Mets
  • Number of games played for current team: 0
  • Career wins above replacement: 19.94

2020 payroll salary: $10,000,000

Frank Franklin II/AP / Shutterstock.com

Brett Gardner

  • Age: 37
  • Position: Center field
  • Team: New York Yankees
  • Number of games played for current team: 1,500
  • Career wins above replacement: 41.60

2020 payroll salary: $10,000,000

Julio Cortez/AP / Shutterstock.com

Adam Eaton

  • Age: 32
  • Position: Right field
  • Team: Washington Nationals
  • Number of games played for current team: 270
  • Career wins above replacement: 18.97

2020 payroll salary: $10,500,000

Gene J Puskar/AP / Shutterstock.com

Jose Quintana

  • Age: 32
  • Position: Starting pitcher
  • Team: Chicago Cubs
  • Number of games played for current team: 96
  • Career wins above replacement: 24.64

2020 payroll salary: $10,500,000

Jim Mone/AP / Shutterstock.com

Alex Colome

  • Age: 32
  • Position: Relief pitcher
  • Team: Chicago White Sox
  • Number of games played for current team: 62
  • Career wins above replacement: 5.26

2020 payroll salary: $10,532,500

Carlos Osorio/AP / Shutterstock.com

Chris Archer

  • Age: 32
  • Position: Starting pitcher
  • Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Number of games played for current team: 51
  • Career wins above replacement: 13.09

2020 payroll salary: $11,000,000

Elise Amendola/AP / Shutterstock.com

Jackie Bradley Jr.

  • Age: 31
  • Position: Center field
  • Team: Boston Red Sox
  • Number of games played for current team: 819
  • Career wins above replacement: 15.05

2020 payroll salary: $11,000,000

Mary Altaffer/AP / Shutterstock.com

Jed Lowrie

  • Age: 37
  • Position: Second base
  • Team: New York Mets
  • Number of games played for current team: 9
  • Career wins above replacement: 17.40

2020 payroll salary: $11,500,000

Julio Cortez/AP / Shutterstock.com

Marcus Stroman

  • Age: 30
  • Position: Starting pitcher
  • Team: New York Mets
  • Number of games played for current team: 32
  • Career wins above replacement: 13.79

2020 payroll salary: $12,000,000

Matt Slocum/AP / Shutterstock.com

David Robertson

  • Age: 36
  • Position: Relief pitcher
  • Team: Philadelphia Phillies
  • Number of games played for current team: 7
  • Career wins above replacement: 14.12

2020 payroll salary: $12,000,000

Julio Cortez/AP / Shutterstock.com

Anibal Sanchez

  • Age: 37
  • Position: Starting pitcher
  • Team: Washington Nationals
  • Number of games played for current team: 30
  • Career wins above replacement: 23.26

2020 payroll salary: $12,000,000

Frank Franklin II/AP / Shutterstock.com

D.J. LeMahieu

  • Age: 32
  • Position: Second base
  • Team: New York Yankees
  • Number of games played for current team: 145
  • Career wins above replacement: 23.61

2020 payroll salary: $12,000,000

Ross D Franklin/AP / Shutterstock.com

Edwin Encarnacion

  • Age: 38
  • Position: Designated hitter
  • Team: Chicago White Sox
  • Number of games played for current team: 0
  • Career wins above replacement: 30.29

2020 payroll salary: $12,000,000

John Bazemore/AP / Shutterstock.com

Nelson Cruz

  • Age: 40
  • Position: Designated hitter
  • Team: Minnesota Twins
  • Number of games played for current team: 120
  • Career wins above replacement: 37.88

2020 payroll salary: $12,000,000

Frank Franklin II/AP / Shutterstock.com

James Paxton

  • Age: 32
  • Position: Starting pitcher
  • Team: New York Yankees
  • Number of games played for current team: 29
  • Career wins above replacement: 13.16

2020 payroll salary: $12,500,000

Julio Cortez/AP / Shutterstock.com

Kolten Wong

  • Age: 30
  • Position: Second base
  • Team: St. Louis Cardinals
  • Number of games played for current team: 799
  • Career wins above replacement: 15.59

2020 payroll salary: $12,500,000

Darron Cummings/AP / Shutterstock.com

Starling Marte

  • Age: 32
  • Position: Center field
  • Team: Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Number of games played for current team: 0
  • Career wins above replacement: 29.06

2020 payroll salary: $12,500,000

Matt York/AP / Shutterstock.com

Tyler Chatwood

  • Age: 31
  • Position: Starting pitcher
  • Team: Chicago Cubs
  • Number of games played for current team: 66
  • Career wins above replacement: 10.28

2020 payroll salary: $13,000,000

Frank Franklin II/AP / Shutterstock.com

Zack Britton

  • Age: 33
  • Position: Relief pitcher
  • Team: New York Yankees
  • Number of games played for current team: 107
  • Career wins above replacement: 13.40

2020 payroll salary: $13,000,000

Darron Cummings/AP / Shutterstock.com

Marcus Semien

  • Age: 30
  • Position: Shortstop
  • Team: Oakland Athletics
  • Number of games played for current team: 720
  • Career wins above replacement: 20.50

2020 payroll salary: $13,000,000

Matt Slocum/AP / Shutterstock.com

Josh Reddick

  • Age: 34
  • Position: Right field
  • Team: Houston Astros
  • Number of games played for current team: 411
  • Career wins above replacement: 22.82

2020 payroll salary: $13,000,000

John Minchillo/AP / Shutterstock.com

Nick Castellanos

  • Age: 29
  • Position: Right field
  • Team: Cincinnati Reds
  • Number of games played for current team: 0
  • Career wins above replacement: 5.43

2020 payroll salary: $14,000,000

Charlie Riedel/AP / Shutterstock.com

Wei-Yin Chen

  • Age: 36
  • Position: Relief pitcher
  • Team: Seattle Mariners
  • Number of games played for current team: 0
  • Career wins above replacement: 8.50

2020 payroll salary: $14,000,000

Frank Franklin II/AP / Shutterstock.com

Jay Bruce

  • Age: 34
  • Position: Right field
  • Team: Philadelphia Phillies
  • Number of games played for current team: 100
  • Career wins above replacement: 16.55

2020 payroll salary: $14,000,000

Matt Rourke/AP / Shutterstock.com

Didi Gregorius

  • Age: 31
  • Position: Shortstop
  • Team: Philadelphia Phillies
  • Number of games played for current team: 0
  • Career wins above replacement: 16.65

2020 payroll salary: $14,000,000

Matt York/AP / Shutterstock.com

Mike Leake

  • Age: 33
  • Position: Starting pitcher
  • Team: Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Number of games played for current team: 32
  • Career wins above replacement: 12.81

2020 payroll salary: $15,000,000

Matt York/AP / Shutterstock.com

Andrelton Simmons

  • Age: 31
  • Position: Shortstop
  • Team: Los Angeles Angels
  • Number of games played for current team: 534
  • Career wins above replacement: 36.99

2020 payroll salary: $15,000,000

Jeff Roberson/AP / Shutterstock.com

Michael Brantley

  • Age: 34
  • Position: Left field
  • Team: Houston Astros
  • Number of games played for current team: 148
  • Career wins above replacement: 27.21

2020 payroll salary: $16,000,000

Charlie Riedel/AP / Shutterstock.com

Ian Kennedy

  • Age: 36
  • Position: Relief pitcher
  • Team: Kansas City Royals
  • Number of games played for current team: 148
  • Career wins above replacement: 15.09

2020 payroll salary: $16,500,000

Gregory Bull/AP / Shutterstock.com

Anthony Rizzo

  • Age: 31
  • Position: First base
  • Team: Chicago Cubs
  • Number of games played for current team: 1,159
  • Career wins above replacement: 32.74

2020 payroll salary: $16,500,000

Wilfredo Lee/AP / Shutterstock.com

Yasmany Tomas

  • Age: 30
  • Position: Left field
  • Team: Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Number of games played for current team: 309
  • Career wins above replacement: -2.58

2020 payroll salary: $17,000,000

Ross D Franklin/AP / Shutterstock.com

Trevor Bauer

  • Age: 30
  • Position: Starting pitcher
  • Team: Cincinnati Reds
  • Number of games played for current team: 34
  • Career wins above replacement: 16.30

2020 payroll salary: $17,500,000

Ross D Franklin/AP / Shutterstock.com

Carlos Santana

  • Age: 35
  • Position: First base
  • Team: Cleveland Indians
  • Number of games played for current team: 1,275
  • Career wins above replacement: 30.50

2020 payroll salary: $17,500,000

Bruce Kluckhohn/AP / Shutterstock.com

Jake Odorizzi

  • Age: 31
  • Position: Starting pitcher
  • Team: Minnesota Twins
  • Number of games played for current team: 63
  • Career wins above replacement: 13.25

2020 payroll salary: $17,800,000

John Bazemore/AP / Shutterstock.com

Marcell Ozuna

  • Age: 30
  • Position: Left field
  • Team: Atlanta Braves
  • Number of games played for current team: 0
  • Career wins above replacement: 19.13

2020 payroll salary: $18,000,000

Charlie Riedel/AP / Shutterstock.com

Corey Kluber

  • Age: 35
  • Position: Starting pitcher
  • Team: Texas Rangers
  • Number of games played for current team: 0
  • Career wins above replacement: 33.22

2020 payroll salary: $18,000,000

Gregory Bull/AP / Shutterstock.com

Cole Hamels

  • Age: 37
  • Position: Starting pitcher
  • Team: Atlanta Braves
  • Number of games played for current team: 0
  • Career wins above replacement: 47.89

2020 payroll salary: $18,000,000

Tami Chappell/AP / Shutterstock.com

Mark Melancon

  • Age: 36
  • Position: Relief pitcher
  • Team: Atlanta Braves
  • Number of games played for current team: 67
  • Career wins above replacement: 9.46

2020 payroll salary: $19,000,000

John Bazemore/AP / Shutterstock.com

J.D. Martinez

  • Age: 33
  • Position: Designated hitter
  • Team: Boston Red Sox
  • Number of games played for current team: 298
  • Career wins above replacement: 22.19

2020 payroll salary: $19,350,000

Darron Cummings/AP / Shutterstock.com

Jeff Samardzija

  • Age: 36
  • Position: Starting pitcher
  • Team: San Francisco Giants
  • Number of games played for current team: 111
  • Career wins above replacement: 13.36

2020 payroll salary: $19,800,000

Frank Franklin II/AP / Shutterstock.com

Jake Arrieta

  • Age: 35
  • Position: Starting pitcher
  • Team: Philadelphia Phillies
  • Number of games played for current team: 55
  • Career wins above replacement: 23.37

2020 payroll salary: $20,000,000

Gregory Bull/AP / Shutterstock.com

Justin Turner

  • Age: 36
  • Position: Third base
  • Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Number of games played for current team: 755
  • Career wins above replacement: 28.11

2020 payroll salary: $20,000,000

Julio Cortez/AP / Shutterstock.com

Yadier Molina

  • Age: 38
  • Position: Catcher
  • Team: St. Louis Cardinals
  • Number of games played for current team: 1,976
  • Career wins above replacement: 36.39

2020 payroll salary: $20,000,000

Jeff Roberson/AP / Shutterstock.com

George Springer

  • Age: 31
  • Position: Center field
  • Team: Houston Astros
  • Number of games played for current team: 745
  • Career wins above replacement: 24.91

2020 payroll salary: $21,000,000

Charlie Riedel/AP / Shutterstock.com

Shin-Soo Choo

  • Age: 38
  • Position: Designated hitter
  • Team: Texas Rangers
  • Number of games played for current team: 766
  • Career wins above replacement: 33.64

2020 payroll salary: $21,000,000

Frank Franklin II/AP / Shutterstock.com

Masahiro Tanaka

  • Age: 32
  • Position: Starting pitcher
  • Team: New York Yankees
  • Number of games played for current team: 164
  • Career wins above replacement: 17.33

2020 payroll salary: $23,000,000

Paul Sancya/AP / Shutterstock.com

Jordan Zimmermann

  • Age: 35
  • Position: Starting pitcher
  • Team: Detroit Tigers
  • Number of games played for current team: 96
  • Career wins above replacement: 20.71

2020 payroll salary: $25,000,000

Gregory Bull/AP / Shutterstock.com

Mookie Betts

  • Age: 28
  • Position: Right field
  • Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Number of games played for current team: 0
  • Career wins above replacement: 41.98

2020 payroll salary: $27,000,000

Frank Franklin II/AP / Shutterstock.com

Giancarlo Stanton

  • Age: 31
  • Position: Designated hitter
  • Team: New York Yankees
  • Number of games played for current team: 177
  • Career wins above replacement: 36.78

2020 payroll salary: $29,000,000

JASON SZENES/EPA-EFE / Shutterstock.com

Yoenis Cespedes

  • Age: 35
  • Position: Left field
  • Team: New York Mets
  • Number of games played for current team: 251
  • Career wins above replacement: 16.74

2020 payroll salary: $29,500,000

More From GOBankingRates

Methodology: GOBankingRates used Spotrac data to find the 75 MLB players who might be missing their last season with their team due to the COVID-19 crisis. GOBankingRates found every player who would become a free agent in 2021, meaning the last year on their contracts were in 2020. Once these 211 MLB players with expiring contracts were found, GOBankingRates found their 2020 payroll salaries and averaged them together. The 75 players whose (1) 2020 payroll salary was above the average, were in addition given the following factors: (2) number of games played for their current team and (3) career wins above replacement (WAR). WAR is typically attributed as the number of additional wins his team has achieved above the number of expected team wins if that player were substituted with a replacement-level player. All data was collected and up to date as of April 22, 2020.