Athletes are known to be very competitive, because it is what makes them great at what they do. Unfortunately for all of them, there’s an opponent they will never be able to defeat: time. As athletes get older their skills begin to diminish, and although not all of them age at the same rate, the end result is always the same. In baseball, some athletes are able to hang on longer than their counterparts in other sports, but they too eventually have to hang up their boots.
With half way into the 2015 MLB betting season, here is a look at some of the players who have entered their declining years.
MLB Betting: Stars Who Have Entered Decline Years
Last season David Ortiz got off to a slow start, which prompted writers to say that he was in decline. He responded by finishing the season with 35 home runs and 104 RBIs, making it the second consecutive season he finished with 30 or more home runs and over 100 RBIs. This season, it seems like those predictions from last year are finally coming true: Ortiz is batting a low .232, with 10 home runs and 31 RBIs. While he is on pace to hit over 20 home runs for the 13th consecutive season, he isn’t the dominant player he once was.
Rollins was a very productive player during his career with the Philadelphia Phillies, winning multiple Gold Gloves and the 2007 NL MVP award. This season, he finds himself in a totally different situation: Rollins is currently hitting in the bottom of the order in Los Angeles, after being a lead-off hitter his whole career. He is currently batting a career low .207, with 7 home runs and 18 RBI. His offense isn’t the only part of his game that is off this season, his defense has also been poor, and if he doesn’t improve his productivity by the end of the year, he might have to consider retirement in the offseason.
This might be a bit of a reach since he is younger than the other guys on the list, but his production has noticeably dropped this season. Cano was a .300 batter with 20 or more home runs and at least 80 RBIs in his last five seasons with the New York Yankees, but since he signed with the Seattle Mariners, he hasn’t looked like the same player. Last season, he still hit over .300, but his home runs and RBIs dipped, and this season they have dipped some more. His batting average of .246 is the lowest he ever hit in his career with 3 home runs and 23 RBIs. Those numbers aren’t good enough for a player who just signed a $240 million contract, and he will need a monster second half to salvage his terrible season… which isn’t very likely to happen.
When it comes to players being affected by age, Chase Utley has to be the player most affected this season. Utley, who is considered a hero to a lot of people in Philadelphia thanks to his work ethic and heroics during the 2008 World Series, has been unable to get anything going this season. In the 65 games he has played, he is batting a paltry .179 with 4 home runs and 25 RBIs and a -1.3 WAR. What makes his decline so surprising is the fact that he had a pretty decent season in 2014, finishing the year with a .270 batting average, 11 home runs and 78 RBIs, which were the most runs he had batted in during a single season since 2009.
At this point, there are no indications that Utley can bounce back from his slow start and still finish the year with decent numbers. While Philadelphia fans are hoping that 2015 is an aberration, it is looking more like father time has finally caught up to Utley, and the best thing he can do for his career and legacy at this point is to consider retirement when the season is over.
Some Final Thoughts
A big problem that a lot of athletes have is learning when to walk away from the game. Hopefully, the players that know they are done will hang it up after the season instead of hanging on too long and looking like a shell of their former selves.