In recent weeks I have recommended countless players from the waiver wire in our twice-weekly pickups columns. But roster space is limited, and for every player you add, someone needs to go. At this point in the season we need to make tough roster decisions and cut some players who have been mainstays but cannot help us in the final weeks.
Here is a long list of players who are options to be dropped. To be clear, I’m not saying that you must drop these players, but rather that they should be assessed against the options on your waiver wire.
Mike Trout (OF, 96 percent rostered)
The odds are high that Trout is done for the season, and any return he makes will be a short one. Unless you have IL room, there’s no need to wait for a few games of Trout.
Justin Turner (3B, 92 percent)
Since August 1, Turner has hit .215 with a .620 OPS. The veteran has been good overall this season, but he could be shipped to waivers by teams who have different needs (speed or pitching) in shallow leagues.
Jake Cronenworth (1B/2B/SS, 90 percent)
Cronenworth scores plenty of runs but isn’t special in any other area and has hit .247 with zero steals in the second half.
Joey Gallo (OF, 85 percent)
One of baseball’s most inconsistent players, Gallo is running out of time to turn around his disastrous performance as a member of the Yankees (.130/.291/.325 slash line).
Gleyber Torres (2B/SS, 76 percent)
Since the start of 2020, Torres has produced nine homers, 59 RBIs, 54 runs and a .250 average in 145 games. Those aren’t mixed-league worthy numbers.
Gary Sanchez (C, 72 percent)
Following a June surge, Sanchez has returned to being a fantasy disappointment (6 HR, .176 BA) since July 1.
Tommy Pham (OF, 59 percent)
Usually a power-speed threat, Pham has hit .198 with four homers and one steal since July 1. On the wrong side of 30 and having also struggled in 2020, Pham may no longer be a mixed-league asset.
Adam Frazier (2B/OF, 58 percent)
Since joining the Padres at the Trade Deadline, Frazier has hit .227 with a .555 OPS. Lacking power and speed, he should be on waivers in all mixed leagues.
Yadier Molina, (C, 57 percent)
After thriving in April, Molina has hit .234 with four homers and 24 runs scored since May 1. There are likely catchers on your waiver wire who have been noticeably better.
Rhys Hoskins (1B, 55 percent)
Hoskins is set to undergo abdominal surgery and miss the rest of the season.
Eric Hosmer (1B, 54 percent)
Hosmer can help your batting average but has not produced more than three homers in any month this season and has swiped just one base since the beginning of June. You can surely do better with your CI spot.
Sean Murphy (C, 52 percent)
Murphy hasn’t hit .230 in any month this season and needs to be dropped by anyone who still cares about their team’s batting average.
Lance Lynn (SP, 98 percent)
I would keep Lynn in most leagues, but he is currently on the IL and the White Sox have a large division lead. Chicago could bring him along slowly and have him make only a couple late-September starts in preparation for the postseason.
Yu Darvish (SP, 96 percent)
In eight starts since July 1, Darvish has gone 0-7 with a 7.57 ERA. I would give him another chance in leagues where I have nothing to lose but not in situations where I’m managing my ratios.
Shane Bieber (SP, 95 percent)
Bieber is at the stage of throwing simulated games and could make it back for a couple starts on a team that is out of contention. In most situations, he won’t provide enough help to be worth waiting for.
Jacob deGrom (SP, 93 percent)
deGrom was recently spotted playing catch but is running out of time and likely won’t make additional 2021 starts.
Kyle Hendricks (SP, 89 percent)
Hendricks has hurt your ERA (4.65) and WHIP (1.36) this season and especially during his past five starts (9.69 ERA, 1.69 WHIP). He also strikes out few batters (6.6 K/9 rate) and can’t be expected to significantly add to his fluky win total (14) on a non-contending team.
Jack Flaherty (SP, 89 percent)
The Cardinals are hoping Flaherty (strained shoulder) can help them in some capacity in late September, but you can use the waiver wire to find someone who can help you right now.
Alex Reyes (RP, 80 percent)
There is no reason to roster Reyes now that his control woes (6.6 BB/9 rate) have caused him to be removed from the Cardinals ninth-inning gig.
John Means (SP, 81 percent)
Means has been unimpressive (5.21 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 7.5 K/9 rate) in nine starts since returning from the IL. Additionally, he will have a hard time picking up wins on a last-place Baltimore squad.
Pablo Lopez (SP, 78 percent)
Lopez continues to suffer setbacks in his rehab from a shoulder injury and is unlikely to make it back to Miami’s rotation this season.
Matt Barnes (RP, 73 percent)
There is a small chance that Barnes could regain the Red Sox closer’s role at some point in September, but in most leagues there are waiver wire options who are getting saves right now.
Trevor Bauer (SP, 63 percent)
Bauer’s administrative leave has been extended once again, this time until September 10. He isn’t coming back this year.
Chris Bassitt (SP, 64 percent)
Bassitt underwent facial surgery on August 24 after being struck by a line drive. He won’t pitch again in 2021.
Diego Castillo (RP, 61 percent)
Part of a three-headed closer committee in Seattle, Castillo will likely get only 2-3 more saves.