Teams are relying on their young prospects earlier into their careers than they ever have before. With the influx of young talent older players are having to retire earlier than they expected. Here are some players who will hang up the cleats before Opening Day.
6. Ryan Howard
Most baseball fans think that Ryan Howard already retired from baseball but that is not the case. Howard spent last year playing in the minor leagues with the Braves and later the Rockies, never coming close to being promoted to the majors. Howard is still a free agent hoping for a chance to play in the show again, but he will most likely never get that chance.
5. Chase Utley
Chase Utley may join his former teammate in retirement before the start of this season. While Utley was able to stay in the big leagues, unlike Ryan Howard, he has not been the all star player that he once was. Utley and Howard's careers have always been linked as they brought Philadelphia its first championship in over 25 years back in 2008, so it would be fitting for them to retire together.
4. Jayson Werth
The caveman that was planted in left field for the Nationals during the last seven seasons may have played his last game. Jayson Werth has not been a very good player for a few years now, as his big contract dictated his playing time more than his play on field did. After hitting just .226 and only hitting 10 home runs, Werth is not highly coveted on the free agent market.
3. Bartolo Colon
We will hate to see Big Sexy go but it might be time for the 44 year old. Bartolo Colon had a horrible season last year. His time with the Braves was a train-wreck and while he was decent in his starts with the Twins, there are not teams lined up for his services. Colon wanted to break Juan Marichal's record for most all-time wins by a Dominican born pitcher, but he might have to settle for second place on that list.
2. Curtis Granderson
Curtis Granderson is the one guy on this list that has the best chance to play in 2018 if he wants too. Granderson hit 26 long balls last year and he has hit 20 or more homers in the last four seasons. What might force the "Grandy Man" to retire is that he will be 37 next year and was truly awful in his stint with the Dodgers to end the season. In LA he hit well below the mendoza line and was left off the World Series roster.
Ichiro might not officially retire but he also might not play Major League Baseball again. Ichiro has said that he would like to play until he is 50 but MLB teams may not allow him to do so. Ichiro had a great first half in 2016 where he was hitting over .300 but fell off down the stretch of that season and struggled last year. Outfielders in there 40s rarely get signed, so Ichiro may be unofficially retired by Opening Day.