Joey Gathright, outfielder/pinch runner
Is his career finished?
I don’t think so. Joey Gathright is an unusual player; given today’s roster-composition practices, he has a very difficult time making a 25-man roster; but he can be extremely useful to a contending team once rosters expand in September.
Gathright has plus-plus speed, and he also has figured out how to use his speed effectively on offense (he steals bases, he is a very good drag bunter, he doesn’t try to hit home runs, etc.) His speed gives him terrific range in the outfield. On the other hand, he has zero power, and he has so little power that pitchers aren’t afraid to groove pitches, so it’s hard for him to draw walks. While he has good range in the outfield, he has a weak arm, so he’s really just an average defensive player overall. On a twenty-five man roster with twelve pitchers, you can’t carry a guy with that skill set — he’s really just a pinch-runner. Sort of a poor man’s late-career Willie Wilson.
But when rosters expand, contending teams can use pinch runners. If you’ve got forty roster spots (really, teams don’t carry more than 35 or so, but still …) you can use one of them for a pinch-runner for those times when you really NEED one. When you add that he can be an adequate outfield fill-in for a game, and that even the best farm systems can always use a guy like Gathright on their AAA team, a contending team like the Yankees, Red Sox, or Phillies should sign him to an AAA contract planning to add him to the roster in September.