Ten players at a career crossroads

Updated: January 21, 2011, 9:50 AM ET
By Buster Olney

Delmon Young was at a career crossroads during the 2009 season, because the risk/reward equation on him was shifting; as he was climbing the arbitration scale he was becoming more expensive, and the Twins were moving closer to the time when their patient wait for him to blossom could end.

But Young got some big hits for the Twins as they made their push into the playoffs in 2009, and last year, he ascended, hitting .298, with 21 homers and 112 RBIs.

Here are 10 players who, like Young a couple of years ago, are facing career crossroads:

1. Jose Reyes. The Mets' shortstop played in 133 games last year, after being on the field for only 36 in 2009, and he again demonstrated the kind of damage he can do, racking up 50 extra-base hits and stealing 30 bases. Reyes is a free agent at the end of this season, and if he stays healthy and has a big year, the payoff for him could be immediate and enormous; remember, in 2008, Reyes had 204 hits, including 72 extra-base hits, and had 56 steals in 71 attempts. If he generates that kind of production again, he could put himself in position for a nine-figure payoff. But if Reyes were taken down by injuries again, this would go a long way toward shaping the perception of him around the game. Perhaps no player has more at stake than Reyes in 2011.