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Which jersey number will each team retire next?

@williamfleitch
August 18, 2019

There is something special, something immortal, about having your number retired. No matter what happens with your team, or the rest of your life really, no one will ever wear the number on their back that you did. It’s an almost indescribable honor. So, today, we take a look at

There is something special, something immortal, about having your number retired. No matter what happens with your team, or the rest of your life really, no one will ever wear the number on their back that you did. It’s an almost indescribable honor.

So, today, we take a look at the most likely active player to someday have their number retired for every team. As with when we did this last year, note the wording there: The player does have to be active, but he does not have to be actively playing at this specific moment for the team that will retire his number.

Some of these teams have a rule that they won't retire anyone's number who wasn't elected to the Hall of Fame. In this case, if there is no obvious Hall of Fame candidate, when necessary, we'll pick the player most likely to be inducted into the team's Hall of Fame. Here's our list.

American League East

Blue Jays: 27, Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

If the Blue Jays would have ever made that World Series during their peak a while back, we might have been tempted to go with Edwin Encarnacion, No. 10. Instead, we’ve got to go with the kid. (Last year’s pick: Jose Bautista, No. 19)

Orioles: 10, Adam Jones

Is Jones the most purely popular Oriole since Cal Ripken Jr.? It has been a delight to see him still have some life in his bat this year. (Last year’s pick: Jones)

Rays: 3, Evan Longoria

Longoria is without question the best player in the franchise’s 21-year history. The Rays have actually retired three numbers: Wade Boggs, Don Zimmer and, of course, Jackie Robinson. (Last year’s pick: Longoria)

Red Sox: 50, Mookie Betts

Last year we guessed Dustin Pedroia, but his injury issues have probably moved him entirely out of the conversation … and Betts is about two years away from passing him in career WAR. (Last year’s pick: Pedroia, No. 15)

Yankees: 52, CC Sabathia

Sabathia has grown so beloved in his last few seasons in The Bronx, and by reaching 3,000 strikeouts he’s looking more and more like a Hall of Famer. And it’s not like the Yanks are bashful about retiring numbers. (Last year’s pick: Aaron Judge, 99)

AL Central

Indians: 28, Corey Kluber

If Francisco Lindor (eligible for free agency after the 2021 season) signs a long-term deal, he’s obviously the answer here. But do you think he’s going to re-sign? (Last year’s pick: Lindor, No. 12)

Royals: 13, Salvador Perez

Perez is still somehow not 30 yet, and he’s the one guy who was a part of the last contending Royals team and will also be a part of the next one. (Last year’s pick: Perez)

Tigers: 24, Miguel Cabrera

It is still going to be a long, long time until this actually happens. (Last year’s pick: Cabrera)

Twins: 25, Byron Buxton

This is a lot harder now that Joe Mauer has retired, but we’ll go with the guy who is still somehow 25 years old and apparently indispensable to his team. (Last year’s pick: Joe Mauer, No. 7)

White Sox: 49, Chris Sale

We don’t actually think the White Sox will retire Sale’s number, but we’re also not yet ready to give this to Yoán Moncada or Eloy Jiménez either. (Last year’s pick: Sale)

AL West

Angels: 27, Mike Trout

It is essentially already retired. (Last year’s pick: Trout)

Astros: 27, José Altuve

For all the great players on this team, he’s the one we’ll all associate most closely with this team. (Last year’s pick: Altuve)

Athletics: 26, Matt Chapman

If he signs a long-term deal -- and this has to be the priority for everything the A’s are doing -- he could be a stealth Hall of Fame candidate in a few years. (Last year’s pick: Chapman)

Mariners: 34, Felix Hernandez

The only question remaining: What happens to him this offseason when he becomes a free agent? (Last year’s pick: Ichiro, No. 51)

Rangers: 1, Elvis Andrus

He’s one of the top 10 players in franchise history, and he still has many, many years in Arlington to come. (Last year’s pick: Adrian Beltre, No. 29)

National League East

Braves: 5, Freddie Freeman

If Freeman can get the Braves to a World Series at some point, he’ll be a Braves legend forever. (Last year’s pick: Freeman)

Marlins: 27, Giancarlo Stanton

The way things are going in The Bronx so far … we may end up remembering him as a Marlin first. (Last year’s pick: Stanton)

Mets: 48, Jacob deGrom

Did you realize deGrom is already the sixth-best Met ever by bWAR? He passed Carlos Beltran this season. (Last year’s pick: David Wright, No. 5)

Nationals: 31, Max Scherzer

Scherzer is pretty clearly a Hall of Famer now, yes? (Last year’s pick: Scherzer)

Phillies: 3, Bryce Harper

Put it this way: After 13 years, Harper better have his number retired. (Last year’s pick: Chase Utley, No. 26)

NL Central

Brewers: 22, Christian Yelich

It’s sort of sad this isn’t Ryan Braun, isn’t it? But at this point, Yelich is the pick. (Last year’s pick: Braun, No. 8)

Cardinals: 4, Yadier Molina

The question here is: Who’s going to retire first, Yadier Molina or Albert Pujols? This is just a guess. (Last year’s pick: Pujols, No. 5)

Cubs: 44, Anthony Rizzo

If Kris Bryant -- a free agent after the 2021 season -- signs an extension with the Cubs, it might be him. But Rizzo is the guy who touched the ball last when the Cubs won the World Series, and he was a Cub before it was cool to be a Cub. Fun subplot to monitor: Rizzo has club options for 2020 and '21 that are likely to be picked up, but can you imagine if he and Bryant left as free agents in the same winter? (Last year’s pick: Bryant, No. 17)

Pirates: 22, Andrew McCutchen

The way things are going in Pittsburgh right now, McCutchen may be responsible for the best memories here for a while. (Last year’s pick: McCutchen)

Reds: 19, Joey Votto

It has been a down year for him, but Votto is still Votto and will always be Votto. (Last year’s pick: Votto)

NL West

D-backs: 44, Paul Goldschmidt

Goldy won’t be a D-back his entire career like Arizona fans might have hoped, but he’ll be beloved here forever. (Last year’s pick: Goldschmidt)

Dodgers: 22, Clayton Kershaw

His 22 will go down as one of the most iconic Dodgers numbers of all time. (Last year’s pick: Kershaw)

Giants: 40, Madison Bumgarner

They’ll end up retiring both his and Buster Posey’s numbers. As with Molina and Pujols, this is more of a guess regarding who retires first. Could go either way. (Last year’s pick: Posey, No. 28)

Padres: 23, Fernando Tatis Jr.

Too early? Probably. But he’s on pace to be one of the 20 best Padres by WAR of all time next year. (Last year’s pick: Tatis, and he hadn’t even played an MLB game yet!)

Rockies: 28, Nolan Arenado

Arenado's contract extension this winter essentially assured this of happening. (Last year’s pick: Arenado)