Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

Cardinals News arrow-downArrow Down icon Arrow Up icon

The longest-tenured player on each club

@williamfleitch
January 11, 2021

Though the Hot Stove has been rather quiet so far (with a few exceptions from the Mets and Padres), there’s no question that eventually something will happen, and the rosters of your favorite team will shuffle and reorganize faster than you realize. That 2015 Royals team, the one that won

Though the Hot Stove has been rather quiet so far (with a few exceptions from the Mets and Padres), there’s no question that eventually something will happen, and the rosters of your favorite team will shuffle and reorganize faster than you realize. That 2015 Royals team, the one that won the World Series? There are only three players who played on that team who are on the 2021 roster, and one of them, Greg Holland, left and just came back. Our teams are constantly shifting and transforming into something different, whether we realize it or not.

Thus, today at The Thirty, we look at the rare constants for each team: The players who have been with their current organizations the longest. It’s not the longest they’ve been in the big leagues: It’s the longest they’ve been a part of their current franchises without leaving. They have to be on the big league roster right now, as well. They’re the franchise greybeards. And they’re probably a lot younger than you think.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Blue Jays: Ryan Borucki
Date acquired:
June 5, 2012
Seasons with organization in 2021: 10
How young are the Blue Jays? The longest-tenured player, drafted in 2012, is a 26-year-old middle reliever.

Orioles: Chris Davis
Date acquired:
July 30, 2011
Seasons with organization in 2021: 11
He’s still here, and he still has one more year under contract after 2021. Though, the way '20 went, you have to wonder how much stomach the Orioles have for continuing to keep him around.

Rays: Kevin Kiermaier
Date acquired:
June 9, 2010
Seasons with organization in 2021: 12
The perpetually dynamic and shifting Rays are hardly known for the longevity of players on their roster, but Kiermaier always seems to hang around. According to bWAR, he’s the fourth-best player in Rays history.

Red Sox: Christian Vázquez
Date acquired:
June 5, 2008
Seasons with organization in 2021: 14
Assuming you do not count Dustin Pedroia, the longest-tenured player, amazingly, is Vázquez, who was drafted way back in 2008.

Yankees: Kyle Higashioka
Date acquired:
June 5, 2008
Seasons with organization in 2021: 14
Amazing, right? Higashioka, who has played only 72 games in pinstripes, has been bouncing around the Yankees' organization since they drafted him in the seventh round back in 2008.

AL CENTRAL

Indians: Roberto Pérez
Date acquired:
June 5, 2008
Seasons with organization in 2021: 14
There’s a clear spot for catchers on this list, and that makes sense: They are pillars of organizations, a foundation for so many other things.

Royals: Salvador Perez
Date acquired:
Oct. 10, 2006
Seasons with organization in 2021: 15
The veteran is still only 30 years old and coming off his best offensive season. He’ll be a very intriguing free agent after 2021.

Tigers: Miguel Cabrera
Date acquired:
Dec. 4, 2007
Seasons with organization in 2021: 14
The Marlins traded him to the Tigers in 2007, he signed a second long-term deal in '16 and he’ll be in Detroit through '23.

Twins: Max Kepler
Date acquired:
July 11, 2009
Seasons with organization in 2021: 13
Kepler was actually 16 years old when the Twins signed him out of Germany; he was awarded the largest signing bonus ever for a European-born player.

White Sox: Tim Anderson
Date acquired:
June 6, 2013
Seasons with organization in 2021: 9
Like everyone else on the White Sox, he became part of the organization after his new manager, Tony La Russa, last wore a uniform.

AL WEST

Angels: Mike Trout
Date acquired:
June 9, 2009
Seasons with organization in 2021: 13
You know who the next longest-tenured Angels player is? Albert Pujols.

Athletics: Matt Olson
Date acquired:
June 4, 2012
Seasons with organization in 2021: 10
Olson is a year younger than his fellow Matt on the A’s, Matt Chapman, but the former was drafted two years earlier. (They both went in the first round.)

Astros: Jose Altuve
Date acquired:
March 6, 2007
Seasons with organization in 2021: 15
He’s the only guy who is still left from the last-place days, and he’ll be there for the next turn in the Astros' story.

Mariners: Kyle Seager
Date acquired:
June 9, 2009
Seasons with organization in 2021: 13
The question here is how much longer will he stay with the only organization he has ever known.

Rangers: Elvis Andrus
Date acquired:
July 31, 2007
Seasons with organization in 2021: 15
Andrus has been with the Rangers so long he was traded to the Rangers for Mark Teixeira before Teixeira signed that massive contract with the Yankees.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Braves: Freddie Freeman
Date acquired:
June 7, 2007
Seasons with organization in 2021: 15
After the year he just had, Freeman's starting to reach Dale Murphy territory in the annals of beloved Braves players.

Marlins: Brian Anderson
Date acquired:
June 6, 2014
Seasons with organization in 2021: 8
He was a third-round pick back in 2014, which basically makes him Cal Ripken Jr. in this organization.

Mets: Steven Matz
Date acquired:
June 9, 2009
Seasons with organization in 2021: 13
Yep, he’s three years younger than his more heralded rotation mate Jacob deGrom, but Matz was drafted one year before the two-time Cy Young Award winner (and seven rounds earlier).

Nationals: Stephen Strasburg
Date acquired:
June 9, 2009
Seasons with organization in 2021: 13
Along with free agent Ryan Zimmerman (who would take over this title if he ends up returning), Strasburg is essentially the entire history of this organization in its current form.

Phillies: Héctor Neris
Date acquired:
April 29, 2010
Seasons with organization in 2021: 12
Signed out of the Dominican Republic right at the beginning of the last decade, the 31-year-old is the third-oldest player on the team.

NL CENTRAL

Brewers: Orlando Arcia
Date acquired:
Oct. 22, 2010
Seasons with organization in 2021: 12
For the first time in a very long time, the answer here is not “Ryan Braun.” That said, Braun -- drafted by the Brewers in 2005 -- could still end up returning to the only organization he has ever known.

Cardinals: Matt Carpenter
Date acquired:
June 9, 2009
Seasons with organization in 2021: 13
It sure feels like at any minute now, this is going to go back to being Yadier Molina (currently a free agent). Right?

Cubs: Willson Contreras
Date acquired:
July 2, 2009
Seasons with organization in 2021: 13
Yep, he was here before anyone else currently on the roster, signed out of Venezuela in 2009, if you can believe that.

Pirates: Gregory Polanco
Date acquired:
March 25, 2009
Seasons with organization in 2021: 13
It has been an up-and-down ride for Polanco, who will finally turn 30 years old in September. Will he do it while still in a Pirates uniform?

Reds: Joey Votto
Date acquired:
June 4, 2002
Seasons with organization in 2021: 20
Drafted by the Reds during the 2002 season, he’s about to enter his 19th full season -- and 20th overall -- with the organization.

NL WEST

D-backs: Nick Ahmed
Date acquired:
Jan. 24, 2013
Seasons with organization in 2021: 9
Ahmed was part of the Justin Upton trade with the Braves so long ago. (OK, 2013.)

Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw
Date acquired:
June 6, 2006
Seasons with organization in 2021: 16
And now, 15 years after the Dodgers drafted him in the first round, Kershaw has done what they brought him in to do: Win a World Series.

Giants: Buster Posey
Date acquired:
June 5, 2008
Seasons with organization in 2021: 14
He came to the organization in the same Draft that brought in Brandon Crawford, but Posey was picked three rounds earlier.

Padres: Dinelson Lamet
Date acquired:
June 10, 2014
Seasons with organization in 2021: 8
Pretty much the last guy this side of Fernando Tatis Jr. you would have thought, right? He was signed out of the Dominican Republic as a teenager six months before the Padres traded for Wil Myers.

Rockies: Charlie Blackmon
Date acquired:
June 5, 2008
Seasons with organization in 2021: 14
He was drafted one year before Nolan Arenado, but Blackmon is five years older.