The 10 oldest players in baseball in 2024

March 24th, 2024

You know you’re getting older, becoming a real grown-up, when you realize you’re the same age as Major League Baseball players. Then it dawns on you that players your age are considered “grizzled veterans.” And then, eventually, there’s no one your age who is still active in MLB. Then you are officially old.

Marking your age by how it compares to MLB players is a risky proposition; I’m still reeling from the fact that Placido Polanco -- a former big leaguer who was born on Oct. 10, 1975, the same day as me -- has been retired since 2013. But life moves on, inexorably, regardless.

The good news for wretches like us is that there still are some old guys hanging around. Now that the season is upon us, we take our annual look at the 10 oldest players in MLB.

To qualify for this list, players simply must be with a Major League team this spring, and that includes a spot on the injured list or as a non-roster invitee. (And we old people know how it is to always feel injured.) Not included on this list are some guys still searching for a team, including the unsigned-but-not-yet-retired (born March 11, 1980) and (Oct. 21, 1983). Hopefully someone will sign one of those guys, and soon.

Note: Each player is listed with his age on Opening Day.

1. Justin Verlander, RHP, Astros (age 41)
Born: Feb. 20, 1983 | 1st season: 2005

Count the three-time Cy Young Award-winning Verlander among the many human beings cheering for someone to sign the 44-year-old Hill. If no one does, with the retirements of Nelson Cruz and Adam Wainwright, it’s Verlander who will stand as the oldest active MLB player. It is, to say the least, rather impressive that Verlander, despite that label, is just one season removed from his most recent Cy. Verlander won’t be ready for Opening Day, but he’s facing hitters and will be back on the mound before you know it. The way he pitches, he may stay atop this list for many years to come.

2. Joey Votto, 1B, Blue Jays (age 40)
Born: Sept. 10, 1983 | 1st season: 2007

Thank goodness, the party isn’t over just yet. Votto’s return to his home country of Canada to try to earn a Major League role with the Blue Jays -- essentially, to relive how his baseball story started -- is primed to be one of the most inspiring, feel-good stories of the season. It’s also worth remembering that Votto was getting down-ballot MVP votes as recently as 2021, and he still thinks there’s life in that bat. We see little reason not to believe him. No matter what, we can’t wait to watch.

3. Charlie Morton, RHP, Braves (age 40)
Born: Nov. 12, 1983 | 1st season: 2008

A year after he took a slight step back with his first below-average full season since he was with the Pirates, Morton returned to form in 2023, putting up a 3.62 ERA across 163 1/3 innings for a Braves team that was scoring runs at a record pace. In other words, Morton was doing exactly what his team asked him to do. He’ll make $20 million this year to try to do it again for the Braves, and who is to say he won’t?

4. Max Scherzer, RHP, Rangers (age 39)
Born: July 27, 1984 | 1st season: 2008

It’s pretty cool when you’re 39 years old, and the entire league feels turned upside down when you get traded at the Deadline … and it’s particularly cool when that trade leads to you winning your second World Series ring. Scherzer lost a little oomph last year, but he did famously pitch three scoreless innings in the World Series, and the Rangers are clearly thrilled to have him return this June after having back surgery. Frankly, Scherzer seems ageless to us: He could be 92 years old, and we’d still be terrified watching him stare down the mound at us.

5. Justin Turner, DH, Blue Jays (age 39)
Born: Nov. 23, 1984 | 1st season: 2009

OK, fine: Turner is not, in fact, Shohei Ohtani. Even though he ostensibly was brought in to be the Blue Jays’ designated hitter -- a role all of Toronto once dreamed of Ohtani filling -- it is (obviously) not reasonable to expect him to put up Ohtani numbers. But boy, you sure could do a lot worse at DH than Turner, who did for Boston last year what he had done for the Dodgers over nearly a decade: Hit the ball consistently, in a way that remains extremely serviceable. He launched 23 homers for the Sox, and he set a career high in RBIs with 96. The glove might not hold up the way it once did, but the bat forever plays.

6. David Robertson, RHP, Rangers (age 38)
Born: April 9, 1985 | 1st season: 2008

Our favorite factoid about Robertson is that he has been in the unenviable position of replacing a beloved New York team’s closer twice: Mariano Rivera in 2014 and Edwin Díaz in ‘23. Robertson did splendidly at both, two highlights in an impressive career. He has 175 career saves, which is ranked 72nd all-time, to go along with a 2.90 lifetime ERA. He struggled a bit after being traded to the Marlins at the Deadline last year, but the Rangers signed him to help fill out a bullpen that could always use another arm. It’s a good sign when the defending champs can’t wait to bring you in -- we should all be so fortunate at the age of 38.

7. Daniel Bard, RHP, Rockies (age 38)
Born: June 25, 1985 | 1st season: 2009

There are inspiring stories, and then there is Bard’s. Even if you already know the story, it’s worth thinking about again. Drafted in the first round by the Red Sox in 2006, he became a dominant reliever in Boston, once putting together 25 consecutive scoreless appearances, before losing his control in confounding fashion. He ended up retiring in ‘17 (after not having pitched in the Majors since ‘13) and worked as a mentor to players before rediscovering his control and returning in his mid-30s as a closer for the Rockies during the COVID-shortened ‘20 season. He has saved 61 games for the Rockies in the past four seasons, and when he returns from the knee surgery he had in February, he’ll likely be right out there closing games again. Bard is forever a reminder that every day is a gift.

8. Adam Ottavino, RHP, Mets (age 38)
Born: Nov. 22, 1985 | 1st season: 2010

He never got the chance to strike out Babe Ruth, but Ottavino has more than held his own during his two tours of duty in New York, first with the Yankees (when he made his infamous Ruth comments to my colleague Mike Petriello) and now with the Mets. He was a spin-rate darling before people even knew what spin-rate darlings are, and he keeps doing it year after year; he has basically been a terrific reliever every single year of his career, save the truncated 2020 season. He only has three more years left to pitch to outlast the Bambino, who retired at 40.

9. Matt Carpenter, DH, Cardinals (age 38)
Born: Nov. 26, 1985 | 1st season: 2011

The Cardinals have been the kings of this list over the last decade with Albert Pujols, Wainwright and Yadier Molina. So it should perhaps not be surprising they brought back Carpenter, a man who played in three All-Star Games and once finished as high as fourth in MVP voting for the team. He made his debut with that 2011 team that won the World Series, though he didn’t have much to do with it: He went 1-for-15 that season. (He still got a ring.) He returns to the Cardinals as a veteran presence meant to guide a team that didn’t have much clubhouse leadership, though it’ll help if he can hit. He’s not alone in this role: He’s only 14 months older than new teammate Brandon Crawford.

10. Carlos Santana, 1B/DH, Twins (age 37)
Born: April 8, 1986 | 1st season: 2010

Santana has always been a little underappreciated throughout his 14-year career. He's had two 34-homer seasons -- he reached the 300-homer milestone last year -- and has led the league in walks twice. His batting eye has always been his superpower, with a career .356 OBP, including a .397 figure with Cleveland in 2019, his best season. The Pirates traded him to Milwaukee at the Deadline last year, and now he's back in the AL Central, where he spent 10 seasons with Cleveland and parts of two more with the Royals.