Here’s a fun trivia question: What players have been with their current teams, and only their current teams, for longer than 10 years? The answer: 12, according to MLB.com’s Matt Kelly. That’s an incredibly low number. It’s just a shifting, different game.
But you’re still watching history every time you watch a baseball game (when there are baseball games). So, today, we take a look at the player on every team who is his franchise’s active leader in Baseball-Reference’s version of WAR. Some of them are on their franchise’s all-time top 10 list, and some of them are just newcomers that happen to have been in town longer than the other newcomers. But here’s each guy, for now, who has produced the most history for his current team.
Important note: We are only including players currently on the team, and only counting the WAR they have accrued for that team. So, even though Manny Machado accrued more WAR with the Orioles (31.6) than Chris Davis, we’re going with Davis since Machado (although still active) is no longer on the team.
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Blue Jays -- Cavan Biggio, 2B (2.9 WAR): This is kind of an amazing statistic, no? Biggio was second on the team in WAR his rookie year, behind only Marcus Stroman, who was traded to the Mets midseason. Despite playing for the Blue Jays for two years rather than Biggio’s one, Randal Grichuk is behind him at 2.7. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will surely pass them both this year.
Orioles -- Chris Davis, 1B (12.5 WAR): It has been a rough couple of years for Davis, but hopefully his strong performance in Spring Training this year is a sign of a bounceback to come.
Rays -- Kevin Kiermaier, OF (25.7 WAR): Keirmaier’s defense, of course, has been his calling card, but it’s worth noting that despite this impressive figure, he’s still not even 30 years old.
Red Sox -- Dustin Pedroia, 2B (51.6 WAR): Pedroia isn’t officially retired, and hey, maybe he’ll get one last chance to say goodbye. Next on the list is Xander Bogaerts at 21.5.
Yankees -- Brett Gardner, OF (42.3 WAR): If he stays healthy this year, he’ll pass Jorge Posada to make the list of the top 20 Yankees of all time.
AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL
Indians -- Carlos Santana, 1B (28.9 WAR): It’s a bit of a surprise to see Santana above Francisco Lindor on this list, but remember, other than that year with Philadelphia, he has been in Cleveland since 2010.
Royals -- Alex Gordon, OF (35.1 WAR): Gordon not only played out his entire long contract in Kansas City, he’ll be back this year to help tutor the young players. You’re never getting him out of here.
Tigers -- Miguel Cabrera, DH (51.3 WAR): Cabrera has obviously slowed down in recent years, but when he’s healthy, he still hits. And he’ll be here for a while.
Twins -- Max Kepler, OF (11.5 WAR): The second half of the last decade for the Twins had so much turnaround that a lot of young players are going to be tossing this title back and forth over the next few years, one suspects.
White Sox -- José Abreu, 1B (20.9 WAR): Even as the team gets younger and more vibrant around him, Abreu remains, the center of everything on the South Side.
AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST
Angels -- Mike Trout, OF (72.8 WAR): If you’re curious, second place is Andrelton Simmons, at 20.4.
Astros -- José Altuve, 2B (36.7 WAR): Everyone may have their own thoughts in the wake of the sign-stealing scandal, but Altuve’s place in Astros lore is very much assured.
Athletics -- Marcus Semien, SS (20.5 WAR): Matt Chapman is hot on his tail, but it’s Semien who finished in the top three in AL MVP Award voting last year, not Chapman.
Mariners -- Kyle Seager, 3B (32.5 WAR): It’s sad not to have the answer be Félix Hernández here anymore. If Seager gets traded, the leader is … Mitch Haniger.
Rangers -- Elvis Andrus, SS (30.9 WAR): Andrus has been with the Rangers forever, really, and he probably still has several years left to go.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Braves -- Freddie Freeman, 1B (35.7 WAR): Freeman has been a part of every permutation of the Braves for a full decade now, and he’s still central to this one as well.
Marlins -- Brian Anderson, OF (6.7 WAR): Anderson, who made his debut in 2017, is essentially a veteran in Marlins circles now.
Mets -- Jacob deGrom, RHP (35.5 WAR): deGrom should pass Jerry Koosman and Darryl Strawberry to become the fourth-best Met by WAR of all time this year, behind only Tom Seaver, David Wright and Dwight Gooden.
Nationals -- Ryan Zimmerman, 1B (38.5 WAR): The original Nat is still hanging on ahead of Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, for now.
Phillies -- Aaron Nola, RHP (19.4 WAR): There is a good chance he could hold this lead for a while.
NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL
Brewers -- Ryan Braun, 1B (46.8 WAR): We now know that Christian Yelich is going to be around long enough to probably pass him someday.
Cardinals -- Yadier Molina, C (40.1 WAR): This becomes all the more impressive when you consider how much of catching isn’t quantifiable by WAR.
Cubs -- Anthony Rizzo, 1B (33.9 WAR): As if he wasn’t cemented enough in Cubs history already for being the guy who caught the last out of the 2016 World Series.
Pirates -- Jameson Taillon, RHP (8.2 WAR): Taillon has been great, and a great story, but this sure tells you a lot about the last few years of the Pirates.
Reds -- Joey Votto, 1B (62.0 WAR): Votto will be one of the more divisive Hall of Fame arguments in a few years. Bouncing back from his rough 2019 would help.
NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
D-backs -- David Peralta, OF (13.2 WAR): Peralta, a former Minor League pitcher, remains one of the more quietly remarkable baseball stories over the last half decade.
Dodgers -- Clayton Kershaw, LHP (67.9 WAR): Kershaw is likely to pass Pee Wee Reese for the highest WAR in Dodgers history this year.
Giants -- Buster Posey, C (41.8 WAR): Posey will have to adjust to his new reality in San Francisco, but his contract only has a couple of years left on it.
Padres -- Wil Myers, OF (8.5 WAR): It is likely that Fernando Tatís Jr. will pass him, essentially immediately.
Rockies -- Nolan Arenado, 3B (37.5 WAR): No matter how much longer he’s in Denver, no one else is remotely close to him.