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The best player on each team this decade

@williamfleitch
December 16, 2019

We have looked at the best teams of the decade and the best overall players of the decade, so it is only natural, as this decade comes to a close, that we look at the best players for each team this decade. Ten years is a long time. But it’ll

We have looked at the best teams of the decade and the best overall players of the decade, so it is only natural, as this decade comes to a close, that we look at the best players for each team this decade. Ten years is a long time. But it’ll go by in a blink.

So, today, we give you the best player for each team over the last 10 years. It’s partly by collective statistics, partly from overall impact: When you think of the last decade of baseball for each of these teams, these are the guys you’ll think of.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Blue Jays -- Jose Bautista, OF (2008-17): He was the emotional center of the Blue Jays during their heyday this decade, for (mostly) better and for worse, and he’s responsible for the team's single greatest moment since Joe Carter's homer. The bat flip will live forever.

Orioles -- Adam Jones, OF (2008-18): The sadder answer here is Chris Davis, but no one represented the heart and soul of those O's teams better than Jones. It’d be fun to see him actually manage this team someday.

Rays -- Evan Longoria, 3B (2008-17): He’s the greatest player in Rays history, and it’s going to take more than the next decade for anyone to catch him.

Red Sox -- David Ortiz, DH (2003-16): Dustin Pedroia and Mookie Betts would be good picks too, but Big Papi was everything for the Red Sox this decade ... and maybe the last one too.

Yankees -- CC Sabathia, LHP (2009-19): Sabathia went longer than many ever thought he would and was a shining example of what being a Yankee can be, at its best, for the whole decade.

AL CENTRAL

Indians -- Corey Kluber, RHP (2011-19): With Francisco Lindor only here for the second half of the decade, Kluber gets the nod as a pitcher who ended up being better than anyone, perhaps including him, could have ever imagined.

Royals -- Salvador Perez, C (2011-present): The leader of the World Series teams and the rock of that pitching staff, he’s young enough that he might be around for the next contending Royals team.

Tigers -- Miguel Cabrera, 1B (2008-present): He won two AL MVP Awards, earned a Triple Crown and will be around for a hearty part of the next decade as well.

Twins -- Joe Mauer, C (2004-18): He never did end up winning a playoff series with the Twins, but he’ll be the representative of that team, and that city, for years to come.

White Sox -- Chris Sale, LHP (2010-16): Not only was he Chicago's best player this decade, his trade may have helped stock up the roster for the franchise’s next competing team.

AL WEST

Angels -- Mike Trout, CF (2011-present): He’s the player of the decade in all of baseball.

Astros -- Jose Altuve, 2B (2011-present): He was there when the team was terrible, and he was right there at the center of everything when the team became the most dominant force in the sport.

Athletics -- Matt Chapman, 3B (2017-present): It’s either him (Oakland's best player for the second half of the decade) or Josh Donaldson (its best for the first half). We’ll go with the most underappreciated best player in baseball.

Mariners -- Felix Hernandez, RHP (2005-19): It fell apart at the end of the decade ... but what a first half it was.

Rangers -- Adrian Beltre, 3B (2011-18): He built his Hall of Fame case in Arlington, and the team hasn’t been the same since he retired.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Braves -- Freddie Freeman, 1B (2010-present): Once considered only a contact hitter, almost a Mark Grace type, Freeman has become a perennial NL MVP Award contender.

Marlins -- Giancarlo Stanton, OF (2010-17): A bit of a lost decade for the Marlins, but Stanton never failed to put up eye-popping numbers.

Mets -- Jacob deGrom, RHP (2014-present): The second half of this decade will be known for deGrom’s brilliance, and how little the Mets were able to do with it.

Nationals -- Stephen Strasburg, RHP (2010-present): Many contenders here, but Strasburg started the decade as the best prospect in Nats history, became a controversial figure because of his usage (or lack thereof) and finished the decade with a World Series ring and a big extension. He in many ways is the Nationals.

Phillies -- Cole Hamels, LHP (2006-15): A disparate decade, one that looked dramatically different at several different moments in time, ends with fans hoping the next one goes better than this one did.

NL CENTRAL

Brewers -- Ryan Braun, OF (2007-present): It didn’t go the way anyone thought it would at the beginning of the decade, to say the least, but he is still in Milwaukee, still hitting.

Cardinals -- Yadier Molina, C (2004-present): At this point, you have to assume he’ll still be catching for the Cardinals in 2029.

Cubs -- Anthony Rizzo, 1B (2012-present): Like Jose Altuve, he was there before the turnaround happened and got to reap the rewards when it did. And one of those rewards: Touching first base for the final out of the Cubs winning the World Series.

Pirates -- Andrew McCutchen, CF (2009-17): He was the best of what they once were (2013 NL MVP Award), and a reminder of what they hope to be again.

Reds -- Joey Votto, 1B (2007-present): Maybe the most underrated player all decade, not just by fans nationally but even in his home stadium.

NL WEST

D-backs -- Paul Goldschmidt, 1B (2011-18): Diamondbacks fans still miss the guy who best exemplified what the franchise was trying to do this decade.

Dodgers -- Clayton Kershaw, LHP (2008-present): Like his team, Kershaw dominated the regular season but was unable to do the same in the postseason.

Giants -- Madison Bumgarner, LHP (2009-19): You can’t go wrong with Bumgarner or Buster Posey, but Bumgarner’s 2014 World Series could be the lasting memory of this franchise for decades to come.

Padres -- Chase Headley, 3B (2007-14, '18): There is probably no better way to describe this decade for the Padres than by noting that he was their best player.

Rockies -- Nolan Arenado, 3B (2013-present): He’s destined to become the best player in franchise history ... as long as the team gives him good enough teammates to stick around.