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Every team's current franchise icon

December 7, 2018

In this thrilling Hot Stove season, let's remember to spare some sympathy for the D-backs. Their trade of Paul Goldschmidt to the Cardinals was a good one, a smart, prudent move for a franchise in transition, one that brought back an impressive haul considering Goldschmidt has only one year left

In this thrilling Hot Stove season, let's remember to spare some sympathy for the D-backs. Their trade of Paul Goldschmidt to the Cardinals was a good one, a smart, prudent move for a franchise in transition, one that brought back an impressive haul considering Goldschmidt has only one year left on his contract.
But that doesn't make all those fans who bought Goldschmidt jerseys over the last half-decade feel that much better. He is, after all, their guy, a franchise icon who has been the face of the organization since breaking into the league in 2011. The future may be bright in Arizona … but it's tough to say goodbye to your hero.

Thus, today, we look at the franchise icons for each team -- the guy who, if he were traded, would break the hearts of the local fans. Some of them, to be fair, stretch the definition of "icon"; you'll notice that more frequently with clubs that are in the midst of a rebuild. And while few of these players are likely to be going anywhere anytime soon, and some guys might seem "untradeable," consider that if Paul Goldschmidt -- probably the best position player in D-backs history -- can be traded, well, then nearly anyone can.
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Blue Jays: Russell Martin, C
The Blue Jays have moved on from the obvious names here -- your Jose Bautista, your Edwin Encarnacion, your Josh Donaldson -- but Martin is still around from those winning teams … and he is Canadian, after all.
Orioles: Mark Trumbo, DH
No tougher team in baseball to find a current franchise icon for than the Orioles (particularly with Adam Jones being a free agent and thus not eligible). The hope is that in a decade, they have several.
Rays: Blake Snell, LHP
Rays fans have gotten used to having to say goodbye to their icons in recent years. Perhaps the current AL Cy Young Award winner will stick around for a while.
Red Sox: Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Even with Mookie Betts as the MVP … Pedroia is Red Sox for life.
Yankees: Aaron Judge, RF
Already, two years in, Judge is one of the most popular Yankees of the last 30 years.

AL CENTRAL
Indians: Francisco Lindor, SS
Lindor is the centerpiece of everything this franchise is about.
Royals: Salvador Perez, C
Perez will still be here when the next Royals team contends ... whenever that is.
Tigers: Jose Cabrera, 1B
Miggy will go into the Hall of Fame as a Tiger, though he still has plenty of years in Detroit left to come.

Twins: Jose Berrios, RHP
Finding the next icon after Joe Mauer may take a while, but the young right-hander is off to a promising start.
White Sox: Jose Abreu, 1B
A constant at first base for the last five years, Abreu is still a decent bet to be traded this season given that he's eligible for free agency next offseason.
AL WEST
Angels: Michael Trout, CF
Trout has two more years left on his contract, as you might have heard. That's about to become the biggest story in the sport.
Astros: Jose Altuve, 2B
The Astros have all sorts of roster decisions to make in the next few years, but it is hard to see Altuve going anywhere, especially after the five-year extension he signed before last season.
Athletics: Matt Chapman, 3B
Chapman already feels like a player that the A's will want to open their new stadium around (should they get it).
Mariners: Felix Hernandez, RHP
Though it's looking like he'll never get that postseason start, he's still King Felix.
Rangers: Elvis Andrus, SS
Andrus is already No. 11 in lifetime WAR for the Rangers, and he still has four years of contract left to go.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Braves: Freddie Freeman, 1B
Freeman was there before the team broke through, and he'll still be the centerpiece now that they have.
Marlins: J.T. Realmuto, C
If Realmuto does get traded, as has been rumored, it's hard to say who would fill this spot. Martin Prado?
Mets: Jacob deGrom, RHP
Even if you see more Thor helmets at Citi Field, reigning NL Cy Young Award winner deGrom is the center of everything with this franchise right now. Imagine how Mets fans would react if he were traded. Heavens.

Nationals: Max Scherzer, RHP
It wouldn't be shocking if it were Juan Soto in a couple of years … or still Bryce Harper, for that matter (though that's looking less likely).
Phillies: Rhys Hoskins, 1B
The September Hoskins had in 2017 will keep him beloved in Philadelphia for years to come.
NL CENTRAL
Brewers: Christian Yelich, OF
Yelich's MVP campaign quickly got him here, though it would be bizarre to ever see Ryan Braun in another uniform.
Cardinals: Yadier Molina, C
Molina says he will retire when his current contract is up.

We'll believe it when we see it.
Cubs: Anthony Rizzo, 1B
Kristopher Bryant is the MVP … but no one spans this whole era of Cubs baseball like Rizzo does.
Pirates: Starling Marte, OF
Marte got back to his old self last year. Can you believe he's 30 already?
Reds: Joey Votto, 1B
The goal is to get the 35-year-old Votto back into the postseason before it's time to retire.
NL WEST
D-backs: Archie Bradley, RHP
One last cry for Goldschmidt.
Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw, LHP
Will L.A. be able to get Kershaw that World Series title, the only career achievement that continues to elude him?

Giants: Buster Posey, C
Madison Bumgarner is obviously right there with him … but it's more inconceivable to imagine them trading Posey than Bumgarner, no?
Padres: William Myers, OF
You could argue for Eric Hosmer, but Myers has more of a track record in San Diego.
Rockies: Nolan Arenado, 3B
Arenado's contract status, and whether the Rockies contend this year, could be the driving storyline of the second half of 2019.

Will Leitch is a columnist for MLB.com.