The offseason is here, which means there are no Major League Baseball games for several months. That is bad. But we are about to see a lot of players change teams over the winter, and that is always exciting and disorienting, so that part is definitely good. But some guys -- there are some guys your team just can’t do without.
So today we look at every team’s most untouchable player. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a player on the current 40-man roster, though for most teams, it will be. Occasionally, there will be a prospect who hasn’t reached the Majors yet, usually for the teams still early on in their rebuilding process. But with all the changes you might see this offseason, these guys will be staying put.
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Blue Jays -- Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, age 20: He’s in the Majors to stay, and even though he wasn’t quite a superstar last year, he is one hot month away from being one of the five most popular players in the sport.
Orioles -- Adley Rutschman, C, age 21: He’s representative of every dream the Orioles have had over the past few years … and it’s worth noting that he might end up being the only top overall pick they end up getting.
Rays -- Wander Franco, SS, age 18: The big league club has a few players they’ll be keeping, but Franco is MLB Pipeline’s No. 1 overall prospect -- he’ll be the center of everything Tampa Bay does for years to come.
Red Sox -- Rafael Devers, 3B, age 23: Devers just turned 23 years old last week, and he’s about to start his fourth big league season. He also might be the best hitter the Red Sox have on a roster that also includes Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez.
Yankees -- Aaron Judge, RF, age 27: Considering Judge got to the big leagues relatively late, it’s not difficult to see him playing his whole career in pinstripes.
Indians -- José Ramírez, 3B, age 27: After he rediscovered his stroke last year, he became the Indians' best hitter once again, an absolutely invaluable switch-hitting stud who also happens to be in the middle of a relatively club-friendly extension that could keep him in Cleveland through 2023.
Royals -- Bobby Witt Jr., SS, age 19: Of all the players in the Royals' system most likely to be on the next Royals postseason team, the No. 2 overall pick from last June’s Draft is the most likely, right?
Tigers -- Casey Mize, RHP, age 22: It’s going to be a long ride back for the Tigers, but the path forward is Mize and as many pitchers they can find who are anywhere near like him.
Twins -- Jorge Polanco, SS, age 26: The five-year, $25.75 million contract (with two club options) he signed with the Twins before the 2019 season now looks like one of the prescient deals in the sport.
White Sox -- Eloy Jiménez, LF, age 22: It is an excellent sign for the White Sox that, for the first time in a while, you actually had a ton of players to choose from here.
Angels -- Mike Trout, CF, age 28: What would it take for the Angels to ever trade Mike Trout? Would he have to threaten to set the stadium on fire? Probably not even then, right?
Astros -- Alex Bregman, 3B, age 25: The club locked him up through 2024 just last offseason, and that extension looks better and better for them every day.
Athletics -- Matt Chapman, 3B, age 26: The A's learned their lesson with Josh Donaldson, so it’s hard to imagine them letting Chapman go before his time.
Mariners -- Jarred Kelenic, OF, age 20: It’s the Mariners, so no one is truly untouchable … but Kelenic -- who came from the Mets in the Robinson Canó/Edwin Díaz trade -- is the best prospect they’ve gotten from all that dealing. He's now No. 13 on MLB Pipeline’s overall rankings.
Rangers -- Joey Gallo, OF, age 25: If you can keep the Joey Gallo they had last season healthy for a whole year, you have yourself an AL MVP candidate.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Braves -- Ronald Acuña, Jr., age 21: Eventually he’s going to run out all those near-home-run balls, and then there won’t be a single thing for anyone to complain about.
Marlins -- Jesús Sánchez, OF, age 22: The Marlins were a little bit more interesting last year than you might have noticed, and they have a lot of interesting young pieces on the verge of debuting. To be fair, none of them is so good so as to be deemed “untouchable,” but we’ll go with Sánchez -- who came from the Rays in the Nick Anderson trade this summer -- because he is their best position prospect close to the Majors. Just wait until this guy, righty Sixto Sánchez, outfielder JJ Bleday and shortstop Jazz Chisholm get here.
Mets -- Pete Alonso, 1B, age 24: He looks primed to own Flushing for the next decade.
Nationals -- Juan Soto, LF, age 21: The rest of the country now knows what the Nats have known for two years: We might all be watching the beginnings of a legend.
Phillies -- Bryce Harper, RF, age 27: Sure, you couldn’t trade that contract if you wanted to, but he had an excellent year and is the center of everything this team is trying to do.
Brewers -- Christian Yelich, OF, age 27: Just get him a permanent kneecap protector.
Cardinals -- Jack Flaherty, RHP, age 24: This might be Dylan Carlson in a year, but ace-caliber pitchers this young and this ornery don’t come along often.
Cubs -- Javier Báez, SS, age 26: Many of the things that went wrong with the Cubs late in the year might have gone better had Báez been healthy.
Pirates -- Mitch Keller, RHP, age 23: With a new GM and manager coming, the Pirates have a ton of work to do in the next few months. But it’s tough to imagine anyone letting Keller go.
Reds -- Aristedes Aquino, OF, age 25: Even though he slowed down after his ridiculous start, nobody walks away from incredible power like this.
D-backs -- Ketel Marte, 2B/OF, age 26: Considering how young he still is and now that he has emerged as a superstar, he’s suddenly one of the most valuable talents in the game.
Dodgers -- Cody Bellinger, OF, age 24: He burst into the conversation of “best player in baseball.”
Giants -- Joey Bart, C, age 22: The perfect handoff for Buster Posey, he looks to be the face of the franchise for the next decade the way Posey was for the last one.
Padres -- Fernando Tatis Jr., age 20: There really needs to be some sort of Tatis Cam available on MLB.TV.
Rockies -- Nolan Arenado, 3B, age 28: Put it this way: If the Rockies trade Arenado one year into his extension, their road back will be a long one.