A lot can change in six years. The team you are looking at now is dramatically different than it was seven years ago. Look at the Dodgers. There is no team in baseball with more continuity than the Dodgers: They have, after all, won every NL West title since 2013. But do you know how many players on that 2015 Dodgers team are still on the 2021 squad? Four. (Clayton Kershaw, Justin Turner, Kenley Jansen and Corey Seager.) The Red Sox have three. (Xander Bogaerts, Matt Barnes and Eduardo Rodriguez.) The Orioles? Zero. Your team is constantly shifting, even if you don’t notice. Everything’s going to look so different in six years.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the player on each team who’s most likely to still be on his current team in 2028, seven years from now. MLB Pipeline just updated its ranking of the top 100 prospects in the game, so the timing is fitting considering you’ll see a few prospects listed below. Some players are signed for that long and unlikely to be traded; some players are centerpieces of everything their team is doing.
But one thing is certain: A lot of these will be wrong. I wrote this same piece two years ago, predicting which players would be on their same teams in 2026, seven years later. Of the 30 predictions, four -- Nolan Arenado, Joey Gallo, Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler -- have already left their teams two years later. So keep that in mind!
(Ages listed are each player’s “baseball age” for 2021.)
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Blue Jays: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 1B (age 22)
He’ll be a free agent after the 2025 season -- a year before George Springer, if you’re keeping score -- but the Blue Jays couldn’t possibly let him get away … right?
Orioles: Adley Rutschman, C (age 23)
If he’s not called up until next season -- depending on whether the next CBA alters these sort of timelines -- he’ll still be in his arbitration years at this time.
Rays: Wander Franco, IF (age 20)
It’s always possible the Rays trade him right when he starts getting expensive, but if there’s ever a guy they won’t do that with, it’ll be Franco.
Red Sox: Rafael Devers, 3B, (age 24)
The Red Sox haven’t signed him to an extension (he’s eligible for free agency after the 2023 season), but they seem to be positioning themselves to make a pretty terrific pitch for one.
Yankees: Gerrit Cole, RHP (age 30)
Giancarlo Stanton’s contract expires after the 2027 season; Cole’s ends after 2028.
AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL
Royals: Salvador Perez, C (age 31)
Perez will turn 38 years old in 2028, which is still younger than Yadier Molina is now.
Tigers: Casey Mize, RHP (age 24)
Miguel Cabrera’s contract will have been over for … two seasons by 2028. Top prospects Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene are also good options here.
Twins: Royce Lewis, UTIL (age 22)
The Twins may or may not go for it again in 2022, but just about everybody that’ll be a big part of that team will be gone by 2028.
White Sox: Eloy Jiménez, LF (age 24)
The White Sox have a whole bunch of guys locked in for the next half-decade, and while none of them are signed past 2026, Jiménez feels like someone who could be a South Sider for life.
AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST
Angels: Mike Trout, CF (age 29)
He is signed through 2030, and may he please have a postseason win by 2028?
Astros: Jose Altuve, 2B (age 31)
This is a tough one. Maybe it’s Alex Bregman. Maybe it’s Yordan Alvarez. (It’s probably not Carlos Correa.) But at the end of the day, Altuve is never playing anywhere else, and he’ll be 37 in 2028 and probably not ready to retire.
Mariners: Julio Rodríguez, RF (age 20)
Take your pick between Rodríguez and Jarred Kelenic, but there’s no question Seattle fans can invest in either jersey for a while.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Braves: Ronald Acuña Jr., OF (age 23)
The Braves actually have a $17 million 2028 option on Acuna, the last option year they have. It is a fun thought experiment to imagine what would happen for them to not pick up that option. Have we colonized the moon? Have super aliens replaced all human baseball players?
Marlins: JJ Bleday, RF (age 23)
You never quite know with the Marlins, but they’ve got a lot of players about to bust through to the Majors. Which will they extend? The safest bet now is Bleday.
Mets: Francisco Lindor, SS (age 27)
Lindor will still have three more years under contract after the 2028 season ends. He’s not the only one in this division in that situation.
Nationals: Juan Soto, LF (age 22)
With all their other stars gone, the Nats have to sign Soto to a long-term deal now ... right?
Phillies: Bryce Harper, RF (age 28)
Did everybody realize the Francisco Lindor contract ends the same year as the Harper contract does? Those two are going to get awfully sick of each other.
NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL
Brewers: Christian Yelich, OF (age 29)
The 2028 season is the last year of Yelich’s contract with Milwaukee. Here’s the question: How many All-Star Games will he make between now and then?
Cardinals: Nolan Arenado, 3B (age 30)
Assuming he doesn’t opt out, Arenado will have just ended his contract in 2027. Will the Cardinals be ready to say farewell? Will he? It may come down to who is playing third base in 2027: Him or Nolan Gorman.
Pirates: Ke'Bryan Hayes, 3B (age 24)
Hayes will be just about to hit free agency in 2027, so we will see if the Pirates extend him or ... do what they usually do.
Reds: Jose Barrero, SS (age 23)
The Reds are an older team than a lot of people realize, which is why it really is sort of tempting to say “Joey Votto” here.
NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
Dodgers: Mookie Betts, RF (age 28)
Betts is signed for a year longer than Bryce Harper and Francisco Lindor, and he’ll turn 39 that year. It’s hard to imagine Betts being 39, isn’t it?
Padres: Fernando Tatis Jr., SS (age 22)
It’s not Bryce Harper who has the longest contract in baseball right now: It’s Tatis, signed through 2034. (He’ll turn 35 that year.)
Rockies: Zac Veen, OF (age 19)
The Rockies are clearly working on a new long-term plan right now, which gives me no choice but just to pick the guy they just drafted.