For each of the past 13 seasons, the Red Sox wrote David Ortiz's name into their lineup at designated hitter at least 81 times. Of course, that is about to change in 2017.Such consistency is much more the exception than the rule in Major League Baseball, where players tend to
For each of the past 13 seasons, the Red Sox wrote David Ortiz's name into their lineup at designated hitter at least 81 times. Of course, that is about to change in 2017.
Such consistency is much more the exception than the rule in Major League Baseball, where players tend to come and go.
Sure, there are others ready to take the reins from Ortiz in terms of tenure with one team at one position. To name a few: Yadier Molina has been the Cardinals' primary catcher since 2005, Brandon Phillips has been the Reds' primary second baseman since '06 and Ortiz's longtime teammate Dustin Pedroia has been the Red Sox's primary second baseman since '07.
But on the other end of the spectrum, there are many examples of clubs that have experienced a revolving door at certain spots. Here is a look at one team that has faced such a situation at each position over the past 10 years (2007-16).
The closest thing the Rangers have had to a mainstay behind the plate during this span is Robinson Chirinos, who has started 207 games over the past three seasons. But after last year's non-waiver Trade Deadline, he gave way to Jonathan Lucroy, who will be the main catcher in 2017 until reaching free agency at the end of the season. Before Chirinos, a different player led Texas in starts by a backstop for six straight years, including Gerald Laird, Yorvit Torrealba and A.J. Pierzynski.
First base: Marlins
In the past 10 seasons, the Marlins have gotten -0.1 wins above replacement (WAR) at first base, according to FanGraphs, hitting a below-league-average .235/.307/.395. So it's no surprise the club has been unable to find a long-term solution at the position, although Justin Bour will head into his third season as the primary starter in 2017. Prior to Bour, Miami cycled through the likes of Mike Jacobs, Jorge Cantu, Gaby Sanchez, Carlos Lee, Logan Morrison and Garrett Jones. Only Sanchez started more than 122 games in a season.
Second base: Dodgers
Jeff Kent's four-year Dodgers tenure ended following 2008, and the club has bounced from second baseman to second baseman since, none matching Kent's 246 starts from '07-08. It seemed that L.A. had its man when Dee Gordon moved over from shortstop and enjoyed an All-Star season in '14, but he was subsequently traded to Miami. Howie Kendrick and Chase Utley have followed, and second base remains the team's biggest position of need heading into next season, with Utley a free agent.
Third base: White Sox
Only Conor Gillaspie (now with the Giants) has started at least 200 games for the Sox at the hot corner since 2007, and if Todd Frazier remains with the club through his contract year -- far from a sure thing -- he could take over the lead in that category. There has been little continuity on the South Side of Chicago since the days of Joe Crede, with former stars like Omar Vizquel ('10) and Kevin Youkilis ('12) joining the likes of Brent Morel ('11) and Tyler Saladino ('15) as primary third basemen. Over that time, the group has posted a .675 OPS and fallen below replacement level.
Since Jason Bartlett held down shortstop in 2007, the only player to start 100 times there in a season for Minnesota is Pedro Florimon ('13). Minnesota's best chance for a stable solution came when it acquired J.J. Hardy from the Brewers for Carlos Gomez in November '09. But after one subpar season, the Twins flipped Hardy to Baltimore. Meanwhile, Minnesota endured a failed experiment with Tsuyoshi Nishioka and moved James Dozier over to second. In each of the past three years, Eduardo Escobar has led in shortstop starts but with 86 or fewer, splitting time with Eduardo Nunez, Danny Santana and Jorge Polanco.
Left field: Giants
Some guy named Barry Bonds hit .276/.480/.565 with 28 homers and 132 walks in his final season as the Giants' left fielder in 2007. Fred Lewis then led the team in starts in each of the next two seasons, with a different player doing the honors each year since, up through Angel Pagan in '16. The most productive of those, Melky Cabrera, had his All-Star campaign in '12 cut short by a suspension for testosterone use. Despite that lack of continuity, San Francisco left fielders have managed to accrue 41.5 WAR since '07, which ranks fourth in the Majors.
Center field: Braves
Andruw Jones departed as a free agent at the end of 2007 and ushered in a much less stable era in center field. The club traded for Nate McLouth in June '09, but he battled injuries and posted a .699 OPS over three seasons. Michael Bourn was a short-term fix, and Atlanta quickly regretted signing Melvin Upton Jr. as a free agent before '13, trading him two years later. After a cameo by Cameron Maybin, the Braves finally seemed to find a solution when it acquired Ender Inciarte from Arizona last December, then signed him to an extension last week that runs through at least '21.
Right field: Royals
Kansas City's issues actually go all the way back to the trade of Jermaine Dye before the 2001 Trade Deadline. Since then, Royals right fielders are a distant last in the Majors with a .710 OPS, getting the most starts out of Jeff Francoeur (352) and Mark Teahen (261). In the past four seasons, David Lough, Norichika Aoki, Alex Rios and Paulo Orlando have all led the club in right-field starts, though none has more than 126 total during that span.
Designated hitter: Rays
Unlike the Red Sox with Ortiz, most teams see a lot of turnover at DH, even within a season. The Rays are a prime example, with no player starting more than Luke Scott's 139 games at the position over the past 10 years. Scott is also the only player to lead the team in DH starts more than once during that time, doing so from 2012-13. The revolving door has included veterans such as Cliff Floyd, Pat Burrell, Johnny Damon and David DeJesus, with Corey Dickerson taking over in '16.
Andrew Simon is a research analyst for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.