Sunday perhaps marked the end of an era for a number of star players and the teams that defined their careers. Whether through free agency or retirement, each year sees players depart cities in which they're beloved.Below is a look at 11 marquee names who could be saying goodbye to
Sunday perhaps marked the end of an era for a number of star players and the teams that defined their careers. Whether through free agency or retirement, each year sees players depart cities in which they're beloved.
Below is a look at 11 marquee names who could be saying goodbye to their longtime teams after this season:
Joe Mauer, Twins: 15 years (2004-18)
Mauer played his 1,858th game with the Twins on Sunday as he contemplates his baseball future as a free-agent-to-be this winter. Mauer has spent his entire 15-year Major League career in Minnesota, the team that drafted him first overall in 2001. Mauer made six American League All-Star teams, won an AL Most Valuable Player Award in 2009 and is the only catcher to win three batting titles.
David Wright, Mets: 15 years (2004-18)
The Mets celebrated Wright on Saturday during what could be the final game of his 14-year career. Wright started in front of a sellout crowd for the first time since May 27, 2016 after three surgeries and spinal stenosis cut his career short. The seven-time All-Star will go out as the Mets all-time leader in hits, runs and RBIs.
Adam Wainwright, Cardinals: 14 years (2005-18)
Wainwright has said he hopes to continue his career in 2019; it just may not be with the Cardinals. The 13-year veteran has said his preference is to remain in St. Louis, but will be a free agent this winter. The Cardinals acquired Wainwright as a Minor Leaguer from the Braves in 2003. He won a World Series with the club as a rookie in 2006, taking over closer duties late in the season and pitching 9 2/3 scoreless innings in the playoffs and saving the clinching games in the National League Championship Series and World Series. He was converted to a starter in 2007, and went on to make three NL All-Star teams and pace the NL in wins in '09 and '13. He owns a 148-85 record and a 3.32 career ERA.
Jose Reyes, Mets: 12 years (2003-11, '16-18)
Wright's long-time teammate, Jose Reyes, may have also played his final game in a Mets uniform Sunday. Reyes is a free agent and has acknowledged that he's unlikely to return for a 13th year in New York, where he played his first nine and last three seasons, with stops in Miami, Toronto and Colorado in between. Reyes' production dipped in his second stint, but in his first, he was a four-time All-Star and an NL batting champ (2011). He also led the NL in stolen bases for three seasons from '05-07.
Adam Jones, Orioles: 11 years (2009-18)
Adam Jones' 11-year tenure in Baltimore may come to a close this offseason with the 33-year-old outfielder a free agent and the Orioles building for the future. He's been a fixture in center field for the O's since they acquired him in a trade with the Mariners in 2008, and ranks fifth in franchise history in home runs, behind Cal Ripken Jr., Eddie Murray, Boog Powell and Brooks Robinson. He set a club record with his seventh consecutive 25-plus homer season in 2017. He made his 11th straight Opening Day start in center field this year, becoming the first player to do that in one uniform since the Mariners' Ken Griffey Jr. (1989-99).
Pablo Sandoval, Giants: nine years (2008-14, '17-18)
Sandoval's potential final season with the Giants came to an abrupt end in August when the veteran underwent season-ending surgery on his right hamstring. Sandoval, a free agent this offseason, won three championships with San Francisco and played postseason hero in 2012 when he hit three home runs in Game 1 of the Fall Classic, earning him series MVP honors. Signed by the Giants out of Venezuela in 2003, the two-time All-Star spent the first seven years of his big league career with the club, then returned in 2017 after being released by the Red Sox.
Adrian Beltre, Rangers: eight years (2011-18)
Though he hasn't yet decided on retirement, Beltre was treated to a standing ovation upon exiting the Rangers' season finale Sunday. Texas is the fourth, and possibly final, stop in the veteran third baseman's career -- he signed a six-year, $96 million deal with the club in 2011 -- but has undoubtably been his most productive. Beltre made three of his four All-Star appearances with the Rangers and posted some of his best statistical seasons while wearing the uniform. He also hit for the cycle three times in Arlington -- once as a visiting player (with the Mariners in 2008) and twice as a Ranger ('12 and '15) -- and won two Platinum Glove Awards ('11 and '12) with Texas.
Bryce Harper, Nationals: seven years (2012-18)
Harper enters the offseason as perhaps the biggest prize in free agency. Both Harper and the Nationals have expressed desire for a reunion in 2019, but it's possible Harper has played his final game in a Washington uniform. Just 25 years old, Harper has already enjoyed a well-decorated seven years in the Majors since Washington made him the first overall pick in the 2010 Draft. He's made six All-Star teams, won NL Rookie of the Year in 2012 and became the youngest unanimous MVP in 2015. Harper has hit at least 20 homers in all but one of his seven seasons in D.C.
Victor Martinez, Tigers: seven years (2011-18)
Martinez wrapped his 16-year career on Sept. 22, collecting his 2,153rd hit in his 1,973rd and final MLB game. The designated hitter opted to end his career in front of home fans at Comerica Park, where he's spent the last seven seasons since first signing with the Tigers in 2010. Martinez was an All-Star with the Tigers in 2014, his best MLB campaign. He hit .335/.409/.565 with a career-high 32 homers and 103 RBIs that year, finishing as the MVP runner-up to Michael Trout.
Hunter Pence, Giants: seven years (2012-18)
Pence's five-year deal expires this offseason, and he's unlikely to return to the team in 2019. The right fielder, who was acquired in a Trade Deadline deal with the Phillies in 2012, is beloved by Bay Area fans for his role on two championship teams. Pence enjoyed some of his best seasons in San Francisco, and hit .444 (12-for-27) with a home run, three doubles and five RBIs in the '14 World Series.
Nelson Cruz, Mariners, four years (2015-18)
Cruz's four-year contract with the Mariners expired following the final game of the regular season on Sunday, and at age 38, he may or may not return to Seattle. He has been one of the most prolific sluggers in the game throughout his career, and hit 163 homers while posting a .908 OPS during his time with the Mariners. In a 14-year career, Cruz has also played for the Brewers, Rangers and Orioles.
Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.