This is the biggest trash talker on every team

April 30th, 2020

Whether it be on the field after making a big play or in the clubhouse during a pregame ping-pong tournament (or even online in the MLB The Show Players League), every team seems to have that one player who likes to talk a little bit -- or, in some cases, a lot -- of trash.

With that in mind, beat reporters from all 30 teams spent some time asking players and coaches a simple question: "Who's the biggest trash talker on your team?"

Here's who they found to be the biggest trash talker on each team:


Blue Jays: Cavan Biggio, 2B
Second baseman Cavan Biggio quickly emerged as a young leader in the Blue Jays’ clubhouse as a rookie, and that’s continued to grow into his second season. The 24-year-old doesn’t shy away from being vocal, whether it’s with an opponent or with his own teammates. “He’ll sling it with the best of them,” said Billy McKinney.

Orioles: Richard Bleier, LHP
On the field and off, no Oriole talks like Bleier, the club’s acerbic lefty and resident chatterbox. Thoughtful and inquisitive, Bleier’s gift of gab stands out in a clubhouse full of young, inexperienced players. Bleier, who spent parts of nine seasons in the Minors and has thrived at times in relief despite one of baseball’s softest fastballs, is a relatively veteran presence who isn’t afraid to speak his mind. That outgoing personality makes Bleier a draw at many of the Orioles’ community initiatives.

Rays: Blake Snell, LHP
Whether it’s on the mound or playing video games, Snell has an ability to trash talk his opponents. He’s usually pretty reserved on the mound, but can reply with the best of them, if needed. Jump on his Twitch livestream at some point during the offseason if you want to hear some of his trash talks.

Red Sox: Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP
Rafael Devers didn’t even blink when asked who talks the most trash now that Dustin Pedroia has been sidelined most of the last few seasons. “Eddie,” Devers said as he laughed. How does E-Rod’s trash talking manifest itself? “It’s just that Eddie says a lot of things, and just out of nowhere, too,” said Devers. ”We just can’t help but laugh. So it’s definitely Eddie.” Rodriguez is frequently challenging his teammates to ping pong, cards, dominoes or whatever games are available. Does he ever beat Devers in anything? “No, no, no,” Devers said.

Yankees: Brett Gardner, LF
As the longest-tenured Yankee, Brett Gardner has enjoyed countless opportunities to exhibit a lighter side, establishing a reputation as the team’s resident practical joker (when Clint Frazier’s pregame omelette was filled with habanero peppers, for example, the source was an open secret) and its most acerbic wit. Remember that clip of Gardner battering the Yankee Stadium dugout roof with his bat? That’s how frequently he hits teammates with quips.

Last year, Gardner was relentless in teasing Judge about their unexpected home run battle, as Gardner slugged a career-high 28 home runs -- one more than Judge’s injury-shortened total of 27. When Judge would grab the lead, Gardner inevitably homered again, then offered a comment along the lines of: “He’s trying to keep up with me!”


Indians: José Ramírez, INF

Indians center fielder Oscar Mercado was in the middle of explaining why he believes that Ramírez is the biggest trash talker in the clubhouse when his former teammate Andrew Velazquez walked over to his locker and asked what he was talking about. When Mercado replied he was talking about “the biggest trash talker on the team,” Velasquez simply shot back: “Oh, so Josey."

Whether it’s playing cards before the game or on the field, Ramírez is known to pick on every person in the room in Spanish, even if they don’t speak the language.

Royals: Salvador Perez, C

The Royals generally are not fond of the trash-talking principle. The closest they come to a trash talker is Perez, who loves to needle teammates, especially pitchers. Closer Ian Kennedy said Perez regularly rolls his eyes when he passes a pitcher in the clubhouse and says, “What a life, man.”

“He loves to joke that we don’t work enough,” Kennedy said. “So that has become his signature phrase, ‘What a life.’ He’s probably right -- starters only pitch once every five days.”

Tigers: Miguel Cabrera, 1B/DH

Nobody on the Tigers talks as much as Cabrera, even after a chronic right knee injury denied him the chance to play first base and socialize with hitters for the majority of last season. It’s part of his personality, and it continued in 2019 from the Tigers' dugout between his at-bats as a DH. He was ejected from an August game in Houston for chatting with fellow Venezuelan José Altuve, with whom he has had some notable funny interactions. Cabrera was tossed from a July game against the Red Sox for arguing balls and strikes from the dugout and his chatter also helped lead to several ejections for manager Ron Gardenhire.

“Joe West called me over and we were talking about how [Cabrera] was loud in the dugout and he was waving his arms,” Gardenhire said after Cabrera was ejected in July. “But Cabby does that every day, and that’s what I was telling him. And then [Cabrera] was waving his arms at the home-plate umpire, and the umpire threw him out.”

Twins: Tyler Duffey, RHP

Intense and emotional on the mound, but goofy, talkative and self-deprecating off it, Duffey isn’t a surprising name to pop up here for the good-natured banter that he brings to the clubhouse -- and, apparently, to the Twins’ bullpen. Unafraid to give some friendly ribbing to teammates and media members alike as he lingers around his locker before games, the right-hander pitched plenty well enough last season to back his chirping, too, posting a career-best 2.50 ERA with 82 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings.

“All in good spirits,” said teammate Lewis Thorpe of Duffey’s presence. “Makes the bullpen a lot of fun and keeps it loose.”

White Sox: Tim Anderson, SS

Yolmer Sánchez was the clear-cut choice for this category during his six years with the White Sox, but he is now part of the Giants’ organization -- and there really isn't a clear replacement. Dallas Keuchel, a newcomer to the White Sox rotation, was said by one player to have sneaky good trash-talking skills, but the full value won’t be known until the regular season begins, so Anderson gets the nod. The White Sox shortstop is more of an energetic force and an intense competitor than a pure trash talker, as his best "trash talking" might be done with his post-home run bat flips.


Angels: Mike Trout, CF
There’s nobody more competitive than Mike Trout in the Angels' clubhouse, as all he wants to do is beat his teammates at something, whether it’s ping pong or fantasy football. It’s all good-natured trash talk, but Trout is constantly chirping with his teammates and having fun, especially with former Angels outfielder Kole Calhoun, who was the club’s other noted trashtalker. Oh, and don’t get Trout started on his favorite teams from Philadelphia, as he’s often wearing Eagles or 76ers gear in the clubhouse and loves to tease his teammates about their own allegiances.

Astros: Alex Bregman, 3B
The 2019 AL MVP runner-up doesn’t just let his play do the talking. Early this spring, Bregman said: “There's no other city that I would like to beat more this year than Boston,” after the Red Sox eliminated the Astros in the 2018 ALCS. Bregman also shot back at Aaron Judge after the Astros beat the Yankees in the 2019 ALCS. After Judge had said they knew the series would be going back to Houston when they woke up prior to Game 5, Bregman said following the Game 6 clincher: "We knew this morning when we woke up, we were going to be watching football tomorrow.”

Bregman is active on Twitter, as well, where he has poked at friend Trevor Bauer several times over the last couple years.

Athletics: Chris Bassitt, RHP
A mini-basketball hoop sits atop Sean Manaea’s locker inside the A’s clubhouse. The pregame hoops sessions are usually pretty lively regardless, but things tend to turn up a notch whenever Bassitt is around, as he often challenges fellow teammates to shooting contests. That's when the trash talking comes out, with Bassitt constantly razzing opponents as a tactic to throw off their concentration.

Mariners: Daniel Vogelbach, 1B/DH
The Mariners have some solid trash talkers in Dee Gordon and Mallex Smith, but Vogelbach is in a league of his own when it comes to needling both teammates and opposing players, according to those who know best. Not only does the burly Vogelbach look a bit like the late Chris Farley, he carries his own zinging comedic style.

“I’m having a hard time even thinking who’d be second,” veteran third baseman Kyle Seager said. “He’s extremely entertaining, extremely quick and he’s prepared. He remembers things, which is good. It’s just full go. Everybody else is fighting for a distant second place.”

Rangers: Lance Lynn, RHP
Elvis Andrus loves to talk and Rougned Odor has an edge, but Lynn is highly regarded for his trash-talking ability. He delivered a classic on Sept. 4 in New York, when Lynn was miffed that the umpires kept throwing out baseballs that hit the dirt, thus slowing down the pace of the game. Lynn snarled at home-plate umpire Will Little: “We don’t got all night. We got a plane to catch.” The Rangers turned that into a T-shirt for all the players to wear.

“You would be amazed at what Lynn says out there, even when he is pitching,” Andrus said. “He’s not afraid to say something.”


Braves: Ozzie Albies, 2B
Ronald Acuña Jr. is far from the only member of the Braves organization who has been the target of the fun-loving Albies' jabs. Teammates, umpires and veteran coaches like Ron Washington have been on the other end of the playful trash talk that the 5-foot-8 second baseman boldly delivers on a regular basis.

“It’s always fun-loving jabs,” Max Fried said. “You know Ozzie, he’s always out there smiling and laughing. He’ll give me a little bit for walking guys and keeping him out on the field longer. It’s always in fun. He just wants to keep guys on their toes.”

Marlins: Miguel Rojas, SS
By his own admission, Rojas is the biggest trash talker on the Marlins. Most of his chirping is directed at his teammates, with Rojas saying most of his smack talk is centered around fantasy football, the training room or ping pong.

“It’s definitely me," Rojas said. " ... I’m always trash talking to the boys on my team, but sometimes I use that as motivation for a lot of them. A lot of young guys need confidence in themselves.”

Mets: Justin Wilson, LHP
Mets players were at a loss to name the biggest trash talker following the departure of former third baseman Todd Frazier, who held the title uncontested for two seasons. Now? The "Cookie Club," including Dominic Smith, J.D. Davis and Jeff McNeil, likes to razz within its own ranks on a regular basis, though much of that happens behind closed doors. For snark, pitcher Justin Wilson may be the new king.

“He busts me all the time,” said fellow reliever Robert Gsellman.

Nationals: Max Scherzer, RHP
With a black eye and a busted nose as the result of his own errant bunt attempt, Max Scherzer knew he was in for it from his teammates last season. At one point, he found a sign near his locker, along with a football helmet, that read: "If you try bunting tonight ... PLEASE do us all a favor and wear this."

The Nats took full advantage of the chance to talk trash to Scherzer because the ultra-competitor is usually the one dishing it out. Scherzer pulls no punches, from swearing and muttering to himself on the mound to the clubhouse pools he takes pride in dominating to the batting cage, where he constantly pesters hitting coach Kevin Long and other Nats’ position players about their approach at the plate. Scherzer even took pride in beating a team broadcaster in a game of Connect Four. If Scherzer can turn it into a competition, he will not hesitate, and the back-and-forth trash talking is what he relishes.

Phillies: Andrew Knapp, C
Knapp may be a surprising choice, but Phillies right-hander Tommy Hunter can explain. First, Knapp is a smart guy. He attended Cal-Berkeley before the Phillies selected him in the second round of the 2013 MLB Draft. Second, he will say something that a player initially does not take as a dig, then the guy walks away only to realize he has just been insulted. Or, at least, that is what has happened to Hunter.

“It clicks after the fact, and then you’ve got to go back to him and say, ‘Hey, [forget] you,’” Hunter said. “He’s witty.”


Brewers: Ryan Braun, LF
“He goes straight for the jugular,” said Gio Gonzalez when the topic of trash talking was raised last year. “And what are you going to say back to the guy? He’s got 18 years with the Brewers.”

When Christian Yelich became MLB’s first player with 40 homers and 30 steals since Braun in 2012, Yelich was asked whether he was aware of the connection: “Um, he’s been telling us for a while now. Not just tonight or lately -- he’s been making that known for quite some time. I was probably younger than he was, right?”

Braun happened to walk by at just that moment, and said of Yelich, “Most improved trash talker in the National League. When he came [to Milwaukee], he had a complete inability to talk trash. He’s improved on that more than anything.”

Cardinals : Miles Mikolas, RHP

The title of “biggest trash talker” caused quite a debate among some in the Cardinals' clubhouse. Jack Flaherty received some votes, but Mikolas’ ability to have fun both on and off the mound gave him the edge. During Game 1 of the NLCS against the Nationals, Mikolas got out of a bases-loaded jam by getting Juan Soto to ground out. As he walked to the dugout, Mikolas turned toward Soto and returned the gesture that Soto sometimes makes between pitches.

“Kind of giving it back to him in a good-natured, ribbing kind of way,” Mikolas said at the time. “No intent to be mean or trying to start anything, just having fun out of there.”

Cubs: Anthony Rizzo, 1B

When Rizzo injured his ankle in September, requiring him to use a medical scooter to move around the clubhouse, it was an opportunity for a gag. Soon, the handlebars featured tassels and a bicycle horn. The scooter also had a flowery basket filled with goodies, and he wrote “TONY” on the bottom of his walking boot -- a nod to the “ANDY” on the sole of Woody’s boot in "Toy Story." Rizzo can dish out friendly trash talk and play the role of clubhouse jokester with the best of them.

“We all give each other jabs,” said outfielder Kyle Schwarber, who chuckled in September when asked to name the Cubs’ biggest trash talker. “You could put Rizzo on there, just because it’s Rizzo. I think that’s what makes a good team -- that everyone’s able to take jabs and give it back, and not take it personal. That’s what makes a team.”

Pirates: Steven Brault, LHP

The light-hearted left-hander might not be the first person who comes to mind on a Pirates roster that developed a reputation for scrapiness on and off the field. Brault is friendly, approachable and seemingly never in a bad mood, but teammates insist that the quick-witted and highly quotable Brault talks a big game -- in a friendly way, of course. Joe Musgrove is an intimidating presence on the mound and in a scrum. Keone Kela will fight for what he believes in. Chris Archer can rile up a crowd then deftly evade any ensuing argument. But the Pirates believe Brault is the most gifted at gabbing, which makes him a four-way threat: He can pitch, hit, sing and talk trash.

Reds: Sonny Gray, RHP

Acquired in a January 2019 trade with the Yankees, Gray got his groove back on the mound with a strong All-Star season as he went 11-8 with a 2.87 ERA in 31 starts. He also had some of his swagger return.

“Sonny is pretty good at it. Sonny is funny,” Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart said. “Those Vanderbilt guys, there are so many of them in the big leagues that it seems like there is one on every team. The most recent story that comes to mind is he was facing Tony Kemp in Chicago. He took a really good curveball down and in that was out of the zone. Sonny was yelling, ‘Swing the bat, meat!' because of their history. He doesn’t do it to just any random guy. They both went to Vandy.”


D-backs: Archie Bradley, RHP

Bradley pitches with a lot of emotion, something the Dodgers can certainly attest to. On Aug. 9, Bradley threw a pitch inside to former teammate A.J. Pollock that the outfielder believed hit him on the wrist. The umpire, however, ruled that it hit the knob of his bat and deflected up into the air, where it was caught by the catcher for an out. After the call stood on a replay review, Bradley told Pollock, who had already gone to first base, to "get off the field."

Bradley went on to earn the save before directing some words towards the Dodgers' dugout in response, he said, to what they were saying after the final strike. The result was a benches-clearing incident after the final out.

Dodgers: Max Muncy, INF
Muncy homered off Madison Bumgarner on June 8, reason enough for Muncy to be a fan favorite. But the ensuing exchange became legendary, with Bumgarner yelling at Muncy for admiring his shot, prompting Muncy’s epic response: “If you don’t like me watching the ball, you can go get it out of the ocean.”

The T-shirts couldn’t be silk-screened fast enough.

Giants: Jeff Samardzija, RHP

A former wide receiver at Notre Dame, Samardzija can credit his background in football for more than just his athleticism and competitiveness. His days on the gridiron also helped him develop his chirping abilities, which were on full display during the Giants’ fantasy football draft last year.

“He’s got the football mentality,” former Giants teammate Stephen Vogt said. “He likes to trash talk everybody. He’s always in a good mood, he’s always happy. He can take it, too, so that’s the best. A lot of times you get guys that are trash talkers that can’t take it, but Shark can definitely take it with the best of them.”

Padres: Manny Machado, 3B

“Is that really all you got?” That's the question that Machado asked Mets slugger Pete Alonso as he jogged off the field following Alonso’s mammoth home run at Petco Park in May. Machado punctuated that taunt with a wink.

But Machado's most highly publicized trash-talking incident came last July during the Padres’ four-game series in Los Angeles. A fan taunted Machado about his new 10-year contract, implying that Machado would have the month of October off for a decade.

“I’ll bet you my contract,” Machado said as he turned toward the chirping fan, “that we’ll win a World Series before you guys do.”

Rockies: Nolan Arenado, 3B

This is a bit of a misnomer. Arenado is like the rest of the Rockies in that he doesn’t say much on the field -- but you don’t want to get him riled up. In 2018, Arenado charged the Padres’ Luis Perdomo for throwing a pitch behind him, and last year, Cubs lefty Cole Hamels hit Arenado on the left elbow in what most interpreted as a retaliatory measure for guys hit earlier in the series. Arenado yelled toward Hamels and toward the Cubs’ dugout. Given what he did when he took exception to the Perdomo pitch a year earlier, no one seemed to step toward him.