The Longest-Tenured Players In Baseball

History is important. It teaches us critical things like who won the Civil War and why it’s a bad idea to drive around on a flat tire and how to get fired as a manager of the Yankees.

Today, we’ll simply log the player for each team with the longest tenure with that franchise — who is currently under contract with that team. It’s a relatively simple exercise, but maybe we’ll find something interesting here.  Let’s face it, sticking around the big leagues is tough and so is winning betting on baseball. For help betting on baseball take a look at BetQL’s MLB picks today to find a winner

Or maybe not. Look, no one’s got a gun to your head.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Howie Kendrick (debuted April 26, 2006)

Howie Kendrick is one of three players currently on the Angels who debuted in 2006, including Erick Aybar and Jered Weaver. That’s not too bad of a haul, and kind of similar to the situation at the other L.A. team.

Houston Astros: Wesley Wright (debuted March 31, 2008)

Of course it’s Wesley Wright. Wait, what?!

Oakland Athletics: Daric Barton (debuted September 10, 2007)

Barton, who has done everything possible to lose the first base job in Oakland, also almost lost this title to Jerry Blevins. Hey, sometimes you just get Blevins’d.

Toronto Blue Jays: Casey Janssen (debuted April 27, 2006)

I did NOT see this one coming. The Jays’ closer debuted several months before Adam Lind, and despite not pitching for the team in 2008, still counts as the longest-tenured Jay.

Atlanta Braves: Tim Hudson (debuted for the team April 7, 2005)

I was absolutely certain that this would be Brian McCann, so shows what I know. Obviously, this used to be Chipper Jones, but now he’s gone … much to the delight of Mets fans like me the world over.

Milwaukee Brewers: Rickie Weeks (debuted September 15, 2003)

Weeks just edges out Corey Hart based on my methodology for this, which gives Weeks credit for seven games played during 2003, his age-20 season. Not bad.

St. Louis Cardinals: Chris Carpenter (debuted for the team April 9, 2004)

Despite catching on with the Cardinals in 2003, Carpenter didn’t debut until ’04. He still beats out Yadier Molina, making him about the only person to escape Molina in a long time.

Chicago Cubs: Carlos Marmol (debuted June 4, 2006)

Sure, Marmol probably won’t make it past 2013 with the team, and that means Alfonso Soriano will be the new longest-tenured Cub.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Miguel Montero (debuted September 6, 2006)

Believe it or not, Montero is the only catcher to make this list. Kids, keep this in mind when choosing positions in wiffleball.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Andre Ethier (debuted May 2, 2006)

Ethier’s another case where the player in question might not be the longest-tenured player on his team for much longer. If Andre gets dealt, Matt Kemp and Chad Billingsley are the next two players in line, both debuting less than two months after Ethier.

San Francisco Giants: Matt Cain (debuted August 29, 2005)

Oceans rise. Empires fall. But somehow, Matt Cain endures.

Cleveland Indians: Asdrubal Cabrera (debuted August 8, 2007)

Sure, it’s possible that Cleveland will re-sign Grady Sizemore or Travis Hafner or Rafael Perez, and one of those three will continue to be the longest-tenured player for the franchise. If not, it’ll be Asdrubal.

[Note: This was recently edited, thanks to reader Jason Lukehart. Thanks, Jason.

Seattle Mariners: Felix Hernandez (debuted August 4, 2005)

It still feels weird not to think of Ichiro as the Mariners’ guy on this list. Nevertheless, Felix is just the best, and a pretty awesome guy to have at the top of your tenure list.

Miami Marlins: Ricky Nolasco (debuted April 5, 2006)

This one is crazily obvious after the team decimated its ranks of anyone making more than a rookie wage-scale contract. Poor Ricky, and poor Marlins fans. After the trade deadline this season, it’ll probably be Chris Coghlan if he isn’t, y’know, out of baseball or something.

New York Mets: David Wright (debuted July 21, 2004)

I can’t imagine that this is particularly surprising to anyone who even remotely follows the Mets. More surprising, perhaps, might be the fact that Johan Santana is the second-longest tenured Met, having spent five seasons with the team.

Washington Nationals: Ryan Zimmerman (debuted September 1, 2005)

There are no people on the Nationals who have been with the team since the Montreal years, which is distressing. Ryan Zimmerman still plays on this team, however, and that is certainly not distressing.

Baltimore Orioles: Brian Roberts (debuted June 14, 2001)

Though it can be easy to forget about Roberts, given how much time he’s missed over the past couple of years, he easily laps Nick Markakis as the longest-tenured Oriole. Welcome to Birdland.

San Diego Padres: Chase Headley (debuted June 15, 2007)

This one could easily revert to Tim Stauffer, if Stauffer re-signs with the Padres this offseason. Stauffer’s been a Friar since 2005.

Philadelphia Phillies: Jimmy Rollins (debuted September 17, 2000)

That’s quite a tenure for J-Roll in Philadelphia, everyone. It’s almost Jeter-esque.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Andrew McCutchen (debuted June 4, 2009)

Yeesh. The Pirates don’t have a single player who started with the team at the top of the 2009 season or before. At least Andrew McCutchen, far and away the best player on their squad, looks to be staying in the Steel City for a while.

Texas Rangers: Ian Kinsler (debuted April 3, 2006)

Ian Kinsler is under contract until 2017 with the Rangers. If he would stay with the team for the entire contract, he’d have 12 years as a Ranger, or just one less than former Ranger Michael Young.

Tampa Bay Rays: Ben Zobrist (debuted August 1, 2006)

With the team dealing James Shields and letting B.J. Upton leave via free agency, Ben Zobrist, believe it or not, becomes the longest-tenured Ray. Unless I’m mistaken, he’s the only player still on the team who was a “Devil” Ray, which is both cool and sad. If only the team had retained J.P. Howell!

Boston Red Sox: David Ortiz (debuted for the team April 1, 2003)

This one’s a gimme, as Big Papi has been a fixture at Fenway for a decade now. Even former Sock Kevin Youkilis wouldn’t have had him beat.

Cincinnati Reds: Bronson Arroyo (debuted for the team April 5, 2006)

Arroyo has been a fixture in the Cincinnati rotation since coming over from Boston, and he narrowly beats out Brandon Phillips as the longest-serving Red.

Colorado Rockies: Todd Helton (debuted August 2, 1997)

The Toddfather is the only player that doesn’t play for the Yankees who’s been with his team since the nineties. Remember the nineties? Mudhoney? Ally McBeal? Yeah, me neither.

Kansas City Royals: Alex Gordon (debuted April 2, 2007)

This was almost Mitch Maier, so ahahahaha. Ahahahahahaha. #theprocess

Detroit Tigers: Justin Verlander (debuted July 4, 2005)

What’s more American than the longest serving Tiger debuting on Independence Day? Rock, flag, and eagle!

Minnesota Twins: Justin Morneau (debuted June 10, 2003)

Yet another player who may not remain past 2013, Morneau will likely get lapped by Joe Mauer, who has the potential to be one of those players who spends his entire career with a team.

Chicago White Sox: Paul Konerko (debuted with the team April 5, 1999)

Sometimes I have to remind myself that Konerko actually played for TWO other major league franchises before settling in with the White Sox. At any rate, only Konerko, Helton, and the two most famous Yankees have been with their franchises since the nineties.

New York Yankees: Mariano Rivera (debuted May 23, 1995)

So this is kind of interesting, as I thought Captain Jeter would have had the earlier debut. In fact, Rivera debuted just six days before Jeter.

So what did we learn from this exercise?

My biggest takeaway is the fact that only five of the 30 players on this list started their major-league career with a different franchise. Only Konerko, Arroyo, Carpenter, Ortiz, and Hudson played ML games for other squads before their long-term landing spots. Sure, Andre Ethier, Asdrubal Cabrera and Ben Zobrist started their careers in other minor league systems, but they hardly count.

How about positions? I was pretty surprised to find that relievers were four of the 30 slots, with Janssen, Wright, Rivera, and Marmol all holding the title of old man of their respective teams. Seven more starting pitchers hold it down for their teams, leaving the rest as position players. Which non-pitching position has the most long-timers? Well, if you count Ben Zobrist as a second baseman — and I do — then, the pivot wins out, with Zobrist, Kendrick, Roberts, Kinsler, and Rickie Weeks. Miguel Montero is the only catcher, but Yadier Molina is close to winning the Cardinals crown if Chris Carpenter gets dealt.

And there are a few teams without players who have five years of tenure on their squads. The Pirates (less than four years) and Astros are actually the only two, but the Athletics are perilously close … and I wouldn’t be shocked if Daric Barton loses his title shortly.

So there you have it. I think there’s one major thing we can all agree on:

Seriously, Wesley Wright!? Jeez, the Astros are terrible.