Veterans Day was this past Tuesday and with veteran mainstay Pat Burrell likely to leave Philly, unless he accepts a low-ball offer of 2 year $20 million, I wondered who is the longest tenured player of each organization. Therefore, I decided to take a look at each team's roster and identify the player(s) that have been on the squad the longest.
Atlanta Braves- John Smoltz, 1988. Smoltz has been tomahawk chopping for 20 seasons now and has built himself a Hall-of-Fame worthy career with 210 victories for the Braves to go along with 154 saves and over 3000 k's. During Atlanta's supremacy (1991-2005), he was the only player on their team I ever liked...unless of course you count that annoying little ankle-biter Mark Lemke. John's playing days are nearing an end at age 41 and rehabbing from arm surgery, but he's not quite ready to hang up the cleats quite yet. When he does decide to retire from baseball a job awaits on the PGA tour.
Florida Marlins- Matt "Misty May" Treanor, 2004. Treanor is best known for having a hot Olympic gold medal winning beach volleyball playing wife, but he's found his niche as a backup catcher with the Fish. It's a good thing he isn't starting catcher or the Marlins would have traded him off by now because of making too much money through arbitration.
New York Mets- Pedro Feliciano, 2002. He is rumored to be on the trading block as GM Omar Minaya views hims as part of the reason the Mets have collapsed in September the past 2 seasons. Personally I feel that's misplaced anger as Feliciano has put up very respectable numbers out of the Mets bullpen over the past 6 seasons as a lefty specialist- 279 games, 3.38 era, 1.38 whip overall, with a .575 OPS against lefthanded batters. Of note- wasn't in MLB in 2005 as he was pitching for Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of Japan.
Philadelphia Phillies- Pat Burrell and Jimmy Rollins, 2000. Burrell is a WSBGM's favorite, and has earned the Phillie Phans respect over his time here. He's more fit for the AL and DH now, but his 251 homeruns and 827 rbi over the past 9 seasons will be greatly missed as he's likely departing for another team via free agency. Rollins on the other hand is the other current Phillie that has been around since the turn of the millennium and he's put up some damn fine numbers from the shortstop position, and is my guess to be a Phillie for life and a possible Hall-of-Famer.
Washington Nationals- Chad Cordero, 2003. He's been with the organization since their Montreal and Puerto Rico days. Cordero was drafted in the 1st round in 2003 and was fast-tracked to the Expos where he quickly became their closer. Chad had arm problems last year and only managed to get into 6 games, but previous to 2008 he racked up 127 saves over 4 seasons as the team's closer. He's a free agent this offseason and it appears the Nationals are moving along without him, but when healthy he's a helluva reliever despite wearing his hat like a mentally handicapped person.
Baltimore Orioles- Melvin Mora, 2000. Mora was always a hitter without a position, playing all over the diamond until he settled in as a 3rd baseman over the past few seasons. He's a reliable source of rbi and pop. He's also the daddy of quintuplets and will likely represent Team Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic in 2009.
Boston Red Sox- Tim Wakefield, 1995. He's a knuckle-baller and has a never ending option with the BoSox, so I expect him to pitch until he's in his 80's or at least mid-70's.
New York Yankees- Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, and Derek Jeter, 1995. Please allow me to be blunt, I hate the Yankees. With that said, it does amaze me that these three cats have been with the Evil Empire for 14 seasons now and it has been their only employer. Rivera and Jeter are destined for Cooperstown and Posada has been an elite catcher for the better part of this decade.
Tampa Bay Rays- Carl Crawford, 2002. Has been the face of the organization since reaching the big leagues and for most of that time up until recently was the only player of true value (need I mention Damian Rolls or Jorge Sosa?). Crawford has a nice blend of pop and speed as he's racked up 311 extra base hits and 302 stolen bases over the past 7 seasons.
Toronto Blue Jays- Roy Halladay, 1998. This guy is one of my favorite pitchers in baseball today, as he's an old school gunslinger that isn't afraid to pitch a complete game (40 CG in 11 seasons)...even if it means going 10 innings. He's the proud owner of two 20 win seasons, 5 All-Star nominations, and 1 Cy Young. If he were a Yankee or Red Sox he'd be mayor by now.
Chicago Cubs- Kerry Wood, 1998. Has struck out 20 batters in one game, has nearly 200 more k's than innings pitched, has clubbed 7 homeruns as a pitcher, and now is a fire-ballin' closer (34 saves in '08). If not for being injured for parts of 2004-2007, we'd be starting the future Hall-of-Famer talk, but Wood will just have to settle for being a beloved Cubbie. The Cubs have announced they're moving on without Wood, but it's difficult for me to picture him wearing any other uniform.
Cincinnati Reds- Aaron Harang and Ryan Freel, 2003. Harang has been the ace of Cincy's staff and has been a reliable winner and innings eater until falling on tough times due to some nagging injuries this past season (17 losses). Freel is a dirtball utility player that can't seem to stay healthy enough to utilize is blazing speed and solid on-base skills. Perhaps he should visit a witch doctor this offseason to heal his medical ailments.
Houston Astros- Lance "Big Puma" Berkman, 1999. Quietly Berkman has become the Major's most underrated player, a title formerly held by Vitamin B popping Rafael Palmeiro and of course French born Steve Jeltz. He is a 6 time All-Star that holds a career line of .302 batting average and .973 OPS...wow!
Milwaukee Brewers- Ben Sheets, 2001. Corey and I have a buddy named Ben Sheets, but it's not the same guy who has mowed down batters like blades of grass under a John Deere for the Brew Crew. Sheets is a free agent and there's a distinct possibility he won't return to the land of cheese, bratwurst, and beer.
Pittsburgh Pirates- Jack Wilson, 2001. Typical old school shortstop that can field but lacks offensive skills. Has been on the trading block for the past 2 seasons, but the Buccos haven't found the right match yet. I heard they're holding out for Pat Meares or Derek Bell to return before dealing him.
St. Louis Cardinals- Rick Ankiel, 1999. From stud rookie pitcher, to basketcase that couldn't hit a target the size of Rosanne Barr in her glories days, to converted outfielder smacking homeruns...Ankiel has done it all. Of note- was not with the Cardinals from 2002-2003 or 2005-2006.
Chicago White Sox- Paul Konerko, 1999. I knew Konerko has been a productive firstbaseman for the past decade, but I had no idea he's been with the ChiSox for so long. He's closing in on 300 homeruns (298)and 1000 rbi (957).
Cleveland Indians- Victor Martinez and Cliff Lee, 2002. Victor and Cliff are two of the reasons that the Indians will compete for the AL Central title in '09, as Martinez is coming back from injury to produce big numbers from behind the plate and Lee is the reigning AL Cy Young.
Detroit Tigers- Brandon Inge, 2001. Thank goodness the Phils didn't trade for Inge this past season, because he wouldn't have made this illustrious list and the Phils may have not made the playoffs, hence no World Series. Seriously though, Inge is that bad of a player, he's done a rapid downward spiral since his career best season of '06 (27 hr/83 rbi).
Kansas City Royals- David DeJesus, 2003. What, you didn't know Kansas City had a team. That's okay, neither does Kansas City.
Minnesota Twins- Michael Cuddyer, 2001. He's from Minnesota and not named Justin Morneau, so I understand if you've never heard of him, but aside from his injury-riddled 2008, he's been a quality big league player for the Twinkies playing multiple positions.
Arizona Diamondbacks- Brandon Webb and Robby Hammock, 2003. Webb is a beast of a pitcher and a perennial Cy Young hopeful. He's won 87 games for the D-Backs over the past 6 seasons. Hammock isn't very good, in fact I heard Abe Nunez mocks him, but he does play many positions (C, OF, 1B, and 3B), so he's hung around long enough with Arizona to actual fit in a category with the likes of the superior Brandon Webb.
Colorado Rockies- Todd Helton, 1997. A double hitting machine (471 in 12 seasons) and a .328 lifetime hitter, Helton is a possibly Hall-of-Famer if he can bounce back from injury and have 3-4 more productive seasons. He's a slick fielder as well, catching 3 Gold Glove awards.
Los Angeles Dodgers- Yhency Brazoban, 2004. Who the hell is Yhency Brazoban? Is this Yhency Brazoban?
San Diego Padres- Trevor Hoffman, 1993. MLB's all-time saves leader with 554, Hoffman has put himself up there with the elite relief pitchers of the past like Dennis Eckersley, Goose Gossage, and Steve Howe. Hoffman's days as a Padre have likely concluded, as they withdrew a piddling offer of 1 year 4 million, which is really more like a slap in the face than a contract proposal.
San Francisco Giants- Kevin Correia and Noah Lowry, 2003. Correia is your run-of-the-mill nondescript pitcher and his days in the Bay area are probably over as the Giants have pretty much cleaned their hands of him. Lowry on the other hand is still around and is actually good, except for the fact that he missed all of '08 with a bum arm.
Los Angeles Angels- Garret Anderson, 1994. Always an Angel, but sometimes hailed from California, Anaheim, Los Angeles of Anaheim, or just plain Los Angeles. Garret has been around for 15 seasons now and the man just keeps getting hits (2368). His option was denied, but there's still a chance the Angelics bring him back at a reduced rate. I surely hope they'd show him some loyalty after all those stinkin' name changes and that 10 rbi game he had for them.
Oakland Athletics- Eric Chavez, 1998. Early in his career he was labeled a young Mike Schmidt because of his power and apt fielding, but injuries have taken their toll on him over the years and now he's nothing more than a contract burden on the cash strapped A's.
Seattle Mariners- Ichiro Suzuki, 2001. Guilty pleasure- being a fan of Ichiro. I love homeruns, but I also love a player that can wield the bat and seemingly command it to do anything he wants it to as if it were Harry Potter's magic wand. Ichiro is to hitter as Amy Winehouse is to junky. In his 8 season in MLB he's had no fewer than 206 hits in a season, going as high as the MLB record 262 in 2004.
Texas Rangers- Michael Young, 2000. If not for a nagging finger injury, Young would have likely reached the 200 hit plateau for the 6th straight season, instead he fell sort (183). He is an excellent fielder and perennial All-Star that will go down as one of the best Rangers since Chuck Norris.