Friday, December 1, 2023

Each MLB team’s longest tenured player entering 2022 season: Yadier Molina, Jacob deGrom, Joey Votto and more

The MLB lockout is over and 2022 Opening Day is less than two weeks away. Baseball’s unusual winter saw the offseason split into two sections, with plenty of hot stove action in late-November and mid-March. The new season brings new-look rosters, and a few of them won’t feature familiar names in 2022. 

Ryan Zimmerman, the Washington Nationals’ first ever draft pick back, recently announced his retirement from baseball. Kyle Seager hung up the cleats after 14 professional seasons, all within the Mariners organization. Before the lockout, fans waved goodbye to Buster Posey. Free agency saw Freddie Freeman leave the Braves months after delivering a World Series title.

These are fan favorite, face-of-the-franchise-type players — many of whom spent more than a decade rocking the same threads.

So, with rosters shaken up and a new season about to begin, we wanted to ask: Who is the longest tenured player on each team? This exercise is based on the MLB debut of players who have since continuously remained with their club. They must be listed on the current active roster on their respective team websites. Let’s get to it.

NL East


Freddie Freeman heading to the Dodgers, opened the door for the hometown kid. Swanson was acquired in a trade that centered around Shelby Miller with Arizona in 2015.  


Hard to believe the Phillies’ 2014 first-round pick is already entering his eighth season in the big leagues.


The best pitcher in baseball is under contract with the Mets through the 2022 season with a player option in 2023 and club option in 2024.  


Rojas was acquired by the Marlins in a December 2014 trade with the Dodgers, along with Dan Haren and Dee Strange-Gordon, in exchange for Andrew Heaney, Enrique “Kiké” Hernández, Austin Barnes, and Chris Hatcher.


For the first time in a long time, Ryan Zimmerman will not be the longest tenured National after his retirement. Instead, a different former Nationals first-round pick will claim the title: Stephen Strasburg.   

NL Central


Houser was acquired with Josh Hader, Brett Phillips, and Domingo Santana from the Astros in exchange for Mike Fiers and Carlos Gomez in a midseason trade in 2015.  


Molina signed a one-year deal with St. Louis in what he announced will be his 19th and final season — having spent every one of those in a Red Birds uniform.  


After resurrecting his power and production a season ago, the Reds’ 2002 second-round draft choice is set to tally his 16th season in Cincy.  


The 2021 trade deadline all but gutted the once-seemingly-forever-lasting Cubs core. Kyle Hendricks is one of the few who remain.


Pirates fans are well-versed in waving goodbye to their favorites (Andrew McCutchen, Gerrit Cole, Starling Marte, just to name few). Kevin Newman takes the throne by default.   

NL West


“The Captain,” as he is best known now in the Bay, nearly edged out Brandon Crawford for the tenure title. Crawford made his debut less than two months after Belt made his.


Clayton Kershaw, back for at least one more season in Chavez Ravine, inked a free-agent deal with L.A. after MLB’s lockout ended in March.


Myers was part of a three-team trade in 2014 between that Rays, Padres, and Nationals, which included San Diego sending Trea Turner to Washington. Myers made his Padres debut the subsequent season.


Nolan Arenado, Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, and Trevor Story have all come and gone. The bearded one remains in purple and black. 


Peralta and Nick Ahmed were both called up to the big league squad in 2014 — the former making his debut June 1, 2014, the latter making his just 28 days later.  

AL East


Rays fans have been blessed with watching the platinum glover Kiermaier patrol their outfield for eight-plus seasons.   

Red Sox

Rich Hill and Jackie Bradley Jr. are both shipping back up to Boston, but that’s after spending time elsewhere. Somehow still underrated and too-often overshadowed, Xander Bogaerts is entering his 10th season in Boston.


Brett Gardner plans to play in 2022, but he is not rocking the Pinstripes — at least not yet. That leaves Sevy as the longest tenured Yankee.

Blue Jays

The Blue Jays possess a very young roster. Evidently, Tim Mayza, a relief pitcher who has been up and down from the minors to the bigs for each of the last five seasons, is Mr. Blue Jay.


Mancini is an inspiration to the city of Baltimore and that franchise. He was the O’s eighth-round draft choice back in 2013 and hasn’t looked back.

AL Central

White Sox

Many might have thought Jose Abreu was a lock here, myself included. Alas, Leury García made his debut for Chicago in August of 2013 after being traded over from Texas. Abreu signed after defecting from Cuba just a short time after.


Technically, no player has rocked the new ‘Guardians’ threads. For Cleveland, that is, José Ramirez takes the cake. 


This should come as no surprise. The all-but-certain Hall of Famer is on the cusp of becoming the seventh player in MLB history with 3,000 hits and 500 HR.


Salvy signed a 4-year/$82 million extension that keeps him under contract in Kansas City through 2025 (with a club option in 2026). He doesn’t appear to be going anywhere soon.


Polanco signed with Minnesota out of the Dominican Republic as an international free agent in 2009. He’s been there ever since.  

AL West


Finessing his way into a pro tryout as a 16-year-old in Maracay, Venezuela, the Astros have reaped the benefits of signing Altuve for just $15,000 back in 2007.  


So long, Kyle Seager. Enter, Mitch Haniger. After being included in two separate trades early on in his career, Haniger has found himself a home in the Pacific Northwest.  


After Oakland’s recent sell-off, Manaea holds this title… at least for now. 


Perhaps, you’ve heard of him? Seeing that Trout already has a decade-plus of service time under his belt does make me feel old.


Leclerc being the longest tenured Ranger is not all that eye-opening. Seeing that Willie Calhoun is the second-longest tenured Ranger, however, is a bit jarring.  

Related articles

Share article

Latest articles


Subscribe to stay updated.