When I was in fourth grade back in 2008, I had almost every Boston Red Sox player’s t-shirt (or shirsey if you will) — from Daisuke Matsuzaka to Dustin Pedroia, to Josh Beckett, I had them all. And that was the case with most kids that age, at least back then. But as time went on, and I got bigger, and some of the players got traded, the t-shirts became useless. Ever since then, I usually have about one Sox shirsey every season just because “Red Sox shirts” aren’t exactly at the top of my “What I should spend money on”-list.
With most people, this is the case: one shirsey lasts them a good few years (at least as an adult) and when that guy retires or gets traded, they buy another one. Only the diehard fans buy almost all of the player t-shirts. But the majority of people are simply casual fans who want to spend money on a player who will be with their team the longest.
So here’s every team’s safest player t-shirt/jersey to buy.
(Team names in alphabetical order. Not locations).
I understand that Mike Trout is the cliché, expected answer. But really, is there any way he gets traded within the next 10-12 years? He’s already put up Hall of Fame-type numbers, and if it continues, he will continue to be the face of the Angels, as well as Major League Baseball.
As for Garrett Richards, he’s a free agent at the end of this year, but the Angels would be diagnosed as “stupid” if they didn’t resign him to a pretty large contract. Over the past two years, he’s quietly forming into the ace the Halos wanted him to be.
The only reason Albert Pujols isn’t on this list is not because he’ll get traded, but because he’s 35 and Trout and Richards will probably be on the team for much longer than him.
Honestly on the Astros, there are a good number of players whose jersey or t-shirt you could buy and have it be worth the money. They have a lot of young talent, but I could only pick at most three.
Keuchel is becoming one of the best pitchers in baseball and has taken lead of the Astros pitching staff. Altuve has been with the team since 2011 and is the main cornerstone the team is building around. Correa is already posting Rookie of the Year numbers, and possible MVP numbers in just his first year in the MLB after being thrown into the Tornad’stro that is the Astros in June (see what I did there?). If Correa continues at this rate, he’s sure to become arguably the best shortstop in baseball.
The only reason George Springer isn’t on this list is because his numbers aren’t outstanding and he is tradeable. But if you want to buy his t-shirt, it would be worth the money.
Oakland Athletics: Sonny Gray
This is a no-doubter.
Gray is the face of the A’s right now and is already one of the best pitchers in baseball, despite it being only his third year in the league. He is arguably the front-runner for the AL Cy Young, and is really the only bright spot coming out of the last-place Oakland A’s.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the Blue Jays are one of the most exciting teams to watch in baseball. Their attendance is soaring through Rogers Centre and the fan base is foaming at the mouth for first place and the postseason.
Bautista is the longest tenured player on the Blue Jays, and is also the most consistent. Every year he puts together an All Star-caliber year, so the $30 toward his t-shirt or $100+ toward his jersey is 100% worth it. Donaldson will be a free agent at the end of this year, but the Jays will surely resign their MVP candidate from this year in the offseason. Tulowitzki, due to his contract, is there until 2020 and will become a cornerstone of the offensive juggernaut. If he continues to play well, the Jays would probably resign him after 2020.
The only reason Edwin Encarnacion isn’t on this list is because he isn’t one of the Top Three. On any other team, he would be but on the current Jays team, he’s not. Still worth the money for a t-shirt or jersey though.
The Braves seem to be in rebuilding mode, so it seems as if no one is safe. But, Freeman and Simmons seem to be the safest. Freeman has become one of the best first basemen in the National League and Simmons is defensively, one of the best.
Before the Trade Deadline, I would have said Carlos Gomez.
But, he got traded.
So now the safe bet is Mr. Steroid’s (Ryan Braun) or Lucroy who has become a solid backstop and was compared to Yadier Molina just last year as one of the best.
No safe bets here, though.
I could honestly put the whole team down.
So instead, I picked just three. Yadier is the cliché one, but is consistently the backbone of this team, year in and year out. Martinez and Wacha have become a dynamic duo of aces for St. Louis and will be around for a long time.
Anybody on the Cardinals is really worth it.
The Cubs have so much young talent here, that it’s again hard to pick just three, but these are the best bets. Rizzo is in the conversation to be the top first baseman in all of baseball and is who the Cubs are building around. Bryant will be hitting bombs over the left field bleachers in Wrigley for a very long time. And Lester is signed through 2020 and is worshiped by Theo Epstein.
Get that jersey quick to gear up for their long-awaited playoff run.
This is a no-brainer.
Goldschmidt is the best first baseman in the MLB right now and is mostly responsible for the D-Backs surprising “success” this year.
Yasmany Tomás would be a solid honorable mention, but isn’t guaranteed to not be traded. He is, however, one of those sought after Cubans that normally take the MLB by storm.
All worth the money.
The Dodgers have many prized possessions, but these three are the most-prized.
Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball and is with this club for a long time. Gonzalez loves the West Coast and continues to produce every year. Even though he’s 33, he still has many great years left. Pederson, despite his horrible batting average (.222), is the future of this team. He can rope the ball and forced Matt Kemp out of town.
Posey is the best catcher in the league. No questions asked.
Bumgarner is currently the best postseason pitcher in the league (also one of the best in the regular season). No questions asked.
All are worth it.
For a last place team, the Indians have a good amount of franchise players.
Despite a tough season in 2014, Kipnis has become a possible MVP candidate this year, just like in 2013. Brantley continues his consistency by getting better every year. Kluber won the AL Cy Young last year, and has somewhat continued his dominance this year.
All three shouldn’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
The Mariners have severely underachieved this year, but like the Indians, have three big franchise players.
King Felix has been the best pitcher in the AL for the past few years. Seager is signed through 2021 and is one of the more underrated players in the game today. Cano is signed through 2023 and despite his lowered numbers, is still a cornerstone player.
All worth it.
There are a few players who are arguably franchise guys for the Marlins (Dee Gordon, Christian Yelich, Adeiny Hechavarria) but with the way the Fish deal with things, the minute those guys want money, they’ll be shipped out of town.
But, Stanton and Fernandez seem to be mainstays.
Stanton has arguably the best raw power in the MLB and Fernandez, when he’s not injured, is one of the most electrifying pitchers in the game. Those are the only two players that are guaranteed to be in Miami for a long time.
Unless you’re a diehard Marlins fan, those are the only two that are staying in the long term.
The Mets have a pretty bright future ahead. Harvey, deGrom and Noah Syndergaard look to be like the 90’s Braves’ starting rotation. But the reason Syndergaard isn’t on this list is because the Mets are severely offensively challenged and could deal one of their three future aces (probably Syndergaard).
Lucas Duda has been the one big bright spot in the Mets offense that will stay awhile (no guarantees on Daniel Murphy).
The only reason David Wright isn’t on this list is because of his long-term injury and his future in jeopardy.
The Nats are a team that have a bright short and long-term future, and it’s mostly because of these two. Harper has come into his own this year and will likely win NL MVP. Scherzer dominates on the mound every time out. He’s also there until 2021.
Ryan Zimmerman is starting to decline and should be, but isn’t on this list. Sorry, Ryan.
The Orioles have one of the best centerfielders (Jones) and one of the best third basemen in baseball (Machado). It is highly unlikely that they would let either go.
The weird one here is Parra.
He is a deadline pickup, and his contract is up at the end of the year. But, with his amazing consistency and being an “Oriole-Type”, the O’s probably will resign him. He’s a great leadoff hitter and some needed extra offense. So if you’re willing to take a chance with your money, Parra is the way to go.
At this year’s deadline, almost every Padre had some rumor surrounding them. But, these three will most likely be mainstays.
Alonso is having a solid year for the Padres this year. Shields and Kemp have such large contracts, that not many teams out there will pick them up because of them. There’s a lot of big names on the Padres but it’s almost guaranteed that most will go in the offseason.
Now is not the best time to buy a player t-shirt or jersey from the Padres.
Philadelphia Phillies: Maikel Franco
The Phillies are the worst team in baseball: no surprise there. There’s only one player on the entire roster who’s jersey is worth buying and that’s Franco. It’s his first full year in the league and he’s got 12 home runs with 47 RBIs and has been really the only bright spot for the poor Phils, and the only reason to watch.
He’s definitely going to be there a long time.
The Buccos are heading into one of the best times of their franchise. There were many that could have qualified for this list, but unfortunately only three could be chosen.
McCutchen is one of the faces of baseball and is the best thing to happen to the Pirates since Bill Mazeroski‘s World Series winning home run in 1960. Gerrit Cole is undoubtedly the ace of the Pirates and becoming one of the true great pitchers around the league. Polanco is on here despite his average numbers this year. He’s one of their most anticipated prospects ever and is a mainstay for the future.
The Rangers went from “in trouble” at the beginning of the year to “contenders next year” come this part of the season. Hamilton will undoubtedly finish the rest of his probable long career in Texas because of how comfortable he feels playing there. Fielder is having an outstanding season this year and will likely stay for a long time and isn’t that old. Darvish did not play this year because of Tommy John Surgery but will be with Texas for awhile and when he’s on the mound, he’s almost un-hittable.
The Rays are the definition of a mediocre ball club: 95% of the roster is mediocre and no one shows up to games.
But if you’d like the t-shirt or jersey of a Rays player that will be there long-term, than Longoria and Archer are the ones for you –and that’s it.
Archer is having a career year while Longoria is having an average one. But unfortunately for them, both are Rays long-term: Archer is signed through 2019 and Longoria through 2022.
The Red Sox are having an incredibly disappointing 2015 season, which could lead to a lot of moves in the offseason. That doesn’t mean that Dustin Pedroia or Blake Swihart are getting moved, but the Red Sox are probably going to listen to offers regarding them. With David Ortiz, he’s not getting traded, but he may only have one or two years left.
Bogaerts is having a career year and is making his case for why he’s one of the best shortstops of the future. Betts has shown that not only can he hit, but he can field and is having such a great season, that he’ll most likely remain untouchable and a Red Sox for a long time.
Travis Shaw has only played 15 games this year, and many don’t know him. But with Mike Napoli gone, he’s the first basemen of the future and looks like a future slugger. Is he untouchable? Not sure. But he’s probably not getting moved any time soon.
For you t-shirt buyers, these three seem pretty safe to me.
The Reds are about to hit a tough stretch of a few years in which the top of the NL Central will be clogged with the Pirates, Cubs and Cardinals. They already traded ace Johnny Cueto and were rumored to trade Aroldis Chapman and Jay Bruce.
But, Votto and Frazier seem like cornerstones that won’t be moved. Votto is signed through 2023 and has mammoth deal that not many would be willing to pick up. Votto’s also a career .310 hitter. Frazier was an All Star this year and the fans love him in Cincinnati. He’s signed through 2016, but is likely to re-sign.
These are three of the best young hitters the game has to offer right now.
Arenado has proven this year that he’s one of the best third basemen in the league at such a young age, Blackmon is an unbelievable all-around centerfielder and LeMahieu is an outstanding second basemen. They’re the three main players who the Rockies are building their new team around and should all be in Denver for a very long time.
The Royals have everything going right. For crying out loud, they’re so good that they have to answer questions from the media with lyrics from Fetty Wap songs: lucky! That alone should be motivation for any lackluster team.
But, picking just three players that will be there for awhile was almost impossible. Hosmer is having his best year and is making the case for best third basemen in the AL. Cain is an outstanding centerfielder. Gordon is out for awhile with a groin injury, but will be back sometime in the near future and is one of the most consistent players in the game with a bat in his hand. He’s also the best defensive left fielder in the MLB right now.
I don’t want to put down Johnny Cueto yet just because no one knows if he’ll resign with the Royals.
The Tigers are surprisingly looking as if they’re heading into a sort of rebuilding (they’ll call it rebooting) mode. But, they still have some outstanding players who will be there awhile. Cabrera is the best hitter in the league: he’s batting .350. and continues to bat at least .300 every year. That doesn’t happen often. Miggy won’t be going anywhere for many, many years. Iglesias has proven just how great of a hitter he really is this year and is the team’s shortstop of the future. Kinsler is signed through 2017 and continues to produce.
J.D. Martinez should be on this list and has better numbers than Kinsler, but Martinez becomes a free agent at the end of this year and whether or not the Tigers re-sign him is a big question.
Both are franchise players.
One’s making an impact now (Dozier) while one will make an impact in the near-future (Buxton). Dozier is the face of the Twins right now, while Buxton is the most anticipated prospect right now. Neither are going anywhere anytime soon.
The White Sox are stuck in no-man’s land of mediocrity. But, they do have two stars who the ChiSox are building their team around: Sale and Abreu.
Abreu was rookie of the year last year along with coming in fourth in the MVP voting as well. He was also an All Star. He’s having a great year in 2015, too. He’s also signed through 2019. Sale has become one of the most lethal pitchers in the game and has become a true ace.
Neither will be going anywhere for a very long time.
The Yankees have a great team now, but as for the future, things look quite bleak. But, there are two players that are franchise guys for the future.
Gardner is having another great year and is arguably the most underrated outfielder in the AL. Tanaka has become a true ace, despite some injuries. Gardner is signed through 2018 while Tanaka is through 2019. Both are likely to resign after their contracts are up.
I mean they are the New York Yankees.
If you’re going for Yankee jerseys, these two are going to be around a long time.