Winning the World Series is not easy. Only 25 players each year have that privilege of spraying champagne all over each other sometime toward the end of October no matter how deserving the other team or players on that team may be.
Each team plays 162 regular season games with a common goal: To make it to the postseason and eventually win a World Series. The San Francisco Giants are the 2012 World Series Champions, leaving 29 other teams with 25 players on their rosters sulking at home.
Winning a World Series is one of the toughest things in sports to do. Some of the best players ever to play the game retired without a World Series ring on their finger. Ted Williams is arguably the best hitter of all-time and never won a ring whereas Francisco Cervelli won one in 2009 with the New York Yankees.
Baseball isn’t a fair game and just because someone has was it takes to play in the major leagues, works hard every day and puts up great numbers, doesn’t mean they are guaranteed four wins in October.
Here is a player from each team who deserves to win a World Series before they retired.
J.J. Putz has only been to the postseason once over the course of his 10-year career. He’s been on some good teams and definitely his fair share of bad teams.
Putz has eclipsed the 30-save marker four times in his career, accomplishing the feat in his two most recent campaigns with the Arizona Diamondbacks. In 2011, Putz appeared in three postseason games, taking the loss in one of them.
Brian McCann is no stranger to the playoffs; he just has never gotten too far. He’s one of the longest-tenured players on the Atlanta Braves and deserves to at least make it to the NLCS.
McCann and the Braves lost in the NLDS to the Houston Astros in 2005, then to the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS five years later. In 2011, the Braves suffered an epic collapse and failed to make the postseason, and then in 2012, they were eliminated by the St. Louis Cardinals in the one-game playoff.
Nick Markakis hasn’t had a ton of luck playing for the Baltimore Orioles in his seven-year career. He’s really only been a part of one relevant team, and that was in 2012 when he only got to play in 104 games due to injury.
While the Orioles were battling the New York Yankees in the ALDS in these past playoffs, Markakis sat on the bench the entire time. The Orioles play in a very competitive division so for Markakis to win a World Series, it may have to come with a different team.
Dustin Pedroia and the Boston Red Sox won the 2007 World Series, but he definitely deserves to win another. Pedroia played in 159 games for the Red Sox in 2011, when they dramatically collapsed in September and failed to make the playoffs.
Pedroia then had to watch his manager and one of his good friends, Terry Francona, get fired and then deal with the circus that Bobby Valentine brought to Boston in 2012. Pedroia plays hard no matter what the situation and whether he’s injured or healthy. He’s a true competitor.
Anthony Rizzo just completed his first season in a Chicago Cubs’ uniform, playing in 87 games while hitting .285/.342/.463 with 15 home runs and 48 RBI. He is bound to be one of the pieces that the Cubs build around going forward.
Rizzo is already one of the biggest stars in Chicago and he deserves to be. Not many 22-year-olds can hit a home run every six games. To be honest, there aren’t many deserving players on the Cubs who haven’t won a World Series, or won one at all. But there’s no doubt that Rizzo is still very deserving.
Adam Dunn has hit over 400 home runs in his 12-year career. He’s struck out over 2,000 times. He’s driven in over 1,000 runs. None of these statistics include his postseason career. That’s because he’s never played in the postseason.
In Dunn’s eight years with the Cincinnati Reds, two years with the Washington Nationals, one year with the Arizona Diamondbacks and last two years with the Chicago Cubs, he’s never played in a postseason game. The White Sox were in good shape to make the postseason in 2012, but the Detroit Tigers took the AL Central from them and they went home after the minimum 162 games.
Joey Votto has been an MVP candidate year in and year out since coming up with the Cincinnati Reds. He’s came in second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2008, received MVP votes in 2009, won the MVP in 2010 and came in sixth in the MVP voting in 2011.
Votto has played in the postseason twice in his career, never making it out of the NLDS. He was awful against the Philadelphia Phillies in 2010 and then played well in 2012 against the San Francisco Giants, but the Reds were unsuccessful in both.
With Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner both entering free agency this offseason, I’m going with Asdrubal Cabrera as my most deserving Cleveland Indian. Cabrera has played with the Indians since 2007 and has been relatively impressive.
Cabrera is one of the leaders in Cleveland’s lineup and has been one of their representatives in the All-Star Game the past two seasons. He didn’t perform well when the Indians made the postseason and advanced to the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox. That may have been his only postseason opportunity with the Indians, as he’ll likely need to go elsewhere in order to get back.
Todd Helton has been on the brink of winning a World Series Championship, but unfortunately came up short. In his 16-year career all with the Colorado Rockies, Helton has played in the postseason just twice.
In 2007, the Rockies cruised through the National League playoffs only to get swept by the Boston Red Sox in the World Series. In 2009, the Rockies lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS. He’s a career .303 postseason hitter and doesn’t have a lot of time left to win a ring 39-years of age.
Justin Verlander is arguably the top pitcher in all of baseball, and he can’t catch a break when it comes to the postseason. He’s won the AL Rookie of the Year, the AL Cy Young and the AL MVP, but never anything more than an AL pennant.
Verlander was awful during the Detroit Tigers’ run through the playoffs in 2006, losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. Then in 2012, Verlander brought the Tigers back to the Fall Classic, but they were swept by the San Francisco Giants. If he already a Hall of Famer, a ring would certainly do the trick.
There aren’t many deserving players currently on the roster of the Houston Astros, but if there is one, it has to be Jose Altuve, who had a breakout year in 2012.
Altuve, just 22-years-old, went to his first All-Star Game in 2012 as the lone Astros representative. He finished the year with a .290/.340/.399 line with 45 extra-base hits and 33 stolen bases. There’s no way that the Astros win a World Series anytime soon, so Altuve is definitely going to have to wait a while if he ever plans on getting a ring.
Billy Butler is one of the few Kansas City Royals that has a future in the major leagues, along with Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas. Butler, though, has played in Kansas City the longest and is arguably been their most productive player in recent history.
Butler has yet to get a taste of the postseason and it’s tough to say whether he gets there before his contract with the Royals expires. Butler went to his first All-Star Game in 2012, hitting .313/.373/.510 with 29 home runs and 107 RBI in his sixth season with the Royals.
Mike Trout is absolutely the future of the Los Angeles Angels and will eventually lead them to a World Series title. He wasn’t able to get the Angels to the postseason in 2012, but trust me, they’ll get there sooner rather than later.
In just Trout’s first full season in the big leagues, he turned heads like no one before him. He hit .326/.399/.564 with 129 runs, 30 homes runs, 83 RBI and 49 stolen bases. Oh, and he missed the first month of the season while he was still developing in the minor leagues. Trout may not win the MVP award this season, but he will in due time and a World Series MVP will follow shortly thereafter.
Matt Kemp hasn’t necessarily had it easy with the Los Angeles Dodgers over the past seven years, despite putting up some impressive statistics. He can win a Gold Glove, win a Silver Slugger, play in an All-Star Game or receive MVP votes, but nothing compares to playing in the postseason.
Kemp has only been to the playoffs twice, coming in 2008 and 2009. He didn’t hit well in the NLCS, of which the Dodgers reached in both instances, and was even worse in the NLDS. The Dodgers are now very committed to bringing a World Series Championship to Los Angeles, so Kemp may not have to wait much longer.
Josh Johnson has pitched well for the Marlins organization over the past eight seasons, but they haven’t done a lot to back him. They went out and got Jose Reyes, but then traded Hanley Ramirez. Giancarlo Stanton is a superstar, but he needs more help. Johnson can’t pitch Miami into the postseason by himself.
Johnson has been healthy in most years, but has also missed a considerable amount of time in his career. He didn’t have a great 2012 campaign, but still remains the ace of the Marlins’ staff. The Marlins are in deep trouble going forward and Johnson’s best shot at a World Series will come after he becomes a free agent after 2013.
Rookie of the Year? Ryan Braun won it. Silver Slugger? Ryan Braun won it. MVP? Ryan Braun won it. Case against MLB for steroids? Ryan Braun won it. World Series? Ryan Braun hasn’t won it…yet.
Braun is one of the most feared hitters in baseball, slugging in the heart of the Milwaukee Brewers’ lineup. He’s hit well in the three playoff series he’s played in, the NLDS in 2008 and then the NLDS and NLCS in 2011, but his teammates haven’t helped out. The Brewers have the potential to be World Series contenders, but they haven’t cashed in yet. He’s signed for a long, long time, and it’s questionable whether he gets a ring with the Brew Crew.
Joe Mauer is nuts if he thinks he’s ever going to win a World Series title with the Minnesota Twins, but he definitely deserves to win one.
Mauer was one of the best players in the game before injuries started to plague his career. He’s led the league in hitting three times over his nine-year Twins career and won the MVP in 2009. The problem is, though, that the Twins are horrible and don’t have a great outlook going forward. He needs to request a trade if he’s going to win a ring during his career.
David Wright may be the most deserving player on this list. He’s been caught up in the mess that is the New York Mets and while other stars have left, he’s stayed. He’s a hard worker and deserves some support from the organization if they’re still confident that they can win a World Series anytime soon.
If they don’t think that they can, they need to trade Wright to a winning team. It’s not fair to him that they can’t get their act together. He’s done nothing but perform at the highest of levels since coming up in 2004. He’s one of the best players in franchise history and the Mets need to reward him with a ring, even if it means buying it off of someone’s finger.
A lot of the players on the New York Yankees’ roster already have at least one World Series Championship, while others aren’t very deserving. Rafael Soriano is a player who doesn’t have a title and is deserving, though. Despite the possibility that he doesn’t return next season, he would be the most deserving player on the roster if he does.
Soriano stepped up a big way when New York’s franchise closer, Mariano Rivera, went down with a season-ending injury. He played on some bad teams previously in his career, but saved 42 games for the Bronx Bombers in 2012. He pitched well in the postseason, but the offensive stars didn’t live up to their high expectations and the Yankees were eliminated from World Series contention.
Yoenis Cespedes signed with the Oakland Athletics to win a World Series, not to go home after the first round of the 2012 playoffs. It’s only been one season for Cespedes in Major League Baseball, but it was certainly a good one.
Cespedes hit .292/.356/.505 with 23 home runs and 82 RBI in 129 games and should finish highly in the AL Rookie of the Year voting, behind Mike Trout. He also hit well against the Detroit Tigers in the ALDS, collecting six hits in 19 at-bats. Cespedes seems like a determined player who isn’t satisfied with losing, and he can bring the Oakland A’s back to the postseason for years to come.
Roy Halladay was always a great pitcher during his 12 seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays, but he was never able to lead them into the postseason. The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees ran the AL East, leaving Halladay at home during October. That is, until he traded to the Philadelphia Phillies.
In Halladay’s first season with the Phillies, he won 21 games, the NL Cy Young and brought them to the playoffs. He threw a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds in the NLDS, but the Phillies ended up falling to the San Francisco Giants in the NLCS.
The next season, Philadelphia lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS despite two fine Halladay performances. Halladay doesn’t have a lot of time left to win a World Series and the Phillies need to get their act together if he’s going to win one.
Andrew McCutchen has only been a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates for four seasons, but is still one of the longest-tenured players on their roster. He’s also one of their brightest stars who could eventually win them a World Series.
McCutchen led the league in hits in 2012, behind a .327 batting average, 31 home runs and 96 RBI. The Pirates definitely need to add a couple of pieces to complement McCutchen’s abilities, but postseason contention is not far off. If the Pirates would’ve played well during the second half of 2012, they could’ve been in the race.
It’s tough to find a player on the San Diego Padres who deserves to win a World Series, but Mark Kotsay does stand out. He’s 36-years-old, played 16 years in the league and has never made it past the Championship Series of a postseason.
Kotsay has played with the Padres, Florida Marlins, Oakland Athletics, Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers in his career, and has played in the postseason just three times. In all three instances, the team he’s been on has won the AL or NL Division Series, but has also lost the AL or NL Championship Series. Kotsay isn’t a big name, but he can contribute when called upon. He could end up winning a World Series as one of the final guys on a postseason roster in the future.
I’m well aware that Tim Lincecum has two World Series Championships now under his belt, but he deserves a third. Lincecum helped the San Francisco Giants win the World Series in 2010, started five of the six games that he appeared in. He ended up winning four of those games, two coming against the Texas Rangers.
In the most recent World Series, though, we mainly saw Lincecum in relief. He did get to start one game in the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals, but appeared in five games out of the bullpen. If Lincecum is ever going to win another World Series, I think he deserves to be a starter during the playoffs. There’s no doubt that he was effective as a reliever, but he has earned the opportunity to start the next time around.
Felix Hernandez is in a very tough situation with the Seattle Mariners. They aren’t in a great position going forward and compete in one of the toughest divisions in baseball. He’s an ace no matter what team he’s on, but the Mariners don’t have much besides him.
King Felix has done basically everything, but pitch in the postseason. He’s led the league in wins, win percentage, ERA, games started, shutouts and innings pitched, while also winning a Cy Young. There’s not much hope for him pitching in October with the Mariners and will have to wait until he hits free agency to sign with a true contender.
Carlos Beltran is a pretty unlucky guy when it comes to winning in the postseason. The 15-year veteran has been a part of three playoff teams, but has never won the World Series.
In 2004 with the Houston Astros, Beltran was unstoppable at the plate, but Houston lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS. In 2006 with the New York Mets, Beltran was stopped by those same Cardinals, again in the NLCS. Finally, Beltran joins the Cardinals for the 2012 season, but they end up losing to the San Francisco Giants in the World Series. Maybe going back to the AL would work better for Beltran?
Evan Longoria is one of the bright young stars on the Tampa Bay Rays, and has brought them out of the cellar of the AL East in the last few seasons. The Rays, usually one of the worst teams in baseball, have become contenders since Longoria came up in 2008.
Longoria did hit the home run to send the Rays to the postseason in 2011, but they ended losing to the Texas Rangers in the ALDS. They also lost to the Rangers a year earlier as well. In 2008, Longoria helped the Rays reach the World Series, but they ended up losing to the Philadelphia Phillies. He played poorly during his one World Series appearance, but still has a good future ahead of him.
Michael Young has been a member of the Texas Rangers for 13 long years, and yet he’s only played in three postseasons. The Rangers were not very good for a long period of time, despite Young frequently hitting over .300.
It wasn’t until 2010 when Young played in his first postseason. He was terrible during the ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays, but got his act together against the New York Yankees in the ALCS. The Rangers ended up losing to the San Francisco Giants in the World Series. The Rangers lost in the World Series again the next year, this time to the St. Louis Cardinals. In 2012, the Rangers lost the one-game playoff to the Baltimore Orioles and went home earlier than expected.
Jose Bautista has really emerged as a star over the last couple of seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays, after some forgetful years with other organizations. He’s hit at least 27 home runs in each of the last three seasons, but has yet to reach the postseason with the Jays.
Bautista has never played in a playoff game in his nine-year career and it will be tough to do so as a member of the Blue Jays, with the other four AL East teams so competitive. Bautista still has a couple of seasons before he hits free agency, which could end up being his best opportunity to join a World Series contender.
Ryan Zimmerman is the heart and soul of the Washington Nationals, and got them so close to the World Series title in 2012. He’s struggled with the embarrassing rosters that the front office has dealt him, but has still made a nice career for him. Finally, in 2012, he helped the Nationals reach the postseason.
Zimmerman sizzled through the NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals, but Washington fell to the Cards and was eliminated after just five games. The Nationals are now a force to be reckoned with as they’ve constructed a solid roster that can succeed for years to come. It will be a true shame if Zimmerman never gets a ring as a member of the Nationals. He’s worked too hard not to.