Who Is the Face of Every MLB Franchise?
Every Major League Baseball team has a face of the franchise.
Whether it's an up-and-coming player or a savvy veteran, each team has someone they look to as the leader of the franchise.
Sometimes it's not someone you would expect due to contract situations or standing with fans.
Here's a look at the face of each MLB franchise.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Paul Goldschmidt
Paul Goldschmidt will be getting a big raise after this season.
That's because the Arizona Diamondbacks signed the first baseman to a five-year, $32.05-million deal that will begin next season.
Goldschmidt proved himself last year with 20 home runs and 82 RBI and is already leading the way again this year with nine home runs and 30 RBI.
After the Diamondbacks got rid of Justin Upton, they needed a new player to step into the face-of-the-franchise role. Goldschmidt fits that perfectly as he's a respected player in the clubhouse who produces on the field. Not to mention he'll be around until at least 2019.
Atlanta Braves: Jason Heyward
The Atlanta Braves lost their face of the franchise last year in Chipper Jones.
Now, somebody new must step in.
With Brian McCann's status after this year being uncertain, Jason Heyward is that new face for the Braves. He's a local kid, having grown up just south of Atlanta, and (when healthy) can produce at a good rate.
He's still young, but is one that could be in Atlanta for many years to come.
And if somehow Heyward doesn't work out, Justin Upton could always fill that role. At the rate he's going, there's no chance the Braves will let him walk as a free agent when he becomes one.
Baltimore Orioles: Adam Jones
Adam Jones was on the block prior to the 2012 season for the Baltimore Orioles.
However, the Orioles decided to keep him and it has paid off.
Jones batted .287 with 32 home runs and 82 RBI last year as he also signed a seven-year, $91.65-million deal with the Orioles.
The Orioles have a young group of players who will be together for many years to come. With Jones' leadership, the Orioles will be competing for a long time to come.
Boston Red Sox: David Ortiz
This might be one of the biggest "duh" statements in this slideshow.
David Ortiz bleeds for the Boston Red Sox.
After the Boston bombings, the Red Sox held a ceremony where Ortiz gave his now infamous speech.
I think it's almost safe to say that Ortiz is a bigger face of the franchise than Nomar Garciapara, Jason Varitek, Roger Clemens or Wade Boggs ever were.
Now Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski are a different story.
Chicago Cubs: Starlin Castro
The Chicago Cubs have a good mix of veterans and youngsters.
Starlin Castro is one of those youngsters who the Cubs are hoping can lead the franchise through "the Curse of the Billy Goat."
He recently signed an eight-year, $60.57-million deal with the Cubs, guaranteeing he'll be around through 2019.
While he has been benched in the past for miscues, that seems to all be behind him now.
Now, the Cubs just have to surround him with a little more talent.
Chicago White Sox: Paul Konerko
Paul Konerko is getting close to the end of his career with the Chicago White Sox.
He's done nothing but produce for the White Sox, helping them win a World Series back in 2005.
At the end of his career, Konerko will likely hand over the face-of-the-franchise role to Chris Sale, who looks like he'll be the ace of the rotation for the next 10 years.
Cincinnati Reds: Joey Votto
The Cincinnati Reds have a few players that could be considered the face of the franchise, but Joey Votto is getting the nod here.
In 2011 and a year after winning the NL MVP, Votto signed a 13-year, $265-million contract with the Reds, making him the highest-paid player in team history.
Prior to his injury in 2012, Votto was in the midst of the best three years of his career, well on his way to a third-straight 100-RBI season. While the injury derailed that, he's working on getting back to the level he expects himself to be at.
Votto will finish his career in Cincinnati and there's not a better guy to represent that organization.
Cleveland Indians: Asdrubal Cabrera
Asdrubal Cabrera is one of the best shortstops in baseball.
The Cleveland Indians signed him to a three-year deal to get him through his arbitration years before he's set to become a free agent after the 2014 season.
However, I don't see the Indians letting him go as shortstops like Cabrera don't come to franchises all too often.
Carlos Santana would be another good selection here.
Colorado Rockies: Troy Tulowitzki
By the time Troy Tulowitzki's contract is up in 2020 for the Colorado Rockies, he'll have made a cool $163 million.
When Tulo went out with an injury last year, there was no real incentive to watch the Rockies as they largely struggled.
However, with him back in the lineup this year, the Rockies are having a little bit more success.
Some people will want to go with Carlos Gonzalez here, but money talks and Tulowitzki is being given a lot more by the Rockies.
Detroit Tigers: Justin Verlander
Let's see...who do you go with here. A Cy Young candidate or one of the two MVP candidates?
Since the two MVP candidates aren't homegrown, I'll go with the Cy Young candidate Justin Verlander.
Verlander recently signed a 10-year, $219.5-million contract to make him the highest-paid pitcher in baseball.
No pitcher has been as dominant as Verlander has been since 2009.
Houston Astros: Jose Altuve
The Houston Astros don't have much on the roster, but one of the players they know they need to hang onto is Jose Altuve.
Announcers tend to make fun of Altuve because he only stands 5'5". But with those 65 inches, you get one of the biggest-effort players in all of baseball.
As the Astros rebuild from the ground up, Altuve is one of those players they want to build the team around.
Kansas City Royals: James Shields or Billy Butler
James Shields may still be in his first year with the Kansas City Royals, but someone has to step up and be the face of the franchise. Billy Butler is another player that has stepped up.
Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas have largely failed in those roles as neither has been able to produce like many expected.
Shields has produced in the past and he's producing in the early going for the Royals.
Having someone with a winning pedigree was needed in Kansas City, and that's exactly what Shields provides.
Butler has earned his keep in Kansas City, playing injury-free since 2009.
Los Angeles Angels: Mike Trout
Albert Pujols would be an easy pick here, but the future of the Los Angeles Angels lies with Mike Trout.
Trout almost won last year's AL MVP as a rookie in 2012 and will likely be in more MVP races over the course of his career.
He's a true five-tool player who enjoys the game.
While there are a lot of leadership aspects he still has to learn, Angels fans know that Trout will play a big role in future runs at the World Series.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw
Matt Kemp would be just as good of a pick for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but Clayton Kershaw is one of those rare breeds of pitchers.
Regardless of his win-loss record, one thing that is almost a guarantee is Kershaw is going to keep his ERA low.
Kershaw will eventually become one of the highest-paid pitchers in baseball. When that happens, that will show who the Dodgers value as their face of the franchise.
Miami Marlins: Giancarlo Stanton
Owner Jeffrey Loria has sold off almost everyone else for the Miami Marlins, so all that really leaves is Giancarlo Stanton.
Regardless of the fire sale, Stanton was the face of the franchise even with players like Jose Reyes in town.
However, nobody is sure how long it's going to last after he voiced his displeasure with the team.
Even if the Marlins don't trade him, there's no way he stays in Miami when he becomes a free agent in 2017.
Milwaukee Brewers: Ryan Braun
A few years ago, the Milwaukee Brewers had to make a big decision. Which of their young stars would they re-sign to a big deal and which of them would they allow to test the free-agent market?
As you can see, they chose to pay Ryan Braun the big bucks and let Prince Fielder walk in free agency.
And Braun hasn't disappointed as he's put together two outstanding years, winning one MVP award and finishing second in last year's voting.
Braun will be 37 before he's eligible for free agency. Needless to say, the Brewers feel he's the face of the franchise and are paying him like he's one.
Minnesota Twins: Joe Mauer
There are no better stories than a local kid getting drafted by his hometown team and then going on to star for that team in the big leagues.
That's exactly what Joe Mauer has done for the Minnesota Twins.
For all the talk of injuries and down years, Mauer has shown his leadership on the field and in the clubhouse.
If there's anyone who understands the fans that the organization is playing for, it's Mauer.
New York Mets: David Wright
As I found out in a recent article, New York Mets fans are very passionate about David Wright.
A consummate professional who goes hard all the time, Wright is a hard-working player who never takes a play off.
While everything else seems to be crumbling around the Mets (see Fred Wilpon, Johan Santana, etc.), the one thing that remains constant is Wright.
Without him, the Mets would be lost as a franchise.
New York Yankees: Derek Jeter
This is another one of those "duh" picks.
There's no real need to explain Derek Jeter being the face of the New York Yankees other than he's their captain.
Name me any sport and any team where the "true" captain of the team is not the face of the franchise.
Oakland Athletics: Yoenis Cespedes
The Oakland Athletics are a young team, but they may have struck gold when they won the services of Yoenis Cespedes.
When he's in the lineup, the A's are successful, winning almost two-thirds of their games.
Cespedes has the potential to become the best Cuban-born baseball player and one that will be in the A's lineup for a long time.
Philadelphia Phillies: Cole Hamels
There are many players that could be chosen as the face of the Philadelphia Phillies, but Cole Hamels is going to be the one that is around the longest.
From players like Roy Halladay to Cliff Lee to Jimmy Rollins to Ryan Howard to Chase Utley, the Phillies have multiple star players.
However, Hamels is the one player the Phillies seem to have invested a lot in for the future.
Having signed a seven-year, $153-million contract, and giving him the Opening Day start, the Phillies have shown Hamels is their guy now and in the future.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Andrew McCutchen
Long known to have had speed, Andrew McCutchen added a lot of power to his repertoire last year for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Pirates currently have him on a six-year, $51.5-million contract, which is cheap compared to what he produces.
Pittsburgh is slowly starting to become relevant once again. And while pitching will play a large role in the team's success, without McCutchen, the Pirates wouldn't have a dependable player in the middle of the lineup.
San Diego Padres: Carlos Quentin
Dodger fans are really going to hate this one, but Carlos Quentin is the face of the San Diego Padres.
A hometown guy, I believe Quentin took far less money to stay with San Diego than he could have gotten on the open market.
San Diego has a young roster and they need a leader. That's what Quentin provides both on the field and in the clubhouse.
Now, he may make some bad decisions charging certain pitchers, but what player doesn't make dumb mistakes?
San Francisco Giants: Buster Posey
The San Francisco Giants showed they were all action when they made Buster Posey the highest-paid catcher in baseball history this past offseason.
After leading the Giants to two World Series in the last three years, Posey was rewarded with a nine-year, $164-million contract.
When Posey was injured in 2011, you saw how much the Giants struggled.
With him back in the lineup last year, he led the team to the World Series, winning an MVP along the way as well.
Seattle Mariners: Felix Hernandez
Sure, Felix Hernandez could have gone somewhere else and had a chance to win a World Series.
The Mariners gave him a seven-year, $175-million contract this offseason, showing him he is their face of the franchise.
St. Louis Cardinals: Yadier Molina
Yadier Molina is perhaps the best defensive catcher in baseball.
While he produces at a good rate for the St. Louis Cardinals, Molina's highest value comes from behind the plate.
Once Albert Pujols left town, somebody had to pick up the slack and that's been Molina. Even without Pujols in front of him last year, Molina had the best season of his big-league career at the plate.
Tampa Bay Rays: Evan Longoria
When Evan Longoria signed a 15-year deal with the Tampa Bay Rays, many were surprised.
The Rays have long been known to develop talent and then sell it off before they hit the free-agent market.
Luckily for them, they didn't do that to Longoria as he continues to show why he deserved the contract the Rays gave him.
Regardless of what pieces the Rays move out of town in the future, one thing is for certain...Longoria is there to stay.
Texas Rangers: Yu Darvish
In just a little over a year, Yu Darvish has quickly become the face of the Texas Rangers.
The Rangers no longer have Josh Hamilton to be their face, leaving the job to Darvish.
He's expected to be in town for many years to come and is someone the Rangers can really build around. Luckily for him, this isn't about on-field leadership as the language barrier hinders that.
Still, he's a great player to market for the Rangers.
Toronto Blue Jays: Jose Bautista
Jose Bautista really turned his career around with the Toronto Blue Jays.
When he's healthy and in the lineup, Bautista is blasting home runs like it's nobody's business.
With a lot of new faces on this year's team, fans have looked to familiarity with players from last year's team.
As those players continue to learn the culture of the Blue Jays, it will be Bautista's role to ensure things run smoothly. So far, it's been a rocky start, but it could still turn around.
Washington Nationals: Bryce Harper
I could put Stephen Strasburg here for the Washington Nationals as well, but there's just no telling how long his arm is going to hold up.
Bryce Harper is hated by many fans outside of Washington mainly because of ESPN's (and other sports affiliates') infatuation with Harper.
Every time he gets a multi-hit game, it's a major announcement for ESPN.
But they do have a point. Harper is a big-time player who is going to make the Nationals and MLB a lot of money. So, it's only right they praise him every chance they get.
And he's earned it. His hustle and passion to always play hard is what makes him a good person to represent the franchise.