Imagine what it must be like for a Major League Baseball player. They have a career that can start at the age of about 20 or 21 and go until they are about 40, 41, or maybe even a few years beyond that. Now obviously, some players' careers last longer than others. Look at a guy like Angels outfielder Mike Trout. Trout is 27 years old, a superstar in the league, and looks to be on the path of having at least 10 more seasons in the Major Leagues. The Nationals also have a young star in Juan Soto who is in the big leagues at 19 years old. So, he is looking at at least 15 more years in the MLB if all goes according to plan. Look at the middle infield in Houston with Jose Altuve at 28 years old and Carlos Correa who is only 23. However, there are still those players that just seem to hang around and catch on somewhere, even when they are on the second half of their career status.
Some guys like Julio Franco just seem to be around for so long, that we forget that they are still even playing. So, what other players could we dig up and be surprised that are still around? This list looks at names that you might recognize, but also might ask yourself; "This guy is really still in the MLB?". There are always those couple of players that really make us wonder how they are still around. Let's look at 20 MLB players fans didn't realize haven't retired yet.
20 Steve Pearce
When a guy makes his way around an entire division and in his mid 30s, you have to think he would be retired by now. Steve Pearce is known as a power hitting first baseman who hits especially well against left handed pitching.
Pearce found his way to the Boston Red Sox when they let Hanley Ramirez go when you think he would have hung up his cleats.
It has been quite the opposite. Pearce is hitting around .300 this year for the Red Sox and will look to be a big part of their run in the postseason against left handed pitching. It's amazing that Pearce is still making a difference, especially in Boston with the magical season they have been having.
19 C.C. Sabathia
The New York Yankees have had an interesting season. They tried to compete with the Red Sox all season, but had to settle for a Wild Card spot, due to a stacked Boston roster. One guy that is surprisingly still around for the ride is left handed pitcher C.C. Sabathia. The Yankees signed him to a one year contract last off-season at the age of 38. Sabathia is 7-7 this year with a 3.80 ERA. He hasn't been the best, but he has given them quality starts to put them in a post-season position. That's all you can ask from the older lefty pitcher.
18 Jacoby Ellsbury
The New York Yankees thought they knew what they were doing when they signed Jacoby Ellsbury to a seven year, 153 million dollar deal. But since then, he has not put up the same numbers that he did when he was with Boston. A number of injuries have left him out for the entire 2018 season and made him basically a forgotten guy for the Yankees. He only hit .264 in 2017 with seven home runs and 39 RBI's, which aren't exactly the numbers you would expect from a center fielder making over 20 million dollars a year. At 34 and nowhere where he once was in Boston, it is surprising Ellsbury is still going to be around.
17 Jerry Blevins
This next left handed relief pitcher is in his current age 34 season and he has spent the last four seasons with the Mets. Jerry Blevins spent significant time in Oakland before spending one season in Washington before going to the Mets in 2015. The Mets are not having the best of years and he has an ERA nearing 4.00 for the 2018 season.
Blevins has been around since 2007 and it is surprising that he hasn't decided to hang up the cleats just yet.
Then again, a 3.44 career ERA could give Blevins an incentive to play a few more years to try to get that below a 3.00 career ERA.
16 Jason Vargas
While Blevins is enjoying a moderately successful season for his standards with the Mets, Jason Vargas has not had the same luck. Vargas came over from the Royals last season where he was an AL All-Star for the first and only time in his career. Things haven't gone well for Vargas in the National League this season with a losing record and a bloated ERA.
The thing is Vargas is in his age 35 season and he has bounced around to at six different teams during his career. Maybe the writing is on the wall for Vargas that he should retire after this season and it was very surprising that he didn't after his All-Star season in 2017 with Kansas City.
15 Jose Reyes
Jose Reyes has made his way from the Mets, to a few other cities along the way before he found his way back to the Mets. Reyes was a four time All-Star during the prime of his career. However, he is now 35 years old and nowhere near the same player he once was. Reyes hit under.200 this season with a lowly total of four home runs and 16 RBIs. Reyes was good once before, but now might be the time where he needs to realize he has to hang up his cleats for good. Reyes should retire and help the Mets move toward a new direction for their future.
14 A.J. Ellis
A.J. Ellis has been a catcher in the MLB since 2008 and he was with the Dodgers from then until the 2016 season. Since that season, Ellis has been a part of four teams in three seasons. He saw limited action this season, but managed to hit .289 with one home run and 15 RBIs on the season for the Padres.
He only played in less than half a season's worth of games as he was in his age 37 season.
It is amazing to Dodgers fans and fans that follow the game closely that A.J. Ellis is still finding his way onto a big league field. Production wise, that is another different story.
13 Rajai Davis
Rajai Davis was known as one of the fastest guys in the MLB. He still can provide a spark off of the bench with his legs, even though he might not be as fast now as he was in his younger days. He also had an ability to come through in the clutch for the Indians in the 2016 World Series as he hit the game tying home run in the eighth inning of game seven.
He is back with the Indians in 2018 after being with the Oakland Athletics and Red Sox in 2017 but his numbers have been nowhere close to that the Indians were hoping for. It is surprising he is still kicking around in his age 37 season with Cleveland. Maybe he'll prove his worth in the postseason.
12 Shin-Soo Choo
Another player that is surprisingly still around and actually being productive is Shin-Soo Choo. Choo has been a part of several organizations now like the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds. Now, he is with the Texas Rangers and he is making the most of it particularly in 2018.
He was an All-Star this year with a solid batting average while also surpassing 20 home runs and 60 RBIs for the season. Choo is also 35 years old, so it is hard to believe he has much longer in the league considering he has been playing since 2005. It is surprising he has not retired yet, but maybe a few more All-Star appearances can keep his playing career going.
11 Brad Ziegler
Having a pitcher that comes from a weird angle can be a big advantage to teams. Unfortunately, that has not been the case this season for Brad Ziegler. Ziegler has spent his time with several organizations and finds himself in the middle of a pennant race with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The D'backs got him from the Marlins and this year he did not put up ideal production coming out of the bullpen.
He has had seasons where has had a sub-two ERA. At age 38, fans have to wonder how Brad Ziegler hasn't just retired and moved on to the next part of his life.
10 Nelson Cruz
One interesting name that comes up on this list is Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz. Cruz has made a name for himself basically everywhere he has been with his long and powerful swing. Cruz is a six time All-Star, twice with the Texas Rangers, once with the Baltimore Orioles, and three times with the Seattle Mariners.
Cruz was an All-Star again this year with a solid batting average along with still belting home runs and RBIs. Cruz is also 37 years old, so his playing days are almost up. Cruz continues to defy expectations and with him being a free agent this winter, perhaps he'll try going to a contender to finish his career.
9 Bartolo Colon
One pitcher that is somehow still in the Major Leagues is Bartolo Colon. Colon is 45 years old and isn't necessarily in the best shape ever. But, he is still being somewhat effective at age 45 with the Texas Rangers.
Colon has been all over the MLB with multiple teams (11 total).
He is also a four time All-Star and won a Cy Young award along the way. Colon is still a fan favorite when he hits a rare home run or runs the bases. The still amazing thing of all is that Colon is still in the league and hasn't decided to retire into the sunset that is retirement.
8 Joe Mauer
This next name might be a surprise unless you follow the Minnesota Twins on a regular basis. Joe Mauer has been the face of the Twins since 2004. Mauer won the 2009 MVP award and is a six time All-Star. He has hit over .300 seven times in his 15 year career. Mauer is also 35 years old and is still hitting pretty well. Skill wise, he could still play for several more years. But with not much help and a bleak future ahead, it is surprising that Mauer sticks around. Nobody in Minnesota would blame Mauer if he decided to retire sooner rather than later.
7 Fernando Rodney
If there was a pitcher that could only be known for his mannerisms, it would be Fernando Rodney. Rodney has been the closer for several teams throughout his career and is currently trying to help the Athletics make a deep run in the postseason. Rodney is known for his hat to the side and his arrow to the sky celebration every time he records a save. Rodney is also 41 years old and almost done with his career. But still, being a three time All-Star is nothing to be ashamed of if he decided to finally call it a career after this year.
6 Edwin Jackson
Edwin Jackson is one of those rare exceptions where he came into the league in 2003 as a 19 year old.
He has been in the big leagues for 15 years and is in his age 34 season.
It wasn't surprising to see the Athletics bring Jackson in, as the A's are always known for going for a bargain, even if it's for players many feel to be at the end of their rope. He was a 2009 All-Star with the Detroit Tigers. Jackson is 34 years old and there aren't too many teams left to go to. It is surprising Jackson hasn't retired yet.
5 Adam Wainwright
Injuries are starting to catch up to St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright. Wainwright is going to be crucial down the stretch right now as the Cardinals are fighting for a postseason berth, dealing with the Brewers and Cubs just in their own division to start. Wainwright is a three time All-Star and two time Gold Glove winner.
The combination of Wainwright and Martinez will be essential to any Cardinals success next season (they made a solid push for the postseason late this year). It is also amazing to think that Wainwright is still around and still wanting to pursue another World Series like he won during the 2006 Fall Classic.
4 Adrian Beltre
Adrian Beltre is one of the few remaining players in the majors that were around back in the 90s, but Beltre continues to chug along and remain a decent contributor in the majors. He flies a little under the radar because he's remained with a struggling Texas Rangers franchise, but Beltre has quietly joined the 3,000 hit club and if he stick around for another year or two, he can reach the 500 HR club. If a team is willing to bring him back in 2019 as a DH, Beltre can keep reaching milestones and perhaps make a case for the hall of fame.
3 Albert Pujols
One of the most accomplished right handed hitters in MLB history has to be Albert Pujols. Pujols was essential to the Cardinals success in the first half of his career as he was a three time National League MVP, nine time All-Star with the Cardinals, and two time World Series winner. He signed a huge deal with the Angels in 2012, had an All-Star appearance in 2015, and collected a huge payday along the way.
Pujols will be regarded as one of the best overall right handed hitters that the MLB has seen.
It is surprising he is still playing with everything he has accomplished. But with a left knee injury that sidelined him for the rest of the 2018 season, retirement could now be a realistic possibility.
2 Curtis Granderson
At 37 years old, Curtis Granderson still finds his way around to MLB teams looking for a veteran left handed hitting outfielder with some occasional power and speed. Granderson seems to fit that description, which is why the Brewers traded for him in their quest to try and dethrone the Cubs in the NL Central. He proved to be a decent contributor for the Brewers in the stretch run of September.
The Brewers may be looking for the older Granderson to come through in a big postseason moment. But if anyone can come through in the clutch, the Grandy man can!
1 Brandon Phillips
One of the better second basemen for a very long period of time was Brandon Phillips. Phillips was a big time star for the Cincinnati Reds as he was a three time All-Star before he found himself splitting the 2017 season with the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Phillips is now with the Boston Red Sox and already had a signature go ahead home run coincidentally against the Braves to help the Red Sox with a comeback win in Atlanta. Phillips is fighting for a postseason roster spot with the Red Sox, making people wonder why he is still playing in the MLB in 2018.