Unlike other major sports, building a championship caliber franchise in baseball can often take several years. In basketball, signing a player like LeBron James can instantly transform a bottom tier team into a playoff contender. However, signing a top hitter in baseball will likely only slightly change your organization's standing. This is because baseball is the ultimate team sport. More often than not, you will need the right combination of pitching, hitting and solid defensive play in order to build a World Series Champion. While building a winner in Major League Baseball is hard, staying on top can be even more difficult. Conversely, once your franchise is trending in the wrong direction, it can be very challenging to right the ship.
Over the last decade, we have seen many teams thrive and make regular appearances during the postseason. That being said, we have also seen more than a few teams who have continued to struggle year after year. So let's now take a look at some teams who have done well in the years between 2007 and 2017 and also discuss some teams who haven't had much success. Here is a list of the eight best and seven worst MLB franchises of the past decade. There are some teams on the list you might expect to see and a few names that may surprise you.
15 Best: New York Yankees
There probably isn't a better-known team in all of professional sports than the New York Yankees. They have won 27 World Series titles, which is the most in Major League Baseball history. Moreover, they have had a great deal of success over the course of their last ten seasons.
The "Bronx Bombers" have been to the postseason an impressive six times in the last decade. This includes three first place finishes in the American League East. They also had a winning record the four seasons they didn't make it to the playoffs. The Yankees were able to add their 27th World Series Championship, in 2009. Given their history of excellence, it's reasonable to assume the Yankees will carry their success into the next decade as well.
14 Worst: Chicago White Sox
While there have been exciting things happening on the north side of Chicago with the Cubs, the White Sox have struggled in recent years. In fact, since their last World Series Championship, back in 2005, they have made only one postseason appearance. There most recent playoff appearance came back in 2008 when they were eliminated in the American League Division Series, by the Tampa Bay Rays. The Sox have not had a winning season since 2012. Furthermore, they finished only three of the last 10 seasons with a winning record. Jose Abreu being awarded Rookie of the Year was one of the few bright spots for the team, over the last several seasons. The Chicago White Sox are easily among one the worst teams in baseball over the last decade.
13 Best: Chicago Cubs
If not for their recent success in the last couple of seasons, the Cubs could have easily found themselves on the other side of this list. However, when you finally win the World Series for the first time in 108 years, then you have to consider that a pretty solid decade.
While they had some pretty bad seasons sprinkled in there, they have made the playoffs four times in the last 10 seasons. The Cub's have also taken home three division titles over the last decade. Moreover, in the last two seasons, the Cubs have had a Cy Young Award Winner, a Rookie of the Year, and the N.L.'s Most Valuable Player. They have a very solid core of young players and should have another nice decade ahead of them.
12 Worst: Seattle Mariners
The Mariners have the unflattering distinction of being a team which has never even appeared in The World Series. You would need to go as far back as 2001 to find the last time they made it to the postseason. They have had only three winning seasons out of the last ten. One of the few positives for the Mariners, over the last several years, has been the outstanding play of starting pitcher, Felix Hernandez. Hernandez was even able to win the Cy Young Award in 2010, a season where the Mariners lost 101 games. They were able to win 86 games and finish second in the A.L. West last season, so things may be headed in the right direction. That being said, the last decade is one Mariners fans would certainly like to forget.
11 Best: St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals are one of the most successful teams in the history of Major League Baseball. Their 11 World Series Championships are the most of any team currently in the National League. Only the New York Yankees have won more World Series titles.
Over the span of the last 10 seasons, the Cardinals have made the playoffs six times. They also won the World Series back in 2011, behind the outstanding play of David Freese, who was named the series MVP. In fact, last season (2016) was the last first time the Cardinals hadn't made the postseason since 2010. They still finished 2016 with a record of 86-76, ten games over .500. Moreover, 2007 was the last time the Cardinals did not have a winning record. Look for this team to get back on track in 2017.
10 Worst: Miami Marlins
As bad as the Miami Marlins have been, they have never lost a postseason series. Both times they made it to the playoffs (1997 and 2003) they were able to win the World Series.
Unfortunately, recent history hasn't been particularly kind to the Miami-based franchise. The team hasn't been to the playoffs since winning the World Series, back in 2003. 2016 marked their seventh consecutive losing season. In 2013, starting pitcher Jose Fernandez was able to win Rookie of the Year in a season where the team won only 62 games. On a sad note, Fernandez, who was one of the team's best players at the time, tragically passed away in a boating accident in September of 2016. Marlins fans are hopeful the team can avoid their eighth straight losing season in 2017.
9 Best: Kansas City Royals
The Kansas City Royals are a team that struggled for much of the first part of the decade. In fact, prior to 2013, the team had not made the playoffs since 1985. Honestly, an argument could be made that there are more deserving teams who should be featured on the list. However, the Royals made back to back World Series appearances in 2014 and 2015. They would even go on to win the championship in 2015. Moreover, they have not suffered a losing season since 2012. They also had a Cy Young Award winner in Zack Greinke in 2012. While Royals fans had to suffer through some hard times, prior to finally winning it all in 2015, I'm sure most felt it was worth it.
8 Worst: Arizona Diamondbacks
This past decade was not particularly kind to the Arizona Diamondbacks. They had only two postseason runs and never got further than the National League Championship Series, where they were swept by the Rockies, back in 2007. Moreover, the Diamondbacks have not had a winning season since 2011, which was also their last playoff appearance. Kirk Gibson being named Manager of the Year in 2011 was arguably the best thing that's happened to the team in the last five seasons. The franchise that got off to a hot start shortly after it was joined the MLB in the late '90s needs to find a way to become relevant again. Diamondbacks fans remain hopeful that 2017 will mark a turning point for this once proud franchise.
7 Best: Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox have been one of the most successful teams in baseball over the last decade. They have won The World Series twice, in 2007 and again in 2013. They have won their division three times and have made five trips to the postseason, in the last 10 years. They were able to win 93 games last year on their way to being swept by the Indians in the ALDS. Last year also marked the final season for the Sox's All-Star designated hitter David Ortiz. However, despite Ortiz's departure, the team still looks very solid going into 2017. The addition of Chris Sale to their pitching staff and a core of outstanding position players, make the Sox one of this year's preseason favorites.
6 Worst: Colorado Rockies
The Colorado Rockies actually had some success in the early part of the last 10 seasons. In fact, they even appeared in the World Series, back in 2007. However, they would go on to lose the series in four games to the Boston Red Sox. The last six seasons in Colorado have been highly disappointing ones. The team has had a losing record since 2011 and has not won more than 75 games in any seasons during that span. Two playoff appearances in the last decade is certainly not what the team's management hoped for. The Rockies look to get on track in 2017 and work toward winning the franchise's first-ever World Series title. However, it will likely be several more seasons before we see that happen.
5 Best: Texas Rangers
Despite struggling for most of the early 2000s, the Texas Rangers have had a great deal of success in recent years under new ownership led by Nolan Ryan. They made consecutive World Series appearances in both 2010 and 2011. However, even with league MVP Josh Hamilton in their lineup, they were unable to win either series. That being said, they have been to the postseason in five of the last seven years. They were able to secure a spot in the playoffs in 2016 but were eliminated by the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALDS for the second consecutive season. If the Rangers continue their regular trips to the postseason, it may be only a matter of time before they obtain their first ever,World Series title.
4 Worst: Milwaukee Brewers
The Milwaukee Brewers have been around since 1969 (including their maiden season as the Seattle Pilots) and have only one World Series appearance to show for it. They would lose their only trip to Worlds Series in 1982 to the St. Louis Cardinals. Milwaukee would not appear in the postseason again until 2008. Despite having one of the league's best players in Ryan Braun, the Brewers have still only made two trips to the postseason in the last 10 years. They have had a losing record in three of their last four seasons. They did make it to the NLCS in 2011 but were ultimately defeated by the Cardinals. The team is currently rebuilding and isn't expected to be a contender anytime soon, especially with the Cubs and Cardinals in their division.
3 Best: Detroit Tigers
With the help of star players such as Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander, the Tigers have had a resurgence in the past decade. They won four consecutive American League Central titles between 2011 and 2014. They also made to the 2012 World Series but lost in four games to the San Francisco Giants. The Detroit Tigers have had just one losing season in the past eight years. Verlander and Cabrera have also won a combined three American League MVP awards in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Additionally, pitcher Michael Fulmer was named A.L. Rookie of the Year last season. While the Tigers have had several postseason runs in recent years, they haven't won the World Series since 1984. The team hopes to change that heading into next season.
2 Worst: San Diego Padres
There is no way around it; the San Diego Padres have had a pretty bad decade. The struggling franchise has failed to make a single playoff appearance over the last 10 seasons. 2010 was the last time the team had a winning record and despite winning 90 games that year, they still didn't make it to the postseason. Since 2010 the organization hasn't been able to win more than 77 games in a single season. Truthfully, the Padres are a historically bad team. The team has been around since 1969 and there is not a single decade where the team has had a win percentage above .500. There is a strong argument to be made that the Padres have been the worst team in baseball over the last 10 years.
1 Best: San Francisco Giants
When your team has won 30 percent of the World Series played over the last ten seasons, it's been a pretty good decade. The San Francisco Giants have been able to win three World Series Championships in the last seven seasons. Their most recent title came back in 2014 when they defeated the Kansas City Royals. The Giants have had a winning record in seven of their last eight seasons, with 2013 being the last time the team had a losing record. However, they would rebound nicely the following year by once again winning the World Series. Prior to their 2010 World Series victory, they had not won it all since 1954. However, due to their recent success, the Giants have had among the best 10 year stretches in all of Major League Baseball.