Earlier on Monday, we learned the Mets are likely to officially name David Wright their team captain before opening day. They would become just the third team with an active captain, joining the Yankees (Derek Jeter) and White Sox (Paul Konerko). Yeah, I'm surprised there are currently only two teams with captains as well.
Unlike hockey, where basically every team has a captain and they proudly wear a "C" on their chest, baseball teams rarely name an official captain. I'm not even sure what a captain does in baseball -- clubhouse speeches seem to be rare and nearly all veteran players take it upon themselves to look out for the youngsters. That said, being name captain is a great honor. Who would the other 27 teams name captain if they had to pick one today? Let's look:
- Angels: Too soon to go with Mike Trout? Probably. Jered Weaver is the obvious alternative even though Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton are making the big bucks. Being homegrown lands him the "C."
- Astros: Egads. Not many candidates here, but Carlos Pena stands out as an established big leaguer who knows what it's like to be a top prospect and fail before bouncing back.
- Athletics: Coco Crisp and Grant Balfour are the veteran leaders in Oakland, but it would feel like a cop-out to go with co-captains. Crisp plays everyday and gets the nod from me.
- Blue Jays: Toronto has undergone a lot of turnover, but the one constant has been Jose Bautista. He's the anchor of the team regardless of how flashy the new additions may be.
- Braves: Chipper Jones is gone, making this a lot more difficult than it would have been a few months ago. Tim Hudson stands out as the "been there, done that, follow me" veteran since Brian McCann is sidelined following shoulder surgery.
- Brewers: PED allegations aside, it has to be Ryan Braun. Pretty easily too. I don't see another worthy candidate.
- Cardinals: Yadier Molina, no doubt about it.
- Cubs: The Cubbies love Anthony Rizzo and I feel like he would get the nod despite being so young (23). Starlin Castro is actually younger (22) despite being more established and would be a fine alternative.
- Diamondbacks: In the wake of the Justin Upton and Chris Young trades, it's pretty clearly Miguel Montero. The catcher is Mr. Everything for Arizona.
- Dodgers: Despite all their stars and high-priced players, I'm thinking it would be Andre Ethier. Ethier has a nice big contract of his own, but he's also the longest-tenured Dodger.
- Giants: Either Buster Posey or Matt Cain works for San Francisco. I'll go with Cain because he's been around a few years longer.
- Indians: Lots of roster turnover in Cleveland and Chris Perez feels wrong given how critical he's been of ownership and stuff. Asdrubal Cabrera? Justin Masterson? Jason Giambi would be a captain candidate if he actually makes the team.
- Mariners: Seattle didn't just make Felix Hernandez the wealthiest pitcher in baseball history not to name him captain, you know.
- Marlins: I feel like Miami would do something weird like name Juan Pierre team captain over Giancarlo Stanton. Either way, I wouldn't sow the "C" on too carefully. Don't expect the guy to be around long.
- Nationals: It will be Bryce Harper one day, but for now we'll go with Ryan Zimmerman. Being the first player ever drafted by the Washington Nationals franchise has its perks.
- Orioles: Brian Roberts would be a good choice if he didn't get hurt all the time, so I'm going with Matt Wieters. Playing so many games behind the plate just screams leadership, no?
- Padres: Chase Headley gets the call here pretty easily. I'm not even sure who would be the runner-up. Huston Street?
- Phillies: This one is clearly Chase Utley for me. With all due respect to Roy Halladay and the team's other stars, Utley is Philadelphia baseball.
- Pirates: Andrew McCutchen is one of the best players in the world and the heart and soul of the Pirates. He's the easy choice.
- Rangers: Hamilton and Michael Young are gone but Adrian Beltre remains. He's their best player on both sides of the ball and has all the necessary veteran-ness.
- Rays: Evan Longoria is the easy answer, but I like Ben Zobrist for the captaincy. He's in the lineup everyday and will play whatever position necessary. Hard not to appreciate that.
- Reds: Brandon Phillips comes off as more outspoken than Joey Votto, but then again Jeter isn't the most vocal person in the world. Leading by example is still leading. Votto it is.
- Red Sox: Jason Varitek retired prior to last season and Dustin Pedroia is the obvious successor. David Ortiz is an icon in Boston and would make a fine captain, but Pedroia is my choice.
- Rockies: With all due respect to Todd Helton, it's got to be Troy Tulowitzki here. Here's their best player, their highest-paid player, their most popular player ... all of that says captain.
- Royals: Not an obvious captain candidate here, but Jeff Francoeur sure does get praised for his leadership quite a bit.
- Tigers: Lots of quality choices here, but I'll go with Justin Verlander. Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder are captains on most other teams, but it's the big right-hander who sets the stage for the rest of the club.
- Twins: Joe Mauer. End of story.
Who should be the captain of your favorite team? Someone different than the player listed above? Tell us about it in the comments.
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