Earlier this week, I discussed how seven days of service time were potentially the difference between Jose Bautista becoming a Blue Jays franchise icon, as opposed to being more of a footnote had he left as a free agent after 2010.
Instead, Bautista spent just under 10 years in Toronto, racking up 9 years and 38 days of service time. He’s been around so long that when he was acquired, the White House was occupied by a Republican with an approval ratings in the 30s...err, maybe not the best metaphor, but it’s been so long things have come full circle.
Two years ago, I looked at how the roster ranked according to service time with the Blue Jays. Bautista was the leader at the time, and I thought it would be interesting to update the list and see how things look without Bautista.
Aaron Loup is the current leader, having orginally come up in July 2012 (one week before J.A. Happ was acquired) despite spending some time last year on optional assignment. Had he not spent 2015 elsewhere, Happ would top the list. In the last two years, Pillar has jumped over Goins who spent some time optioned.
What’s interesting is how much flatter the list has become, with fewer players with 4-5 years of service and three years needed to make the list. Previously, Pillar and Goins were the bottom of the list, both with less than two years.
What about historically? Two winters ago Bautista was at 7+ years of Blue Jays service, which placed him 25th in franchise history. These last two years have sent him shooting up the leaderboard into 10th place, bumping Pat Hentgen (note that the service time for most is a rough approximation):
The other way I like to look at tenure is by time with the organization, rather than just at the MLB level. Bautista never spent anytime with the Jays in the minors, so in terms of all-time rank here he doesn’t register. But for the entirety of the 2017 season (after A.J. Jimenez was released in February), he was the longest tenured player in the entire organization. Bautista joined Blue Jays when George W. Bush was President and was a major leaguer continuously. No other player’s entry into the organization even predates Barack Obama.
How does it look now? The leader may be a bit of a surprise:
The all-time list for organization tenure is unchanged from two years ago.