Pitcher Edwin Jackson tied a record on Monday when he started for the A’s against the Tigers. Oakland is Jackson’s 13th big-league team. Former Mets and Yankees reliever Octavio Dotel also played for 13 teams in a 15-year career from 1999 to 2013.
Dotel and Jackson were teammates with the Cardinals in 2011. Dotel also was teammates with Jose Bautista and Neil Walker, who are the active Mets and Yankees who have appeared on the most big-league rosters.
Bautista played with Dotel on the Blue Jays in 2011. That was Dotel’s 11th stop.
“That’s crazy,” Bautista said. “It’s only my seventh.”
Dotel played with Walker on the 2010 Pirates. That was Dotel’s eighth stop.
“That’s pretty impressive,” Walker said. “Thirteen teams. Four for me seems like a lot.”
Yes, Bautista has been on seven teams — two this season — and Walker has been on four, including the Mets and Yankees.
The Yankees have a mostly young and talented roster, so 15 of the players on their current 25-man roster have suited up only for the Yankees in the majors. Three have played for three big-league teams. Six have played for two.
As of Saturday, the Mets had a young 25-man roster, too. Seventeen players have worn only a Mets uniform. Anthony Swarzak has been with six teams, including the Yankees in 2016. Three players have been with four teams, one (Jerry Blevins) has been with three and two have been with two.
What’s the hardest part about joining a new club? It’s pretty much what we all go through when we switch jobs.
“Getting to know the people and making sure they get to know you,” Bautista said. “Just being yourself. Sometimes that’s hard, stepping into a major-league clubhouse and being yourself, being open and vulnerable to another group of guys, showing your personality and who you are.”
Walker grew up outside Pittsburgh and was drafted by and debuted with the Pirates. Until he was traded to the Mets in 2016, Walker figured he’d be a one-team guy his whole career.
“I think everyone’s naïve in that sense,” he said. “The team that drafts you, you come up, maybe play three or four years. Once you start to get to arbitration, things like that, you see more the business side of it. It kind of prepares you for what might come.”
Bautista went through some stuff in 2004, his rookie season in the bigs. Bautista debuted with the Orioles, but because he was a Rule V draftee, he had to stay in the majors all season or go through waivers if a team tried to send him down.
That’s exactly what happened. Three different times. Bautista was claimed by and played for the Rays, Royals and Pirates — four teams in 2004 alone. As a rookie.
“I didn’t know why I kept having to change teams,” he said. “I knew that people wanted me, but at the same time, they couldn’t hold on to me. Part of it made you feel good that they want you in the big leagues. Part of you was like, ‘I must not be ready.’ ”
Bautista’s original organization was the Pirates, and it was from that team that he originally was taken away by Baltimore. Upon his return to Pittsburgh, Bautista eventually found a home. Then he became an All-Star slugger in Toronto.
Bautista signed with the Braves this season before getting released and signing with the downtrodden Mets. On Saturday, the 37-year-old hit the 336th home run of his career in a 5-2 loss to the Marlins.
Bautista said he has appreciated all of his stops, even the ones that were just a few weeks long.
“Everybody’s path lets them be who they are in the present and shaped you in some way,” Bautista said. “It’s hard to just pinpoint. How much did Miguel Tejada and Rafael Palmeiro [with the Orioles] help me talking about hitting? How much did some of the coaches that I had along the way help me with my defense and baserunning? How much did a manager like Lou Piniella with the Rays make you look at the game different the way he managed?”
As for Jackson, he pitched on Saturday, allowing two runs in 6 2⁄3 innings against the Indians. The 34-year-old has a 2.13 ERA in two starts.
“It’s always good to be wanted,” Jackson said after his first outing. “When I can’t find a team that wants to bring me in, then I guess it’ll be time to sit it down.”