A couple of years ago I wrote a couple posts at my old Shysterball blog running down what — in my opinion anyway — were the best and worst all-time looks for each team. It was pretty popular as far as my old Blogspot posts were concerned, so I figure that, in the absence of any fun news, it was worth dusting off the idea and doing it again.
The only difference: attention spans have gotten way shorter since the ancient days of 2008, so I’ll be taking it team by team, rolling this baby out over the next few days. First up: the NL East, starting with the World Series champion — er, what’s that? Wait, they had Hallday, Hamels and Oswalt! What happened? Wow, you just never know in this game, do ya! — N.L. East Champion Philadelphia Phillies!
The Best: Thanks to recent success, their current look — or the Whiz Kid look — is probably considered the classic. I like it, but I like it when they mix in the blue on Sundays too. I may even like it better and if you put a gun to my head I’d say that the current alternates are their best look, even if it’s somewhat jarring, historically speaking. Along those lines, my mind hasn’t changed on these underrated 1930-40s numbers with the blue accents. It helps that Philly lost a hundred games year-in, year-out back when they wore those numbers, as everything is better about the Phillies when they’re losing.
The Worst: I never liked the big-P stuff they wore in the 1970s and 80s. The 1979 numbers — with the alternate all reds — were pretty terrible themselves.
Assessment: The Phillies have landed on a good, classic look and will likely stick with it for a good long time. To the extent they’ve gotten crazy over the years it’s just because they’ve had a really spotted history and, hey, why not experiment? And at least their unfortunate 70s look — which almost every team had — was accompanied by a lot of good play on the field, and that takes the edge off of such things.
The Red Sox have more or less withdrawn from the Edwin Encarnacion sweepstakes, with Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald noting that much of their reluctance hinges on the likelihood that they’d exceed the new $195 million luxury tax threshold by locking the DH into a lucrative deal. That doesn’t leave them without options, however, and FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported that the club could be interested in 29-year-old corner infielder Pedro Alvarez, as well as fellow free agents Mike Napoli and Matt Holliday.
After playing just 10 games at DH from 2010 to 2015, Alvarez suited up as the Orioles’ primary designated hitter and part-time third baseman in 2016. His defense is sub-par, to say the least, but he batted .249/.322/.504 with 22 home runs for Baltimore in 2016.
According to Heyman, the Red Sox envision using Alvarez in much the same way the Orioles did. He’d have a place as the team’s DH with the occasional infield start, while Hanley Ramirez would keep his post at first base. Whether the Red Sox make offers to Napoli, Holliday or Alvarez, they’re expected to pursue a short-term deal in order to stay under budget.
The Braves signed left-handed reliever Jacob Lindgren to a one-year deal, according to a team announcement on Sunday.
Lindgren, the Yankees’ top draft pick in 2014, was nicknamed “The Strikeout Factory” after blowing through four levels of New York’s farm system in 2014. He started the 2015 season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and was called up for his major league debut only two months into the 2015 season. The 22-year-old lasted seven innings with the club before succumbing to bone chips in his elbow, and underwent bone spur surgery in June before trying his luck again during spring training in 2016.
In August, the Yankees shut Lindgren down for the remainder of the season so the lefty could undergo Tommy John surgery. With a projected return date of 2018, Lindgren was non-tendered by the Yankees on Friday.
While the Braves won’t get the benefit of Lindgren’s top prospect skill set in their bullpen anytime soon, he will remain under club control if they keep him on their 40-man roster beyond the 2017 season (per ESPN’s Keith Law).