The Best: When I did this a couple of years ago I decided that the classic 70s and 80s uniforms were tops just because so much good baseball was played in them. I’ve changed my mind on this. While a team having its glory years in a given uniform is a plus in its column, it’s not enough to carry the day. Not that the design is bad. Actually, just before the peak of the Big Red Machine, the Reds wore that same basic design in a button down. Small difference, sure, but taking it out of the realm of the pullover makes all the difference, so I’d give those the edge. The current uniforms look a lot like that, but I’d take away the red piping along the buttons and some of the fancy font work to give it that clean look that the early 70s models had.
Worst: 1936 was something of a disaster, as were the vests, though the Reds probably did that look better than any other team that did it (vests are always a negative). There should be a special place reserved in uniform hell for a team with a color in its very name that forgets to use that color prominently, and to the exclusion of all other non-white and non-gray options. Such as when the Reds experimented with black and blue.
Assessment: The Reds have always looked sharp. Cincinnati is a conservative town. Keep it neat and professional like they usually do, and everything will be just fine.
The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.
Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.
As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.