CNBC’s Darren Rovell reports that, for the first time, Major League Baseball has divulged the list of their top selling jerseys, by player. He has a story about it here and then lists the top 10 in a slide show, which is somewhat annoying. For what it’s worth, Derek Jeter is, not surprisingly, the top seller. Joe Mauer is second. All of the top 10 are superstars like Albert Pujols, Roy Halladay and A-Rod. There are no particularly young players on there, with Tim Lincecum being the baby of the bunch.
I find this interesting: seven of the top ten are white American guys, with A-Rod, Pujols and Jeter being the only Latino and/or black players. That’s not exactly representative of the player pool at large. Does it say anything about player promotion? Fans’ discomfort with wearing jerseys of players of a different race or ethnicity? Does it mean nothing and suggest that I’m just looking for a fight? Probably some of all of that, to be honest. But it is the kind of stuff I think is interesting.
For the record, I own no player-specific merchandise of any kind, but if I was going to buy a jersey I’d probably get a Jason Heyward one simply because he’s the guy I tend to be more of a fanboy of than anyone else. I once wrote a post — which I can’t find at the moment — of what player’s jersey I’d buy if I had to buy one for each team. If I recall, it didn’t track at all closely with who the best or coolest player was for that team. It was rather idiosyncratic, actually. I suppose fulfilling that dream would require a lot of custom orders, though, and that for most people, buying the jersey of a team’s superstar off the rack is a lot easier.
But please, if you happen to see a pre-made Ron Oester Reds jersey, please let me know.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with right-handed reliever Javy Guerra. The deal includes an invitation to major league spring training.
Guerra was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball last July after testing positive for a drug of abuse. That suspension is now over, though Guerra is probably ticketed for the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate to begin the 2016 season.
The 30-year-old made just three major league appearances in 2015 for the White Sox before getting outrighted off Chicago’s 40-man roster. He does own a 2.87 ERA in 150 1/3 career innings, but it has come with bouts of inconsistency and unreliability.
Maybe he can get everything going in the right direction with Anaheim.
As first reported by Bill Shanks of Fox Sports 1670, the Braves have signed right-handed reliever Carlos Torres to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Torres was waived by the Mets in January, somewhat surprisingly, and elected to become a free agent. The 33-year-old ultimately chose Atlanta, where he should have a good shot at an Opening Day roster out of spring training with the rapidly-rebuilding Braves.
Torres posted an ugly 4.68 ERA in 57 2/3 innings last season for the Mets, but he registered a gorgeous 3.06 ERA and 96 strikeouts across 97 innings in 2014.
If he gets off to a good start in 2016, he could become valuable trade bait.
Roberto Osuna became the youngest pitcher to ever play for the Blue Jays last season at age 20 and he rose to the challenge with a 2.58 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 75/16 K/BB ratio in 69 2/3 frames. Osuna eventually took over as Toronto’s closer, earning 20 regular-season saves and one in the American League Division Series — a five-out effort in Game 5 to close out the visiting Rangers.
But the Jays upgraded the back end of their bullpen this winter, acquiring Drew Storen from the Nationals in early January for speedy outfielder Ben Revere. Jesse Chavez was also brought to Toronto in a trade with the A’s.
Storen has more experience at closer than Osuna, and Storen struggled when the Nationals tried to put him in a setup role. Storen, in his final year of salary arbitration, also gets paid much more. He’s probably going to enter spring training as the favorite for the Jays’ ninth-inning gig, but there will be a competition …
Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca on Wednesday that he doesn’t expect the team to choose between Osuna or Storen until midway through spring training, if not later.
There’s been talk of making Osuna a starter, so add that wrinkle.
Storen, 28, boasts 95 career major league saves.
Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.
We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.
Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.
The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.
Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.