Are new caps coming to MLB? God, I hope not.

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UPDATE: MLB sources still won’t go on the record about it, but they are walking it back:

 

11:03 AMUni Watch relays word from a source that Major League Baseball’s official on-field caps will be switched to the “Diamond Era” batting practice cap material for the 2014 season and next season and that the current Authentic Collection caps will be discontinued. He further reports that, because MLB is miffed at New Era for doing a deal with the NFL, that it is considering abandoning New Era altogether when their contract is up after 2014. MLB is neither confirming nor denying anything.

Thoughts:

  • The New Era official caps are awesome. They’ve tweaked them a bit over the years — there’s a synthetic CoolBase element to them now as opposed to the all-wools of the past — but they are basically the same product in most respects, particularly in appearance. I’ve noticed they shrink less than the old ones, and for big-melon guys like me (I wear a 7 3/4) hat shrinkage is a problem.  Solid, solid product.
  • I don’t own any of those BP caps, but unlike the changed 59Fifty caps, they just look different. Do not like.
  • I can see why MLB may not like that New Era is making football caps. Until recently most football caps were stupid and flashy and were not the sort of things young people would want to wear as a fashion choice. As such, I feel like you see way more people buying MLB caps than there are actual MLB fans, simply to have cool-looking caps that promote civic pride or what have you. If a comparable NFL product is available (solid color, simple, smaller logo like MLB caps) baseball will surely lose a lot of that market.
  • That said: if MLB is truly in a hissy about all of this and it causes them to switch cap manufacturers, I will be a very sad camper. Both for what it will probably man for aesthetics and for what it would mean for personal fit. Nike and every other manufacturer makes really crappy hats, people. Let’s be clear about this.

I’m not usually one for corporate rah-rah or extreme brand loyalty, but man, I love New Era caps an awful lot. I mean, I’m bald. Caps are important. As such, if MLB moves away from them I will lose it.

Reds ink Oliver Perez to a minor-league deal

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The Reds have signed free agent reliever Oliver Perez to a minor-league contract, the team announced Saturday. The deal comes with a major-league invite and could be worth $1.25 million if Perez secures a roster spot this spring, with an additional $500,000 in potential performance bonuses.

Perez, 36, is coming off of a two-year run with the Nationals. He produced a 4.64 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 an d10.6 SO/9 through 50 relief appearances and 33 innings with the club in 2017. The veteran lefty hasn’t kept an ERA under 4.00 in at least four seasons, but he continues to be undeniably solid against left-handed batters, holding them to a .227/.301/.364 batting line over 18 1/3 innings last year.

While returning southpaw Wandy Peralta appears to have locked down a bullpen spot already, Perez will still compete for another role against fellow left-handers Cody Reed and Amir Garrett, both of whom also have experience in the rotation. If Perez doesn’t break camp with the team, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon notes, he’ll be permitted to opt out of his contract. The Reds are currently looking to bounce back from a dismal performance in 2017, one in which their bullpen ranked 28th among major league teams with a collective 5.63 ERA and -1.2 fWAR.