Diamond Era BP cap

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


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.


  • 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.

Report: Barry Bonds under consideration to be the Marlins hitting coach

Barry Bonds

This shouldn’t cause any controversy, lead to a lot of people saying dumb things or provide fodder for jokes at all. Nope, none whatsoever:

In what promises to be a bombshell move, if executed, all-time great slugger Barry Bonds is under consideration to become Marlins hitting coach.

Team higherups have quietly been discussing this possibility for weeks.

That’s Jon Heyman, who reminds us that Bonds has worked with the Giants in the spring in recent years. And who, no matter what else you can say about him, was one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen. Also worth remembering that despite his controversial past, that greatness came not just from physical gifts, naturally or artificially bestowed. It came from his approach, preparation and strategy at the plate. No one can teach a hitter to hit like Barry Bonds, but you’d think that hitters could be taught to try to approach an at bat the way Barry Bonds would. And who better to do it than Barry Bonds?

That is, if Bonds is willing to drop his seemingly ideal retired life in San Francisco, move to Miami and work for Jeff Loria for nine months a year. Which, eh, who knows? But the possibility of it is pretty fascinating to think about.

Yadier Molina’s new backup: Cardinals sign Brayan Pena to two-year deal

Brayan Pena Reds
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Veteran catcher Brayan Pena has agreed to a two-year, $5 million contract with the Cardinals, who’re investing much more than usual in their backup for Yadier Molina.

After bouncing around for a decade without getting even 250 plate appearances in a season Pena signed with the Reds and topped 350 plate appearances in both 2014 and 2015. His production didn’t improve any, as Pena hit .263 with five homers and a .652 OPS in 223 games as a regular.

Pena’s best skill is rarely striking out, which enables him to hit for a decent batting average, but he has very little power and swings at everything. He struggled to control the running game this season at age 33, but has a decent throw-out rate for his career.

Making a multi-year commitment to Pena suggests the Cardinals are no longer counting on Molina being the same type of workhorse behind the plate, which certainly makes sense given his age and injury history. Pena will replace Tony Cruz, who’s been Molina’s understudy since 2011 while hitting just .220 with five homers and a .572 OPS in 259 games.

While we wait for free agent signings: Andrew McCutchen stars in a one-act play

Andrew McCutchen
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It’s a pretty slow offseason so far. We’ve had a couple of minor signings. I guess Jordan Zimmermann is sort of a big deal. But it’s a lot more quiet so far this year than it was this time last year. I suppose there’s no real rhyme nor reason for it. Baseball offseason is long, there is no salary cap and thus there’s no rush to do things too quickly.

So, while we wait, here’s Andrew McCutchen doing his best to kill time until spring training starts:

Red Sox sign outfielder Chris Young

Chris Young Getty

Veteran outfielder Chris Young thrived in a platoon role for the Yankees this past season and now he’s headed to the rival Red Sox to fill a similar role, signing a multi-year deal with Boston according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.

Young was once an everyday center fielder for the Diamondbacks, making the All-Star team in 2010 at age 26, but for the past 3-4 years he’s gotten 300-350 plate appearances in a part-time role facing mostly left-handed pitching. He hit .252 with 14 homers and a .773 OPS for the Yankees, but prior to that failed to top a .700 OPS in 2013 or 2014.

Given the Red Sox’s outfield depth–Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Brock Holt even with Hanley Ramirez back in the infield–Young is unlikely to work his way into everyday playing time at age 32, but he should get another 300 or so plate appearances while also providing a veteran fallback option. And it’s possible his arrival clears the way for a trade.