Major League Baseball just released a list of the most popular jerseys sold at their team stores so far this season. Not much surprising about the list. Popular teams sell a lot of jerseys, big name stars go most often. Though there is an undercurrent of younger players creeping into the list. Twelve of the top 20 are players who are 27 years old or younger, which is the most in that category in the four years MLB has been keeping track of these things. Three players – Freddie Freeman, Masahiro Tanaka and Anthony Rizzo – appear on the list for the first time.
I wish they had a list of the most popular custom-jerseys and t-shirts in which names of players who are not currently active were placed on the back. Stuff like how many Bobby Higginson shirts were sold in Detroit and how many Franklin Stubbs shirts were sold in L.A. That would tap into the hipster/ironic purchase market which, while small, is a dynamic sector of the baseball merch economy.
Here’s the list:
1. Derek Jeter, New York Yankees
2. Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
3. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
4. David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox
5. Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox
6. Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
7. Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
8. David Wright, New York Mets
9. Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers
10. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
11. Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates
12. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
13. Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners
14. Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees
15. Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs
16. Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles
17. Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
18. Hyun-Jin Ryu, Los Angeles Dodgers
19. Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants
20. Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers
From Jon Heyman of CBS Sports comes word that the Orioles “like” free agent starter Yovani Gallardo and “have reached out to him” to gauge his interest in coming to Baltimore and what that might cost.
Gallardo rejected a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Rangers earlier this month and so his free agency is tied to draft pick compensation, but that shouldn’t hurt his bottom line all that much.
The 29-year-old right-hander posted a solid 3.42 ERA in 184 1/3 innings (33 starts) this past season for Texas and he pitched well in his one ALDS start.
Heyman reported a few weeks ago that the Diamondbacks are interested, and the Cubs, Blue Jays, and Dodgers were tied to him just ahead of the July 31 trade deadline.
David Price has expressed a desire to return to Toronto, where he finished out the 2015 season, but FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes Wednesday that the Blue Jays “are not expected to be a major factor in his free agency.”
The teams that should be considered serious suitors, per Rosenthal, are the Cubs, Cardinals, Giants, Dodgers, and Red Sox — all deep-pocketed teams looking to contend in 2016. Money is apparently the issue for the Blue Jays, who are currently owned by Rogers Communications.
Price registered an outstanding 2.45 ERA, 1.076 WHIP, and 225/47 K/BB ratio in 220 1/3 innings (32 starts) this past season between the Tigers and Jays, finishing second in the American League Cy Young Award race behind Dallas Keuchel of the Astros.
The 30-year-old left-hander is probably looking for a six- or seven-year contract worth more than $25 million per season. He is represented by agent Bo McKinnis.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald wrote three weeks ago that the Marlins were probably going to explore an extension this winter with second baseman Dee Gordon. And it sounds like those talks are underway.
Via beat writer Joe Frisaro of MLB.com:
As a guest on MLB Network’s “Hot Stove” show Wednesday morning, Gordon confirmed his camp has been in talks with the Marlins regarding a multiyear deal. A source told MLB.com that the discussions are preliminary and have just recently started.
“My agent is doing the talking,” Gordon said on the show. “They’re just keeping me in the loop. I think it’s going pretty well right now. We’ll see how that goes. I’m just playing the waiting game. We’re going to do the right thing.”
The 27-year-old carries three more seasons of salary arbitration, so there’s no real rush to get something done before next spring. Gordon carries quite a bit of leverage after posting a career-best .333/.359/.418 slash line in 145 games this past season for the Fish. He led all major leaguers in hits (205) and stolen bases (58).
Bud Norris has found a home for his attempt at a bounceback season, signing a one-year deal with the Braves. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com says it’s worth $2.5 million, which is a huge cut from his $8.8 million salary this year.
Norris had established himself as a solid mid-rotation starter from 2009-2014, but had a brutal 2015 season split between the Orioles and Padres with a 6.72 ERA in 83 innings and a late-season move to the bullpen.
In announcing the signing the Braves referred to Norris as a starting pitcher, so joining the rotation for a rebuilding team gives him a chance to get his career back on track with an eye on hitting the open market as a free agent again next offseason. And if he fares well, the Braves could use him to add a prospect or two at the trade deadline.