MLB

MLB releases the personalized jerseys for “Players Weekend”

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Back in June Major League Baseball announced that August 25-27 will be “Players Weekend.”  That weekend, players will be allowed to personalize the name on the back of their jerseys and will be able to wear colored spikes, gloves and wristbands and stuff. The only rule is that MLB has to approve the names used — no F-bombs, obviously — and the colors can’t interfere with an umpire’s ability to make a call.

They just released all of the uniform designs. The basic uniforms are pullover v-necks with a solid color body and different color sleeves. You can see the front of every jersey over at MLB.com (they’re selling them, obviously, for $199 a pop). Most of them are fine enough. The Tigers one seems weird as there should be more blue and less orange or gray, but no one asked me. The Yankees script seems off. It should be an “NY.” Again, no one asked me. If you don’t want to click through, this one, which Craig Kimbrel will wear, is pretty representative:

If anyone wants to get me that one I will not object. I take a large.

The nicknames are the real draw here. If you go to this link and click on the team name along the lefthand side it will give you the jersey for every individual player.

Not all have chosen nicknames. Eleven Cardinals players simply chose their own last name as their Players Weekend name. I’m gonna assume they all submitted the most foul and shocking profanity and, once rejected, just went with their real names. A lot of guys have gone with that boring baseball convention of just adding a “Y” or “I” to their last name. Some just put their first name. Dare to dream, gentlemen. Just know that wearing the uniform is the bare minimum when it comes to flair. Some people choose to wear more.

But there are a whole lot of good ones. Like this one, worn by Kyle Seager of the Mariners:

Humor, apparently, does not run in the family:

Josh Phegley of the Athletics has my favorite one, even if it may be uncomfortable for him at some trade deadline down the road:

There’s probably a story behind Jake Marisnick‘s, but I’m not sure that I want to know it:

 

Anyway, most of these are pretty fun. It’s amazing how easy it is to have some fun in baseball if baseball simply tries.

Evan Longoria: ‘I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base’

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The Rays were busy over the weekend, trading starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, designating All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, and then picking up C.J. Cron in a deal with the Angels. The Rays saved about $4 million — Odorizzi’s $6.3 million less Cron’s $2.3 million salary — and picked up a prospect. They’re still on the hook for Dickerson’s $5.95 million salary until they can find a trade partner, which seems likely.

Those are some head-scratching moves if you’re a Rays fan or a member of the Rays. Dickerson hit .282/.325/.490 with 27 home runs, 62 RBI, and 84 runs scored in 629 plate appearances last season, part of which resulted in his first trip to the All-Star Game. Designating him for assignment is strictly a financial move, assuming he can be traded. The Rays are currently operating with a payroll below $70 million. This comes just a week and a half after Rays ownership proposed the public footing most of the bill for the club’s new stadium. And the Rays had traded third baseman Evan Longoria — then the face of the franchise — to the Giants earlier this offseason.

Longoria expressed sympathy for Rays fans for having to put up with this. Via Andrew Baggarly, Longoria said of the curious Dickerson move, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base. … I’m not going to take too many shots but it’s pretty obvious that guy is a valuable player and didn’t deserve to be DFAd. Corey was our best player last year.”

Longoria isn’t quite on the money there. By WAR, Dickerson ranked fifth among position players on the team, according to Baseball Reference. FanGraphs is also in agreement. Still, it’s indisputable that Dickerson, who turns 29 years old this May, more than pulled his weight. The Rays do not have a surfeit of starting outfielders, so it wasn’t like they were making room for other capable players. Mallex Smith, who put up a .684 OPS in 282 PA last year, is slated to start in left field at the moment. Designating Dickerson for assignment, as well as trading Longoria and Odorizzi, were simply cost-cutting decisions.

The Rays’ M.O. has been part of the problem leading to the current stagnant free agent market (sans Eric Hosmer‘s eight-year deal on Saturday). Teams like the Rays, Phillies, Reds, and Tigers have been explicitly putting out non-competitive teams in order to facilitate a rebuilding process. Longoria is right to express sympathy for Rays fans, who see their favorite team worsening a roster that went 80-82 last year. The Rays haven’t finished at .500 or above since 2013 and doesn’t figure to halt the streak this year.