Some of my favorite offseason news is uniform news. As in changes to uniforms. The Twins are the first ones to make news in this regard, though it hasn’t been officially unveiled yet. They’re getting rid of the pinstripes on the home uniforms. They will keep pinstripes on those sweet home alternate throwbacks they wear. They will add a gold drop shadow to the “Twins” lettering.
Pinstripes aren’t anything new and gimmicky for the Twins, of course. They had them since the team moved from Washington before the 1961 season and kept them until 1972. That look is the current home alternate look. From 1972 through 1986 they had solid whites, but those were the pullover doubleknit jerseys sans belt. In 1987 they changed back to pinstripes, and have had them consistently since then.
So this will be the first time the Twins will ever have a home uniform without pinstripes in a non-1970s/early-80s style. Which should probably look good assuming that gold drop-shadow isn’t distracting.
Now: if they’d just stop wearing road alternate solid tops, we’d be in business.
Ken Rosenthal reports that the Phillies are drawing a lot of interest for Marlon Byrd.
Byrd is 37 but he still socked 25 homers last year. In a world where a little bit of power is hard to find, that’s valuable. Especially at $8 million, which is what he’s owed next season. There is an $8 million vesting option for 2016, but if he hits the plate appearances that trigger the option — 463 — it probably means that he’s doing something right, rendering it less of a risk.
Byrd does have a limited no-trade clause. It has four teams — the Blue Jays, Royals, Rays and Mariners — but Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that he has made changes to it. So, I presume, almost any destination is possible.
Jon Heyman reports that Nelson Cruz, who was such a bargain for the Orioles in 2014 thanks to the qualifying offer hanging around his neck, is looking for a long-term deal this winter:
Free-agent slugger Nelson Cruz turned out to be the biggest free-agent bargain in baseball when he hit an MLB-high 40 home runs after signing a one-year, $8 million deal with theOrioles. Now word is, Cruz is very much hoping not to be that sort of a bargain again.
Cruz is seeking a four-year deal at big bucks, according to league sources.
One of the reasons Cruz turned out to be such a bargain was that his production in 2014 was unexpectedly great. He hit 40 homers and had a .525 slugging percentage. But it was also only the second season in his career where he played as many as 130 games and it was by far his most productive year. And it came at age 34.
If Cruz’s definition of “big bucks” is what one normally assumes, it would appear that he thinks that this is what teams can expect from him over the next four years. I have this feeling, however, that most teams are not going to bet big on a 35-year-old replicating those numbers year-in, year-out, especially if he’s not in Camden Yards to do it.
Could be another long winter for Cruz. Sort of like last winter. Which started off like this:
Joe Maddon said in his press conference yesterday that he had no idea that he had an opt-out provision in his contract until someone called and told him so. Today Terry Francona raised the ante on mangers’ ignorance of the circumstances of their employment:
Is that a statement about what life is like after you’re making millions of dollars? That you get to a point where you just don’t pay attention? Or is it some sort of zen managerial brilliance that can teach us all a lesson about focusing on the here and now?
Or is it something else?
Ratto may be a curmudgeon, but he tends to be right about this sort of stuff.