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
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.