The top of the list of best-selling jerseys since the All-Star break is not surprising. But the names which follow him suggest that, contrary to popular opinion, baseball will not be devoid of stars once Jeter retires.
MLB Most Popular Player Jerseys – 2nd Half
Based on sales on MLB.com/Shop of Majestic jerseys since the 2014 All-Star break
1. Derek Jeter, New York Yankees
2. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
3. Mike Trout, LA Angels of Anaheim
4. Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
5. Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers
6. David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox
7. Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates
8. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
9. Yoenis Cespedes, Oakland Athletics/Boston Red Sox*
10. Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox
11. Albert Pujols, LA Angels of Anaheim
12. Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles
13. Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners
14. Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
15. Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles
16. Josh Donaldson, Oakland Athletics
17. Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals
18. Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs
19. Hyun-Jin Ryu, Los Angeles Dodgers
20. Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee Brewers
Numbers 2 through 5 are stars who will be around a good long while. As are 7, 9, 12 and 16-20. But sure, baseball is devoid of players anyone has heard of before.
Around this time last year, the ink was drying on Manny Machado‘s 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres and Bryce Harper was about to put the finishing touches on his 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies. We had gotten used to premier free agents hanging out in limbo until late February and even into March. This past offseason, however, was a return to normal. The top three free agents — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg — all signed in December. Once the big names are off the board, the lesser free agents subsequently tend to find homes. There were a handful of noteworthy signings in January, but pretty much everyone was off the board when February began.
There are a handful of free agents remaining as I write this, with one name really sticking out: Yasiel Puig. Last season, between the Reds and Indians, Puig hit .267/.327/.458 with 24 home runs, 84 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases in 611 plate appearances. He was one of only seven players in the league last year to hit at least 24 home runs and swipe at least 19 bases. While Puig has had some problems over the years, he still possesses a rare blend of power and speed that would seem useful.
The Marlins, White Sox, and Rockies have been linked to Puig this offseason. His market has been otherwise quiet since he became a free agent. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden suggests Puig will have to settle for a “pillow contract” — a one-year deal with which Puig reestablishes his market value, aiming to pursue a multi-year deal the following offseason. Along with the aforementioned three teams, Bowden suggests the Mariners, Indians, Pirates, Giants, Red Sox, and Cardinals as other teams that could potentially fit with Puig, which is not to be confused with teams having expressed interest in his services.