Between now and Opening Day, every team in baseball will hire some people, sign some people, trade some people and drop some people. But nearly all of the names have to be figured out. While we’re all going to have to wait on the details, we can talk about some general outlines. We can talk about where teams are, and about potential plans. Some teams are positioned to improve; for example, there are plenty of different ways to get better, but getting better is the goal. The same goes for teams poised to get worse; some teams already know they’re about to take a step back. What’s left is to work out how that’s going to look.
So who’s going in which direction isn’t always surprising or suspenseful. We have a pretty good idea the Philadelphia Phillies are going to try to move forward, and will spend some of their resources. Teams like the Texas Rangers, not so much. We know where the Los Angeles Dodgers are, and we know where the Baltimore Orioles are. We can assume how teams are thinking about their offseasons.
When it comes to the big question to buy or sell, though, there are always a few teams that might catch you off-guard. They’re the ones I intend to talk about. I’ve listed six teams, split into two different groups. One group includes three clubs that ought to sell, even though they were at least moderately successful in 2018. And the other group includes three teams that ought to buy, even though you might not think they’re positioned to do so.
This isn’t about going for it versus tearing it all down to the studs. We don’t have to be quite so extreme or dramatic. But this is about thinking shorter term vs. longer term.
Indians unveil alternate red home jerseys for 2019 season
CLEVELAND — The Indians will wear red jerseys next season for the first time since the 1970s.
The team unveiled a new alternate home jersey on Monday. It’s a red top scripted with “Indians” on the front that Cleveland occasionally will wear for home games in 2019.
The Indians last wore red jerseys from 1975 to ’77, when they also wore red pants that won’t be making a comeback.
We’re seein’ red in 2019! 🔴
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) November 19, 2018
Next season, for the first time in 70 years the Indians will not have the contentious Chief Wahoo logo on their uniforms. The club has been phasing out the highly debated caricature for years before striking an agreement with Major League Baseball to discontinue using it on uniforms. The Indians will continue to sell “Wahoo” merchandise at their team shop.
The Indians’ caps as well as their home and road jerseys will feature the guitar-shaped 2019 All-Star Game logo. Cleveland is hosting the 75th event in July.
Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay new to Hall of Fame ballot
NEW YORK — Career saves leader Mariano Rivera and late pitcher Roy Halladay are among 20 new candidates on the Hall of Fame ballot for the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, joined by 15 holdovers that includes Edgar Martinez.
Left-hander Andy Pettitte and infielders Todd Helton, Michael Young and Miguel Tejada also are among the newcomers on the ballot announced Monday.
Steroids-tainted stars Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds each appear on the ballot for the seventh time. Clemens rose to 57.3 percent in the 2018 ballot but fell 75 votes short of the 75 percent needed, and Bonds was 79 votes shy at 56.4 percent. Martinez was 20 votes short at 70.4 percent and Mike Mussina was at 63.5 percent.
Washington Nationals reach 2-year deal with Kurt Suzuki
The news was first reported by MLB.com.
Suzuki played for the Nationals for parts of the 2012 and ’13 seasons, hitting .239 with eight home runs and 50 RBIs in 122 games. He was acquired by the Nationals from the Oakland Athletics in 2012 and then traded back to the A’s in 2013.
Suzuki, who turned 35 after the season, is coming off the best two offensive seasons of his career with the Atlanta Braves and is strong defensively. He hit .271 in 2018, and he had 31 home runs with 100 RBIs in 186 games over his two seasons with Atlanta.
The veteran backstop earned $3.85 million in 2018.
Suzuki, who has a .258 career batting average, has played with Minnesota, Washington, Oakland and Atlanta over his 12 seasons. He was named to the 2014 All-Star team while with the Twins.
He has thrown out 219 baserunners trying to steal a base, which ranks fourth among active catchers. He also ranks fourth in games caught (1,229) and putouts as a catcher (8,250).
Veteran catcher Matt Wieters, who appeared in 76 games for the Nationals in an injury-marred 2018 season, is a free agent.