Baseball is FINALLY back today, with your Minnesota Twins opening their spring set against the Boston Red Sox this very afternoon. But as long as rivals exist, they will be rounded up, left, right, and center, and this week is no exception.
Next week, we’ll merge into Rival Roundup’s sister series, the Rival Recap, where I’ll take a dive into reviewing each of our four main opponents’ offseasons, reminding you of the major additions and subtractions that we’ve watched take shape over the last few months of the winter. We’ll get primed on the rosters right before the games become official, and have a chance to make our own predictions about the state of the American League Central.
But for now, a little bit of the usual stuff. Enjoy!
- Jose Abreu — the reigning MVP of the American League — will be held out of camp a little while after a bout with COVID-19 in January resulted in a positive test.
- Other than that, the Sox seem to be firing on all cylinders. New-old and old-new manager Tony La Russa has been officially handed the reins with spring training underway, and there’s been no shortage of trash-talking coming out of the Chicago camp. You’ve probably heard by now that Tim Anderson assessed the ChiSox as more athletic than the Twins, but did you know that Adam Eaton once called Tyler Duffey “a meanie?” Well, that’s because he didn’t. You can’t believe everything you read on the internet — let that be a lesson to you.
- The cycle continues...
Shane Bieber said he hasn’t yet had dialogue with Cleveland’s front office about a long-term extension, but he’d be open to it and hopes those conversations take place.— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) February 22, 2021
- The team still has stars like Bieber and his third baseman Jose Ramirez, but this is the same ownership group that brought us such gems as “enjoy him while he lasts,” and has operated in an almost Tampa Bay-like capacity, shipping out guys like Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco, Mike Clevinger, and Francisco Lindor with regularity.
- The club snagged 26-year-old outfielder Harold Ramirez off Miamian waivers, and DFA’d pitcher Jordan Humphreys.
- Our friends at the sister site examine the ramifications of 64-year-old Bryan Shaw being sent out to the mound. An excerpt:
- Don’t ask me why this is coming back into circulation, but almost ten years ago, Beyond the Box Score took a look at some of the worst players (by WAR) in baseball history. Did you know that the Tigers of the late-70’s had three of the bottom ten? You do now, if you didn’t know that from the article dated July 9th, 2012. We are nothing if up-to-the-minute.
- Stockpiling older relievers for their spring effort, the Royals added 35-year-old Brad Brach last week on a minor-league deal. He had a nice little prime, including an All-Star season in Baltimore, but needs to prove he can still hack it after consecutive seasons with an ERA over 5.00.
- The dream of a reunited Herrera-Davis-Holland bullpen is dead, as the opening act of that tandem announced his retirement over the week.
I almost didn’t add a little coda to this article, but then I realized otherwise you’d be left with the parting message of “your dreams are dead,” which I didn’t think was a very cheerful sentiment on the first day of baseball since October. Instead, I’ll leave you something much more upbeat — not ALL of your dreams are dead!