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Rival Roundup, Vol. 29: A Light Flurry

The stove is a-simmer as one of the bigger names goes off the board.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

December is upon us — pinecones are in the air, snow is in the lungs, chestnuts are openly roasting on lawns across the nation. Stockings are hung on the front door (with care), and folks everywhere are sitting down to a nice mug of hot wreath. Something, something, holidays. Buzzword buzzword. Michael Buble.

But here in the great state of Twinkie Town, it’s red-hot baseball hot stove summer hot season, fools! So take off those fuzzy socks and put on your brand-new $300 jerseys, because you gotta rep the brand during:


  • The big news of the week comes out of the American League West, which means that my modicum of credibility regarding this linkdump’s association to our direct rivals is immediately called into question. But, ha! The joke is on you, because it feels like more White Sox news than anything else that 1B Jose Abreu is signing a deal with the defending World Champions.
  • Whether Abreu will complete his evolution into the Cuban Nelson Cruz remains to be seen, but the fact that he’s just played 157 games at age 35 and posted 4.2 bWAR (with a still-solid Savant page) bodes well for an analytic-heavy organization ((front office murkiness aside) that just gave him $60 million to keep playing for three more years.
  • Chicago filled the roster spot — or at least, a roster spot — with free-agent starter Mike Clevinger, who returns to the division after a bit of a ramshackle round trip to the San Diego Padres.
  • The Cleveland organization shipped off a lot of personnel from their 2016 pennant-winning starting corps within the last few seasons; Clevinger was one of them, dealt to the Padres in late 2020 shortly after having been put on the restricted list for violating COVID-19 protocol. Clevinger underwent Tommy John surgery soon after, and made just 27 appearances across parts of his two seasons with San Diego; he gave up eight runs in 2.2 postseason innings across two outings this year.
  • The Sox also received a permit to build a new outdoor bar at their ballpark in their first “major” renovation since adding the “Miller Lite Landing” in right field a few years back. As seen on Reddit: “would love a permit for them to build a good roster”
  • The other big divisional signing (get in the holiday spirit and you, too, can be liberal with your adjectives) involved Matt Boyd’s return to the Detroit Tigers, broken on Thursday afternoon.
  • Trade bait for years on an underperforming Tiger team, Detroit finally seemed ready to pull the trigger on a deal in 2020, only for Boyd to put up a 6.71 ERA and give up 15 homers and 45 earned runs in 12 pandemic-era starts. Last year, he found his way into just 13.1 innings with Seattle, where eight walks did nothing to inflate a 1.35 ERA. Now, he’s back in Tiger Town on a $10m deal.
  • Finally, this week Miguel Cabrera made some formal comments in regards to 2023 being his final season. However, won’t he be surprised when he pops off just enough to vest a ‘24 option via MVP voting.

That’s all for this week; as Porky Pig used to say, go do something else now!