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Rival Roundup, Vol. 36: The Beat of Your Own Drum

The passing of a Cleveland legend leads this week’s roundup.

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Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Cleveland Indians Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The baseball offseason is funny in that it winds down just as things are beginning to ramp up. It’s the quietest point of free agency, despite pitchers and catchers reporting within the next two weeks. Early November simultaneously feels like an age ago, and also not that long at all. But through the grueling winter, one constant remains.


  • It’s not often that a fan ingrains themselves into the fabric of a franchise, but when they do, it’s usually for a special reason. In the case of John Adams, a Cleveland supporter across multiple ballparks, that reason had to do quite literally with the beating heart of the organization. Whether or not you recognize the name, you probably recall that making a trip to play the Guardians involved listening to a steady drumbeat in the bleachers; the 71-year-old Adams, who passed away this week, had sat in the bleachers with a $25 bass drum since 1973. Tributes flooded the Cleveland baseball blogosphere and beyond.
  • Zack Greinke ain’t dead yet, and he’s returning to the Kansas City Royals on another one-year deal, as he vies for (or nonchalantly stumbles into, in truer Greinke fashion) 3,000 strikeouts before it’s all said and done; meanwhile, the Royals bolster their pitching staff, retain veteran leadership for their young pitching corps, and attempt to cement a “KC” logo on his eventual Hall of Fame cap.
  • The Athletic graded the offseason of all 30 teams, and to the delight of Twins fans everywhere, the Chicago White Sox scored the lowest possible ranking and garnered the only “F” assessment. Writer James Fegan’s comments highlighted the holes in the roster that went unplugged through the winter, but the larger concerns for Sox fans will be the franchise’s rocky follow-through after setting themselves up for success with an exciting young core.
  • 2022 was filled with injuries, underperformance, and intra-division defeats; after winning the division handily in 2021, Chicago had to withstand the loss of their clubhouse leader, the dismissal of their mesozoic manager, and a general lack of direction, all by the end of 2022. With Cleveland in prime contending position and the White Sox in possession of one of the lowest-ranked farm systems in baseball, it’s hard to suss out a path for their immediate success.
  • Speaking of barren farm systems, some of the Tigers’ biggest acquisitions this off-season include signing Cameron Maybin and Todd Jones to TV deals, while old friend Jack Morris will leave the broadcast in lieu of an assignment reduction. Michael Lorenzen and Matthew Boyd remain Detroit’s only two major-league free agency acquisitions during this offseason period.
  • However, they have invested $2.5 million on ballpark upgrades, one million of which will go toward the outfield dimension update previously discussed. Unfortunately, unless those dimension updates reveal a crop of major-league ready youngsters hiding behind the existing wall, the Tigers are in trouble. Unable to compile a winning season since 2016 — including a 47-114 campaign in 2019 under Ron Gardenhire — the Tigers are mired in rebuild hell, stuck with underperforming prospects at the big-league level, and sporting a minor-league system completely devoid of talent that should be hitting what with Detroit’s high draft positions of the last 7 years.

On that deliriously positive note, have a great weekend, and don’t put all your rivals in one roundup.