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Rival Roundup, Vol. 38: The Florida Keys

Teams around the division get their first glimpse of a roadmap to 2023 success.

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Chicago White Sox v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images

Times are good — Kris Atteberry and Danny Gladden have provided a soundtrack to this week’s remote office time, there are standings (irrelevant though they may be) to peruse, and with each passing day, camp rosters are trimmed and the impending regular season gets ever closer. That doesn’t mean there still isn’t time for...


  • Steven Kwan was one of the brightest stars out of Cleveland last season; putting up over 5.0 bWAR, the sophomore outfielder looked good pre-shift and may well look better after. Already the owner of a Gold Glove after just one major-league season, the Guardian front office may be interested in locking down young offensive talent, and the feeling might be mutual.
  • Meanwhile, Guardian manager Terry Francona airs his dental grievances, with a gripe we can all relate to.
  • While we’re on the Cleveland train, a fun fact about the Guardian franchise — excluding teams who have never won it all, the Guardians are the only major-league team whose last championship came when there were less than 50 states in the union.
  • Detroit manager A.J. Hinch visited Javier Baez in Puerto Rico this offseason, where they discussed “things you don’t often share in a manager’s office,” finally giving me the motivation I’ve been needing to pick that fanfiction quill back up, and really get down to brass tacks in improving the imagery in my prose.
  • The Royals inked Jackie Bradley Jr. to a minor-league deal. Bradley Jr, famously one of baseball’s streakiest players, posted negative WAR in games between his longtime Boston Red Sox and their rival Toronto Blue Jays in 2022.
  • Elsewhere in the organization, Aroldis Chapman gives us our first “only in baseball” injury of the year, having to be sidelined after simply falling over, as one does.

The World Baseball Classic starts up in a few days, which means we’ll all get to start rooting against the real rivals — our fellow man, and particularly those who fall outside arbitrarily-defined invisible lines. Hopefully, it will be another incredible tournament showcasing the breadth of international talent that the game of baseball has accrued. Until then, you keep those rivals rounding, you!