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...
RIVAL ROUNDUP, BABY
- 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.
Steven Kwan is open to holding talks with the Guardians about a long-term contract extension.— The Athletic MLB (@TheAthleticMLB) February 23, 2023
But Kwan says “it’s mind-blowing” that the topic can be mentioned with a straight face and not seem preposterous.@ZackMeisel explains Kwan's perspective:https://t.co/fdycvHcPj1
- Meanwhile, Guardian manager Terry Francona airs his dental grievances, with a gripe we can all relate to.
Terry Francona got his tooth fixed yesterday, following last week's pasta mishap that resulted in him swallowing a tooth chunk.— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) March 1, 2023
Francona, on dentists: "I don’t understand why they feel the need, when they have both hands down your throat, to ask you how the team’s going to be."
- 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.
We have signed OF Jackie Bradley Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to big league Spring Training.— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) March 1, 2023
- 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.
Aroldis Chapman slipped and fell at his house on Saturday night, cracked a tooth and split his lip open, requiring stitches. It’s still pretty swollen but he’ll try to play catch today, throw a bullpen tomorrow and get into a game soon. He says he’s feeling OK now. #Royals— Anne Rogers (@anne__rogers) February 27, 2023
- Per Fangraphs, the Tigers have no top-100 prospects, but have eleven top-200 prospects, good enough for the Top-200 Prospect Bronze Medal, laying the seeds for Detroit’s master plan to become the greatest .500 team of all time.
- In the big-league meantime, Bless You Boys previews what to expect from the final season of a Detroit legend.
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!