When Spring Training games begin in a month or so -- it’s that soon! -- you will see the usual jerseys and shirseys in the crowd -- TROUT jerseys in Tempe, MOLINA in Jupiter, JUDGE in Tampa. But anyone can show up in those jerseys. They’ve all owned them for years.
The real fun is going out and grabbing a jersey of your team’s hottest new commodity, being the first one on your block (or your section of the stands) to have your favorite team’s new player. So today we choose the exciting new jersey for each team, the way to stand out from all the TROUTs and JETERs around you. Here’s your team’s top acquisition … and your potential best new jersey.
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Blue Jays -- Hyun-Jin Ryu, No. 99: The Blue Jays’ surprise starting-pitcher acquisition is a blast to have on your team, and he even has a cool number.
Orioles -- Kohl Stewart, No. 53: The rebuilding Orioles didn’t make any big-ticket deals this winter, but the No. 4 overall pick in the 2013 Draft is the sort of post-hype sleeper the new regime might be able to turn into its Jake Arrieta, reversing Orioles history for once.
Rays -- Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, No. 25: The Japanese power hitter is the sort of outsized slugger who could become a cult sensation if he gets hot.
Red Sox -- José Peraza, No. 3: The Red Sox were awfully quiet this offseason, with Peraza their main acquisition. We already knew he wouldn't be donning the No. 9 he wore for the Reds last year: That would be Ted Williams’ number.
Yankees -- Gerrit Cole, No. 45 (Buy it): With any luck, Cole’s 45 will sit in Monument Park, between 44 (Reggie Jackson) and 46 (Andy Pettitte).
Indians -- Delino DeShields, No. 0: You can never go wrong with a No. 0 jersey.
Royals -- Maikel Franco, No. 6: He’ll have plenty of opportunity in Kansas City to remind people of what we were all expecting of him back in the day with the Phillies. He’s still only 27, after all.
Tigers -- C.J. Cron, No. 26: He might instantly become the Tigers’ best hitter, and almost certainly their best power hitter.
Twins -- Josh Donaldson, TBD: Now that he’s in Minnesota, will he go with the “Bringer of Purple Rain” for Players' Weekend?
White Sox -- Edwin Encarnación, No. 23: This White Sox lineup is going to be so young and exciting, but let’s not forget the old guy and his parrot. (If you want to wear Dallas Keuchel’s No. 60, that is also acceptable. The White Sox have had a very fun offseason.)
Angels -- Anthony Rendon, No. 6 (Buy it): A jersey that could rival Trout’s in popularity, at least for this year.
Astros -- Dustin Garneau, No. 13: Ordinarily you wouldn’t get too excited about purchasing the jersey of a backup catcher, but the Astros have had the sort of offseason that might make you want to welcome a guy simply because he wasn’t around for all … that.
Athletics -- Tony Kemp, TBD: Doesn’t Kemp seem like the sort of guy A’s fans will love?
Mariners -- Carl Edwards Jr., No. 16: Probably just worth it to wait for the "CARL’S JR" Players' Weekend jersey.
Rangers -- Corey Kluber, No. 28: He is the most high-profile starter the Rangers have had since … Yu Darvish?
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Braves -- Cole Hamels, No. 32: Hamels has a career 3.19 ERA against the Braves, and he has thrown the third-most innings against them (behind the Nationals and the Marlins). How will he perform wearing their jersey?
Marlins -- Corey Dickerson, No. 23: He’s probably the best hitter the Marlins have had since they traded Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna.
Mets -- Dellin Betances, No. 68: If he’s terrific for the Mets, wearing this will be a rare way to successfully tweak Yankees fans.
Nationals -- Eric Thames, No. 9: Nationals fans are about to learn just how much fun it is to cheer for Thames.
Phillies -- Didi Gregorius, No. 18 (Buy it): The Phillies are getting the hang of this “having to buy a new jersey for a big free agent” thing.
Brewers -- Eric Sogard, No. 7: He actually played for the Brewers in 2017 and '18, but he wore No. 18 during that stint with Milwaukee. That number is now worn by Keston Hiura, so if you’re a Brewers fan who really loves Sogard, you might just have to invest in a No. 7 top.
Cardinals -- Kwang-Hyun Kim, No. 33: Of course, time will tell if this is the only new jersey Cardinals fans will have to choose from.
Cubs – Ryan Tepera, No. 52: Wearing a Ryan Tepera jersey seems like a good, subtle way to protest the idle Cubs offseason.
Pirates -- Guillermo Heredia, No. 5: Yeah, it wasn’t an exciting winter for the Pirates.
Reds -- Mike Moustakas, No. 9: The Reds paid big money for a long time to bring in Moustakas, so you should get some mileage out of this one.
D-backs -- Madison Bumgarner, No. 40: This will finally start to not look weird by the time his contract ends. Though maybe not even then.
Dodgers -- Alex Wood, TBD: You might still have his No. 57 jersey from Wood's last stint in Hollywood, and if he chooses that number again you may just be able to bring it out of your closet.
Giants -- Kevin Gausman, No. 39: Don’t be surprised if Gausman becomes an impact player in San Francisco.
Padres -- Tommy Pham, No. 28: You watch, Padres fans: Pham’s about to become your second-favorite player. (Behind Fernando Tatis, Jr., of course.)
Rockies -- Drew Butera, No. 25: He’s the only Major Leaguer the Rockies have brought in … though that might change any minute now.