Thursday, March 2, 2023

The Oddest Sights of Spring


One of the best parts of Spring Training is getting to see players wearing their new uniforms in whichever capacity, be it long term deals or minor league invites. Moreover, it is getting to see players associated with maybe one or two teams wearing team logos you never expected them to.

Case in point: Johnny Cueto. Cueto is one of those guys who's played for a few teams, and has enough cards in Reds and Giants colors that it makes sense. Even if there aren't a ton of Royals and White Sox cards that exist of Cueto, those were still uniforms he fit into logically. But now we see Johnny Cueto playing for the Miami Marlins. Now, lots of people look weird in Marlins colors, solely because green and teal is such an odd combination, and seeing people like Carlos Lee, Tim Raines, Charlie Hough or Ichiro wearing those colors can be strange. Cueto is just another one, especially because it's late in his career, where it just looks off. He's wore black before, but not green.

I've gone to each Spring Training roster and picked out one player who looks the strangest in that uniform:

Angels: Gio Urshela. Most of the teams Urshela has played for have utilized navy or, at the very least, blue. While Urshela did get a taste of red last year, it wasn't a main color. But now he's wearing all red and white, and not even in the same way he used to in Cleveland. Plus, Urshela's mostly stuck to midwestern and northeastern teams, so a pure west team is odd for him.

Astros: Jose Abreu. Dude spent nine years wearing black and white, and now he suits up for the real villains of the AL. It's not gonna be fun learning to hate Abreu.

Athletics: Jesus Aguilar. Not that him in O's colors wasn't strange, but Aguilar has stuck to navy's and light greens for most of his career, and this is another loud, off-putting uniform to see him in. A lot like Franmil Reyes in Chicago, I wasn't expecting a bright color on someone like him.

Blue Jays: Brandon Belt, narrowly edging out Kevin Kiermaier because he'd wore black for 12 years.

Braves: I guess Joe Jimenez. I'd gotten used to him in navy and white, so red is gonna be weird.

Brewers: Jesse Winker, which is weird, because I was fine with him in Mariners colors. Maybe because they're another NL Central team, and because there's more dominant navy there, that it contrasts so much with his Reds heyday.

Cardinals: Willson Contreras, for a lot of reasons.

Cubs: Trey Mancini. Cannot imagine him wearing blue after all those years of wearing orange. It's that simple.

Diamondbacks: Evan Longoria, another one that isn't too difficult to explain. Mostly cause he's been with two teams for long periods of time and this is a smaller, riskier market.

Dodgers: J.D. Martinez, which I spoke about in Tuesday's post.

Giants: Ross Stripling defeats Mitch Haniger in this category because Stripling's most notable for being a Dodger to me AND has only worn blue. 

Guardians: Josh Bell. It's weird, I could take him wearing red after leaving Pittsburgh, and brown, but apparently not blue. Something about warm colors I guess?

Mariners: A lot of these guys aren't that weird in Ms colors. I guess Kolten Wong by default, even if he did just play for a blue/navy team last year. Also it's Wong in the AL, which hasn't happened yet, and Wong in a division that isn't the NL Central.

Marlins: See above

Mets: Well it's gotta be Justin Verlander, right? Very nearly was Correa but JV gets to play in the NL and for a lighter blue team. It's gonna be so odd collecting Verlander Mets cards, once they eventually come out in like September.

Nationals: Jeimer Candelario, mostly on the 'one notable team' thing. It's weird, because the 2010s Tigers were't even that iconic yet this is the second person in this post that I can't not imagine on the Tigers.

Orioles: Adam Frazier. It's firstly kinda odd that Frazier sort of dropped down from being a must-have signing to being a guy the O's can afford, but also him being a veteran presence on a team that resembles the young Pirates squads he came up with is strange.

Padres: Nelson Cruz, over Bogaerts because Cruz on the Padres seems like a sight that'll stifle people sifting through dime bins in a few years.

Phillies: Craig Kimbrel. He's been in a lot of odd uniforms in the past few years, but the Phillies red and white is pretty odd for him, and it'd be even stranger if he figures out how to work the ninth again.

Pirates: Ji-Man Choi. Mostly cause I figured he'd be on the Rays for a while, but also because I didn't think he'd wind up in Pittsburgh of all places. He should still be in Tampa, those greedy bastards needed him.

Rangers: Well, I should logically go with deGrom here, but...honestly, Nate Eovaldi in bright blue might be a little bit stranger. He's pitched for a lot of navy-capped teams, and going for the full red and blue is gonna be different for him.

Rays: Sort of by default, Zach Eflin

Red Sox: Justin Turner, again I talked about this a few days ago

Reds: Wil Myers, definitely. Another guy who's only played for teams with subdued, darker colors, and so it'll be interesting to see him in Cincinnati. Kinda hope things work out, because I worry his peak years might be done.

Rockies: Brent Suter. He's been a Brewer to me for the last 5 or so years, so this is odd as hell.

Royals: Definitely Aroldis Chapman, because for a while I figured he'd be in pinstripes for the rest of his career. Him in blue isn't an issue, because he played for the Cubs, but...just...seeing him at this stage of his career playing for the Royals is just a sight I never thought would happen. 

Tigers: I guess Michael Lorenzen? Not many options here, honestly. 

Twins: Joey Gallo, amidst fierce competition. Joey Gallo may have reached the Darryl Strawberry-esque 'any team that'll have me' portion of his career, and a lot of these might look quite odd.

White Sox: Andrew Benintendi in all black I wasn't expecting. I barely expected the Yankees to get him last year. I do think the Sox are gonna end up being a good fit for Benny though, it just seems right.

Yankees: Carlos Rodon, but I reckon it's one I'll get used to..

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