Major League Baseball: Players Who Look the Strangest in Their New Uniforms
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Another hectic Major League Baseball offseason is coming to a close and there are plenty of faces in strange new places heading into spring training.
We’ve seen everything from a former MVP heading to a division rival to a Cy Young award winner heading to another country.
With the free-agent market dwindling down to just a few remaining standout names, teams are beginning to assemble their rosters in preparation for spring training.
Here are some players who look the strangest in their new uniforms.
Jose Reyes: Toronto Blue Jays
Jose Reyes tries on his new Jays jersey.
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The Toronto Blue Jays were certainly the winner of the November 12-player megadeal that sent Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, John Buck and Emilio Bonifacio to Toronto for Henderson Alvarez, Adeiny Hechavarria and a prospect package.
Reyes, who proved his durability by playing in 160 games, is coming off another highly productive season where he batted .287 with 57 RBI and 40 stolen bases.
When Reyes signed with Miami in December 2011, it was completely plausible to imagine the Dominican-born All-Star shortstop playing for the new-look Miami Marlins. Miami has a large Latino population and it looked like Reyes could potentially be the new face of the city.
Of course, we know Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria had a different idea of what his team should look like after a disaster 93-loss season.
Now in Toronto, Reyes not only looks incredibly goofy in blue uniform with the new Canadian maple leaf hat, but will likely not be the face of this franchise.
Scott Baker: Chicago Cubs
Scott Baker will be taking his talents to Chicago in 2013.
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Scott Baker’s career has been defined by winning records, mediocre ERAs and the inability to go the distance. However, Baker has played his entire career in Minnesota and has been a staple of that rotation for the last seven seasons.
While starting just 21 games in 2011, Baker had one of the most productive seasons of his career despite the Twins' struggles. He managed an 8-6 record with a 3.14 ERA and 123 strikeouts.
Baker spent the entire 2012 season recovering from elbow surgery, but apparently the Chicago Cubs saw his 2011 performance as a reason to sign the 31-year-old right-hander.
The Cubs expect Baker to be an important part of this Cubs rotation in 2012. To produce, Baker must stay healthy and manager Dale Sveum should limit his innings in spring training.
Usually, it takes about two years for pitchers to return to form after Tommy John surgery, so there’s a good chance Baker won’t get off to a great start.
Tommy Hanson: L.A. Angels
Hanson pitching against the Angels in May 2011.
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When Tommy Hanson first broke into the big leagues, I thought for sure the Atlanta Braves had their ace for the next decade.
Baseball America had Hanson as the No. 4 prospect in baseball prior to the 2009 season. The 22-year-old righty proved deserving of the recognition, posting an 11-4 record with a 2.89 ERA and 116 strikeouts in his first big league season.
In December, the Braves decided to go a different direction with their rotation, trading Hanson for Angels reliever Jordan Walden straight up.
The deal made sense for the Braves, who have an arsenal of young pitching talent in the minors and a potential ace in Kris Medlen.
The once-clean-cut Hanson has now grown a scragglier beard and longer hair, both of which will match his vibrantly red Angels hat.
Seeing Hanson in an Angels uniform will certainly be strange for Braves fans in 2013, but if his numbers resemble his 2012 campaign, they won’t be too upset.
Hiroyuki Nakajima: Oakland Athletics
Beane crowning Nakajima as the Athletics' new shortstop.
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Few press conferences for newly signed players have been as goofy as the exchange between Billy Beane and Hiroyuki Nakajima in December.
The Oakland Athletics have been looking into acquiring the Japanese Saitama Seibu Lions shortstop for a couple of years now and finally decided to pull the trigger on a deal.
In the press conference, Nakajima had a grin on his face throughout the introduction and even referred to Beane as “extremely sexy and cool” at one point in the interview.
Nakajima will join a scrappy and eclectic roster that will include the Cuban Yoenis Cespedes, the Dominican Bartolo Colon and the Australian Grant Balfour.
The Athletics have a tough task in front of them for 2013. They’ll attempt to compete in a division with the Mariners, Rangers and the new-look Angels.
Carlos Pena: Houston Astros
Pena will take his vicious uppercut swing to Houston this spring.
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Carlos Pena signed a $2.9 million deal with the Houston Astros in December. He’ll be integrated into an Astros club in the midst of rebuilding.
This marks Pena’s seventh team in his 12-year career, and what better place to get playing time than Houston.
What makes this move so goofy is Pena’s presence on a roster full of young, unproven talent. He’ll be the only face in the lineup above the age of 30, giving him the opportunity to be a leader and mentor for some of the younger guys.
Pena, who batted just .197 with 61 RBI and 19 home runs in 2012, is poised to be the leading offensive producer on this roster.
It’s undoubtedly going to be a long season for Astros fans, but Pena will provide enough excitement to fill some seats at Minute Maid Park.
Ervin Santana: K.C. Royals
Ervin Santana has his GPS set for Kansas City this spring.
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Former Angels starter Ervin Santana may have finally found a niche on a team comparable to his production over the years.
In what seemed like nothing more than a salary dump, the Angels traded Santana to the Kansas City Royals for prospect Brandon Sisk.
The 30-year-old Santana has been a familiar face in the Angels rotation since he broke into the league in 2005. His best season came in 2008, where he went 16-7 with a 3.49 ERA and 214 strikeouts.
After pitching through his worst season since 2009, Santana is looking to rebound in 2013 with a fresh start in a new ballpark.
Santana will drop the Angels’ red for the Royals’ baby blue and attempt to bolster a Royals rotation that’s struggled over the last couple of seasons.
Kevin Youkilis: N.Y. Yankees
Kevin Youkilis is exchanging pinstripes and heading for New York.
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Yankee fans are going to have to get used to the idea of a former foe wearing the coveted pinstripes.
In December, the New York Yankees signed Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis to a one-year, $12 million deal. Youkilis has been one of the faces of the Red Sox franchise for the last decade and is no stranger to enhancing the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry.
The most famous altercation between Youkilis and the Yankees came in 2008 when Joba Chamberlain located a mid-90s fastball inches from Youkilis’ head. The incident caused manager Terry Francona and Josh Beckett to verbally and publicly retaliate after the game.
How Youkilis will fair in enemy territory still remains in question, along with what to expect from this Yankees franchise as a whole in 2013.