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Cooperstown 2020…

The National Baseball Hall of Fame is due to announce their latest inductees a week from today so the Blowhard will lay his “vote” out here.  This years’ list appears to be pretty cut and dried to me.  Though you know that won’t be the case when we see the actual results.

We’ve already said our piece in many past columns on how we feel about the various versions of the committee’s formerly known as the Veteran’s Committee.  This old committee has been split up into several other “era” committees.  But they basically serve the same purpose.  To revisit previously overlooked candidates for the Hall of Fame.

Not sure they were actually “overlooked”, but you get my point.  Players are now given a second chance to enter the Hall (or 16th, 17th or 25th chances, if you will).

In my opinion, most of these guys don’t deserve induction.  They had their run on the ballot and didn’t get in initially.  No new “sabermetric” or other modern stat is going to change my mind.  You’re either a Hall of Famer or not.  That should be pretty easy to tell.  But apparently, I am in the minority.

This year, Ted Simmons and Marvin Miller were inducted through the Modern Era Committee.  Miller actually is a pretty good case with how he spearheaded many changes to baseball over the years he was involved in the game.  I won’t argue with his induction.  However, my columns deal with player elections.  I wouldn’t consider myself qualified enough to judge the merits of most executives, owners, umpires or anyone else in those positions.

Simmons?  Meh.  Dwight Evans was next on this years’ list.  He received 8 votes and needed 12.  Dewey was awesome and I loved the dude.  Yes, the uniform he wore had a lot to do with that (no, not his last year with the Orioles).  But absolutely not a Hall of Famer.  Along with Harold Baines, Lee Smith, Alan Trammell, Jack Morris and pretty much most of the players these Veteran-type committees enshrine.

Because of this nonsense…and guys like Mike Mussina and Edgar Martinez getting in on the regular vote…this article is getting harder and harder to do every year.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  The Baseball Hall of Fame does not exist anymore.  It has become the “Hall of Very Good”.

It’s not going to get any better either.

But let’s move on…for now anyway.

This year, there are 32 names on the official ballot.  Per usual, I added one write-in of my own.  Based on the various “Veteran’s Committee” voting in recent years, I could add guys like Rafael Palmeiro and Fred McGriff back to my ballot as well, seeing that they will probably get inducted by these committees in the future.  Well, Palmeiro once they let in all the steroid guys.  Which is inevitable.  Or should be anyway.

Elected:

Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Manny Ramirez-Every year the same song.  As human beings, completely vile.  Clemens and Bonds anyway.  Manny was just an idiot.  At seemingly most things besides hitting a baseball.  But I don’t know the guy, so I guess I shouldn’t say that.  But the multiple failed performance-enhancing drug tests may support my argument.

In any event, these were some of the better players in baseball, even without the ‘roids.  The first two may get in this year anyway as they got close to 60% (of the 75% needed) in last years’ voting.  Of course, we said that last year.  My feeling is that this year won’t be their year either.  8th year on the ballot.  I’m guessing they will have to wait until their 10th (and final) year on the ballot…at the earliest.  Manny was only at 22.8% in his third year.  He may actually have to wait for the Committee vote down the road.  There is no reason for these guys not to be in someday, however.  I’m sorry if that offends.  But it’s the truth.

Derek Jeter-I often wondered how Jetes would have fared had he been drafted and “developed” by an organization such as the San Diego Padres.  Or Pittsburgh Pirates.  Or Tampa Bay Rays.  You get the point.  He certainly benefited by landing with the New York Yankees.  And simply stated, that is why he is a Hall of Famer.  Now, that is not his “fault”, I get it.  But I have always thought he was overrated.  I thought if he was such a great team leader, he would have moved positions when Alex Rodriguez came to town.  A-Rod was a much better shortstop, without question.  The five Gold Gloves Jetes has are a joke.  I just found out, thanks to baseball-reference.com, that one of his “awards” as being named the 11th greatest “world leader” in 2014 by Fortune, among the Dalai Lama, Pope Francis and Warren Buffett, to name a few.  WHAT??!!  They may have rewritten that article if they gave things a little more thought.  Also, we wouldn’t even be talking about his smart positioning and great defensive play against Oakland if that knucklehead Jeremy Giambi slides into home.  Instead of for some reason going in standing up and therefore being tagged out.  I could go on, but I will not.  I will say that Jeter was a gamer, showed up to play every day and shined the brightest when the lights were also the brightest, the postseason.  Yes, he was regularly in the postseason and that did not hurt.  But he upped his game during those times, at least that is what I remember most about him.  THAT is what puts him in the Hall.  Not the stats that he accumulated due to longevity.

Pete Rose-Here’s my write-in again.  One of the biggest scumbags you will ever find.  But definitely a Hall of Famer.  He will be enshrined someday.  But after he is long gone from this Earth, I would imagine.  I just can’t imagine the all-time hits leader never getting in.  Betting on baseball is considered sacrilege by most fans I would say.  But I am sure he was not the only one who did it.  He was just the moron that got caught.  Does that make it right?  Nope, of course not.  And it’s particularly abhorrent when you are managing a team and make bets based on the performance of that team.  My defense is that the Hall is not filled with choir boys.  Yeah, flimsy, I get it.  But they were judged based on their performance on the field, not off it.  I understand the support for keeping Rose out.  I really do.  And I respect it.  I just don’t share that opinion.  Maybe I’m the idiot.  Wouldn’t be the first time I was accused of being that.  Certainly won’t be the last.  But I’m not changing my mind.

Fantastic careers, but falling a smidge short:

I actually don’t have any in this category this year.

Pretty damn good careers, but we can’t induct everyone:

(Editor’s note:  The notes for the first ten players in this category are essentially the same as previous years because, well, there was not a change of opinion about the player.  So why change the analysis?  Still should hold true, no?)

Curt Schilling-Think he will get in eventually too.  But again, not for me.  Not because of his mouth or politics or tweets or any of that stuff.  But because there were too many career ups and downs for my liking.  Despite all of his postseason heroics.  By the way, there are 18 pitchers in Major League Baseball history that have struck out 3,000 or more batters.  14 are in the Hall.  Clemens should be 15.  C.C. Sabathia passed 3k last year and just retired.  Not a Hall guy I don’t think for me, but the betting here is that he gets in fairly easily.  Justin Verlander also passed the threshold last year and will be in the Hall likely the minimum five years after he hangs them up.  Schill is 18.  This may change down the road anyway because guys strike out all the time now.  Max Scherzer and Zack Greinke are in the 2,600s right now themselves, so sometime in 2021, they will each get to 3,000, barring injury.  But up until now, it may kind of show that Schill actually belongs in the Hall?

Jeff Kent-His position of second base helps him here.  But he can probably thank the San Francisco years of batting cleanup behind Bonds for keeping him on the ballot every year.

Larry Walker-Colorado effect.  I don’t know why he keeps getting the support.  Why no love for Vinny Castilla, Dante Bichette or Andres Galarraga?  His numbers weren’t even as good as Baines’.  10th and final year on the ballot.  54.6% last year.  I wonder if he makes a big leap his last year?  Don’t rule that out.

Gary Sheffield-I never really didn’t think too hard with him.  There’s usually a reason a great talent bounces around and plays on 8 teams.  Didn’t we all see it coming when he came up with Milwaukee as a youngster, they asked him to play third base, he didn’t like it, and as a result fired balls into the stands on purpose?

Billy Wagner-I liked Wagner better than Trevor Hoffman.  But Hoffs pitched in almost 200 more games.  If Wags stuck around for a couple more years, would he have gotten Hoffman-type support?  It’s possible.  But he’s still not in the Hall for me.

Sammy Sosa-Same story, different year.  609 homers are nice.  But almost half of them (292) came in a 5 year stretch…of an 18-year career.  His .878 career OPS doesn’t even compare to Jim Thome or Vladimir Guerrero, who got in two years ago.  Nor do many of his other career totals.

Scott Rolen-Numbers were worse than I remembered and didn’t do a whole ton after age-31.  Rookie of the Year award, 7 All-Star Games and 8 Gold Gloves I suppose gets one some love.  The .158 average in 16 games (over 5 series) in the NLDS can’t possibly help though.  The rest of the postseason numbers don’t stick out either.  Nice player, no Hall though.

Andruw Jones-If Andruw retired after his age-29 season in 2006, he may have had a decent shot at the Hall.  As funny as that sounds.  Based on both his offensive and defensive prowess.  He didn’t, however, and sunk his chances with a pretty disastrous final 6 seasons.  “Disastrous” may actually be being kind.  Jones hit 92 homers in those 6 years, but did little else, but apparently stop doing ‘roids and get fat.  And I think stop caring, but I don’t know if I can prove that.

Omar Vizquel-Omar is going to get some serious love because “well, Ozzie Smith is in and Luis Aparicio is in and Vizquel’s numbers are comparable/better…”  And sure, he deserves consideration.  Absolutely a defensive whiz at shortstop, who got better offensively as his career progressed.  He may even get in someday, perhaps by the same groups who let in all these other non-Hall of Famers.  But I’m not buying in.  Here is another one though, that if he got to 3,000 hits, he may be in automatically.  He fell 123 short.  That he got even that close is due in part to the fact that he played until he was 75 years old.  Ok, slight exaggeration there, but Omar is just another decent player that is not a Hall of Famer.

Andy Pettitte-3.85 ERA and 1.351 WHIP for his career.  256 wins, but always seemingly on good teams.  We can call him Jack Morris if you want.  You know what that means…

Todd Helton-Figured I should write more this year than theColorado.  No.” from last year, Helton’s first year on the ballot.  Yes, I am penalizing him for the “Colorado effect” for sure.  But you can also see he accumulated most of his numbers in his 20s.  He played until he was 39.  In Colorado.  And did next to nothing in his 30s.  Yes, he had injury concerns that may have prohibited him from still dominating as he did earlier in his career.  But if you are going to make the Hall, with playing half your games in that home ballpark, you simply have to do a whole lot more.  It’s just not enough, Colorado or no Colorado.

Bobby Abreu-Better career than I remembered.  Close enough to 2,500 hits, 600 doubles and 300 homers.  .870 career OPS, thanks in part to the almost 1,500 walks he took.  But certainly not enough for induction.

Jason Giambi-Solid player for a long time.  .916 OPS is nice.  Over 2,000 hits.  440 homers.  Hard to believe any of these gets him in though.

Adam Dunn-Yeah, he probably shouldn’t even be in this category, to be honest.  I mean, .237 batting average after all.  But 462 homers gets you something I would say.  Dave Kingman, Part II?  Kind of.  Walked a ton to get his OPS to .854.  Actually retired at age 34, surprisingly enough.  Third all-time in strikeouts.  218 K’s behind Reggie Jackson for the career record.  If he played 2 more years (or one?), he would have shattered that.  Then could we call him an All-Time Great?

Are these guys seriously on a Hall of Fame ballot?:

Cliff Lee, Rafael Furcal, Eric Chavez, Josh Beckett, Brian Roberts, Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Pena, Paul Konerko, Chone Figgins, Raul Ibanez, Brad Penny, J.J. Putz, Jose Valverde, Heath Bell-I have no recollection of Konerko hitting 439 career homers.  Beckett could very well have been in the Hall conversation if he took his career a little more seriously.  Or something like that.  He certainly had a lot of talent.  Lee “figured it out” a little too late in his career then was derailed by injury in the end.  Soriano may actually get some love, but none from me.  The rest?  Enjoy your year on the ballot for sure.  I would!

Hot Stove Is Heating Up…

…but where are the Boston Red Sox?

Yes, I know, Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom has been tasked to slash payroll.  So he isn’t about to hand out 324 million dollar contracts to anyone, no matter how prolific a player/pitcher they may be.

But…something??

Thus far, the Sox’ moves have consisted of outrighting to AAA their third catcher from September, Juan Centeno; adding 5 guys to the 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule V draft; designating pitcher Brian Johnson for assignment, then outrighting him to AAA once no one claimed him (big surprise); non-tendering infielder Marco Hernandez and pitcher Josh Osich (then re-signing them to lesser deals); trading backup catcher Sandy Leon for someone light years away from the majors and losing reliever Trevor Kelley on waivers…oh and wait!  As I blink, they just selected a 21 year old Double-A SS named Jonathan Arauz in the Rule V draft!! Wow…and now I blink again and infielder Jose Peraza is in the fold too!!

Scintillating.

The biggest names have just recently signed:  Stephen Strasburg re-upping with the Nationals, Gerrit Cole with the aforementioned 324 mil from the Yankees and Anthony Rendon cashing in with the Angels.

A lot of the lesser names have signed as well.  Kevin Gausman, Michael Pineda, Kyle Gibson, Didi Gregorius, Howie Kendrick, Drew Pomeranz, Tanner Roark, etc.

Not that the Sox need any of those guys in particular.  But a little bit of a slow start to the offseason, no doubt.

I guess I shouldn’t worry all that much.  There are still plenty of bodies out there.  Then again, also not a ton of good ones either.

On top of that, Bloom’s best track to improve the team may be by trades.  Actually, that is his best move to shave salary.  Not sure he’s going to get much for most of his trade options.

For example, rumors abound that other teams may be interested in David Price since his price tag looks a lot cheaper compared to some of the silly contracts being thrown out in the last couple of weeks or so.  But those rumors also say that either the Sox would have to eat some of that cash, or “throw something of value” along with Price in order to clear that contract.  There was some mention of outfielder Andrew Benintendi being that “something of value”.  Benny had a subpar year last year.  But is young and presumably has room to grow still.  So throwing him in a deal to clear other salary seems a little steep.  Then again, the farm system is bare.  So what minor leaguer would be “something of value”?  Would they actually trade one of their few good prospects, whoever they are?

Example #2:  Rumors also abound that the Sox are “aggressively shopping Jackie Bradley Jr.”.  It’s about time.  But about three years too late.  Who’s going to give the Sox anything for a guy who can’t hit, but will make 8 figures next year through arbitration?

Unless the Sox try to trade Mookie Betts, which I have been in favor of if he truly does not want to re-sign here, or inexplicably deal someone like Xander Bogaerts or Rafael Devers, how much will they get in return for ANYONE in a trade?

I’m actually wondering if the Sox are seriously considering dealing Betts this winter.  I don’t think they are, to be honest.  Not necessarily a bad thing.  But it won’t be great if he walks for nothing next offseason.  A trade deadline deal cannot be ruled out.  But if the Sox are in contention at the deadline, how can they deal him then?

Unless this is a true “bridge year”.  But how can that be true if Betts, Bogaerts, Devers, J.D. Martinez and Benny return in that lineup?  Sure, the pitching staff is more than suspect.  But how can this group of guys not be at least competitive?

Not to mention if Bloom walks in here and they AREN’T in contention at least somewhat this season, he will not be a popular man around town.  Not without divulging some sort of future plan…which you know he will not.

The way the 40-man roster stands now, with its current 38 players, there are holes all over the place.  Even if those stud players mentioned above stay and produce, pitchers like Chris Sale and Nathan Eovaldi (& Price?) rebound and contribute, the fact remains that there is all kind of dead weight still from those guys on down to the end of the roster.  Not to mention several minor leaguers that aren’t ready for prime-time.

Also…please don’t try to sell us on Dustin Pedroia playing 120-130 games at second base next year either.  Actually, don’t even get me started on Pedey here right now.  You all know how I feel about him.  Great career here, feisty little player over the years, lost some respect for him in recent years with his behavior, but in the end, he is simply done due to injury and it’s time to go.

So let’s get to work Chaim.  More than Arrauz and Peraza for sure.  At least maybe re-sign Rick Porcello back to that one year deal he wants to try to reset his value.  He was brutal last year.  But at least he takes the ball every 5 days.  More than you can say for most of the rest of the starters still here…oops…shortly after I wrote this, Porcello inked a one year deal with the Mets.  Oh well…

Changing gears a smidge:

In one more piece of recent Red Sox news, Dwight Evans had a renewed chance to make the MLB Hall of Fame the other day as he appeared on the Modern Baseball Era ballot.

This committee meets “twice every five years” and covers players, managers, umpires and executives from the 1970-1987 time frame.  It gives everyone in this period a second chance at the Hall basically.

But does everyone actually deserve a second chance at the Hall?

I am not so sure.

The Modern Era’s first enshrinements were Jack Morris and Alan Trammell in 2017.  Then the “Today’s Game Era” (1988-present) committee put in Lee Smith and Harold Baines in 2018.  The winners this year the Modern Era put in Ted Simmons and Marvin Miller (Players Association head).

Are ANY of these guys Hall of Famers??!  I’d say perhaps Miller since he led the charge for collective bargaining agreements, free agency and arbitration.  But none of those players are Hall of Famers.  They just aren’t.

And that includes our old friend Dewey Evans.

Evans was a very good player.  Better in the second half of his career than the first.  Piled up almost 400 homers and 2,500 hits.  And I had no idea until recently that he had more homers in the 1980s than ANY other player.

Those are all nice.  But did anyone buy a ticket to watch Evans play baseball?

We did for Pedro.  We did for Roger (he WILL get in someday, and you know he belongs).  We did for Teddy Ballgame (well, not me, I wasn’t born, but you get the point).

I am not even sure Yaz is a Hall of Famer.  But people that watched him play in his early years swear by it.  And presumably bought a ticket to watch him play.

Not for Dewey.

Loved the guy when he wore the Sox uni.  But not once ever did I think he was a Hall of Famer.

And now, with all of these recent dudes getting in, Cooperstown is getting so watered down, it’s kind of disheartening.

Do we put Evans, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, etc. in because Baines is in?  It’s trending that way.

Evans got 8 of the 12 votes he needed for induction on this committee (75% of the 16 members).  And was next in line behind Simmons and Miller.

Does that mean he is a lock when they reconvene in 12/22?

Say it ain’t so.

You’ll hear more ranting from me soon in my annual Cooperstown column.  But that’s all for now.

Cooperstown 2019…

The Baseball Hall of Fame is due to announce their latest inductees on Tuesday so the Blowhard will lay his “vote” out here as well.

So it probably has been plenty clear that I am a “Small Hall” guy if you’ve ever read my Cooperstown posts.  Jack Morris and Alan Trammell recently got in through the veteran’s vote.  This year?  Harold Baines and Lee Smith.  WHAT???!!!

I have to admit, this kind of disgusts me.  None of those guys are Hall of Famers.  None.  Yet there will be more who will get in on Tuesday, and beyond, that have no business being in Cooperstown.

So now that these 4 guys are in, who is next?  Well, all the steroid guys should be in anyway.  The elite ones for sure.  Rafael Palmeiro with his 500 plus dingers and 3,000 plus hits?  I’d be on the fence about him, but he has to be automatic now.  Mark McGwire?  A third of his hits were homers, and that is nice.  But no Hall of Famer.  But he has to go in now also.  Dale Murphy, Tommy John, Jim Kaat, Don Mattingly, Dwight Evans, Jamie Moyer?  WHERE DOES IT STOP?!

Done venting.  But hopefully, you can see how ridiculous this is becoming.

This year, there are 35 names on the official ballot.  Per usual, I added one write-in of my own.

Elected:

Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Manny Ramirez-We say it every year, these guys are complete arseclowns.  Huge steroid guys.  But also indisputably Hall of Famers.  It may finally be here for the first two.  But they all should be in now.

Mariano Rivera-I know, saves can be kind of a bogus stat.  But when you are pretty much THE BEST at that position over the course of your career and likely in history, you kind of have to recognize that.

Pete Rose-Here’s my write-in again.  He’s showing up more and more now on telecasts and the like.  Colossal dirtbag of course.  But definitely a Hall of Famer.  He WILL get in someday.  But not until he’s been long dead, I can promise you that.

Fantastic careers, but falling a smidge short:

Roy Halladay-8 time All-Star, 7 time Top 5 in the Cy Young voting.  Certainly a stretch of dominance in the middle of his career.  My guess is he gets in.  But I’m not there on him.

Pretty damn good careers, but we can’t induct everyone:

Curt Schilling-Think he will get in eventually too.  But again, not for me.  Not because of his mouth or politics or tweets or any of that stuff.  But because there were too many career ups and downs for my liking.  Despite any postseason heroics.  By the way, there are 16 pitchers in Major League Baseball history that have struck out 3,000 or more batters.  14 are in the Hall.  Clemens is 15.  Schill is 16.  When C.C. Sabathia strikes out 14 guys next season he will be 17.  You can make a case for all 16 currently.  C.C.?  Ugh.  This may change down the road anyway because guys strike out all the time now.  But up until now, it may kind of show that Schill actually belongs in the Hall?

Edgar Martinez-As a DH only for the bulk of his career, the numbers have to be waaaaaay more extravagant for me to put him in.  Like say…David Ortiz-like.  And they aren’t quite that.  But Cooperstown will welcome him in real life on Tuesday.

Mike Mussina-Good pitcher for a long time.  He won 20 games in his final year.  Funny thing is, if he stuck around for maybe 3 more years and won 30 more games, the 300 wins and 3,000 K’s (ended 187 shy) would have put him in automatically.  He may well get in Tuesday as well.

Fred McGriff-The Crime Dog was a solid player pretty much from beginning to end.  But that does not make you a Hall of Famer.

Jeff Kent-His position of 2B helps him here.  But he can probably thank the SF years of batting cleanup behind Bonds for keeping him on the ballot every year.

Larry Walker-Colorado effect.  I don’t know why he keeps getting the support.  Why no love for Vinny Castilla, Dante Bichette or Andres Galarraga?  His numbers weren’t even as good as Baines’.

Gary Sheffield-I never really didn’t think too hard with him.  There’s usually a reason a great talent bounces around and plays on 8 teams.  Didn’t we all see it coming when he came up with Milwaukee as a youngster, they asked him to play third base, he didn’t like it, and as a result fired balls into the stands on purpose?

Billy Wagner-I liked Wagner better than Trevor Hoffman.  But Hoffs pitched in almost 200 more games.  If Wags stuck around for a couple more years, would he have gotten Hoffman-type support?  It’s possible.  But he’s still not in the Hall.

Sammy Sosa-Same story, different year.  609 homers are nice.  But almost half of them (292) came in a 5 year stretch…of an 18-year career.  His .878 career OPS doesn’t even compare to Jim Thome or Vladimir Guerrero, who got in last year.  Nor do many of his other career totals.

Scott Rolen-Numbers were worse than I remembered and didn’t do a whole ton after age-31.  Rookie of the Year award, 7 All-Star Games and 8 Gold Gloves I suppose gets one some love.  The .158 average in 16 games (over 5 series) in the NLDS can’t possibly help though.  The rest of the postseason numbers don’t stick out either.  Nice player, no Hall though.

Andruw Jones-If Andruw retired after his age-29 season in 2006, he may have had a decent shot at the Hall.  As funny as that sounds.  Based on both his offensive and defensive prowess.  He didn’t, however, and sunk his chances with a pretty disastrous final 6 seasons.  “Disastrous” may actually be being kind.  Jones hit 92 homers in those 6 years, but did little else, but apparently stop doing ‘roids and get fat.  And I think stop caring, but I don’t know if I can prove that.  Anyway, no.

Omar Vizquel-Omar is going to get some serious love because “well, Ozzie Smith is in and Luis Aparicio is in and Vizquel’s numbers are comparable/better…”  And sure, he deserves consideration.  Absolutely a defensive whiz at shortstop, who got better offensively as his career progressed.  He may even get in someday, perhaps by the same group who let in all these other non-Hall of Famers.  But I’m not buying in.  Here is another one though, that if he got to 3,000 hits, he may be in automatically.  He fell 123 short.  That he got even that close is due in part to the fact that he played until he was 75 years old.  Ok, slight exaggeration there, but Omar is just another decent player that is not a Hall of Famer.

Todd Helton-Colorado.  No.

Andy Pettitte-3.85 ERA and 1.351 WHIP for his career.  256 wins, but always seemingly on good teams.  We can call him Jack Morris if you want.  You know what that means…

Are these guys seriously on a Hall of Fame ballot?:

Lance Berkman, Roy Oswalt, Miguel Tejada, Placido Polanco, Kevin Youkilis, Derek Lowe, Freddy Garcia, Vernon Wells, Ted Lilly, Travis Hafner, Michael Young, Jason Bay, Jon Garland, Darren Oliver, Juan Pierre, Rick Ankiel-I’m out of words…

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