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Since the calendar's changed...time to start the new thread.

 

The biggest off-season news to me has been the number of HUGE, long-term deals, despite the fact that they don't pan out that well, when they run deep into a player's 30s.  But there've been a lot of em....

 

On the flip side, the Dodgers designated Trevor Bauer for assignment.  It'd be surprising if anyone picks him up before he becomes an unrestricted free agent, in about a week.  He's still going to be docked pay for the first 50 games he plays.  Figure, then:  he may well sign a 1 year contract for the league min...use the year to show he's still got it, and try to position for another big contract in 24.

 

Not saying I want to see that, but were I his agent, that's how I'd be thinking.  It seems unlikely there'll be that many suitors offering big deals;  there's the terrible PR (but we know that won't be a universal deterrent), but there's also the serious rust.  He hasn't pitched since his suspension in mid 2021.  

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hall of Fame balloting announced.

 

Fred McGriff had been elected back in December by the contemporary committee...players and execs active in the period, mostly.  Solid career;  almost 2500 hits, 500 homers, and over 1300 runs and 1500 RBI.  

 

The writers elected only Scott Rolen...and that, just barely.  Need 75%, he got 76.3%.  Todd Helton just missed at 72%...Rockies tie-in holds him down.  Both because offensive numbers are so inflated, and because, I suspect, it's largely a media dead zone other than the Broncos.  Billy Wagner was next at 68%.  ARod and Manny Ramirez trended up some, but not much.  

 

The best-known players eligible for next year would probably be Adrian Beltre and Carlos Beltran, and neither one feels like a slam-dunk, so it seems likely the votes later on, will also be fairly scattered.  (Well, OK, MLB.com thinks Beltre's considered a near-lock.  Oh...3100+ hits.  Yeah, ok that'll probably do it.  

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Even if you think Todd Hilton's offensive numbers were inflated by playing in Denver — and I read an article recently explaining why this isn't necessarily the case, I'll try and find it — he's still one of the best defensive first baseman of his era. I'm not a betting man, but if I were, I'd bet on him getting into the Hall next time around

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The Athletic's morning newsletter talked about the HoF voting, and the arduous, tedious nature.  2 players voted in by the writers in the last 3 years.  They also point out:  Fred McGriff never got more than 55% of the writers' vote...but the Contemporary Era Committee voted him in *unanimously*.  On that committee:  Greg Maddux, Lee Smith, and Jack Morris.  

 

They also commented that the fractious debate with regard to the steroids era has been a separate drag.

 

Rolen's election was attributed to defensive brilliance with solid offensive contributions.  Perhaps that's the issue:  defensive contributions aren't flashy enough.  They'll get you votes...but it's really tough for them to get you in.  Look at the top 5 after Rolen this year:

 

Helton:  played in Denver

Billy Wagner:  reliever.  FEW ever get in.  He's 6th on the all time saves list.  

Andruw Jones:  odd case.  Considered the best defensive center fielder for a good part of his career, but inconsistent hitter.  Yeah, hyped because he was with the Braves in their run, but I always thought he was a mistake hitter.

Gary Sheffield:  .292 lifetime, 509 HRs, 1676 RBI.  In the top 10 MVP voting 6 times.  An issue here is, he was a defensive liability.

Carlos Beltran:  first year on the ballot.  40%.  

 

I think the writers are looking for reasons NOT to vote for someone...and possibly, many feel it's their job to keep HoF membership pristine.  There's about 400 eligible voters...Helton was named on 281 ballots, 72.2%.  Each voter's allowed to cast a vote for up to 10 players.  Total number of votes cast?  Around 2200...far under the potential max.  Plus:  almost 270 were for ARod or Manny...but you know they'll never get in due to the steroids issues.  The writers all know that too.  So call those symbolic only...and you've got less than 5 meaningful votes per.  It's like "well I can't vote for everyone I think might be worth it, I'm only voting for the top few out of this crop."  And of course that's gonna be all over the place when almost everyone either has perceived flaws, or whose contributions are less obvious.

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3 hours ago, unclevlad said:

The Athletic's morning newsletter talked about the HoF voting, and the arduous, tedious nature.  2 players voted in by the writers in the last 3 years.  They also point out:  Fred McGriff never got more than 55% of the writers' vote...but the Contemporary Era Committee voted him in *unanimously*.  On that committee:  Greg Maddux, Lee Smith, and Jack Morris.  

 

They also commented that the fractious debate with regard to the steroids era has been a separate drag.

 

Rolen's election was attributed to defensive brilliance with solid offensive contributions.  Perhaps that's the issue:  defensive contributions aren't flashy enough.  They'll get you votes...but it's really tough for them to get you in.  Look at the top 5 after Rolen this year:

 

Helton:  played in Denver

Billy Wagner:  reliever.  FEW ever get in.  He's 6th on the all time saves list.  

Andruw Jones:  odd case.  Considered the best defensive center fielder for a good part of his career, but inconsistent hitter.  Yeah, hyped because he was with the Braves in their run, but I always thought he was a mistake hitter.

Gary Sheffield:  .292 lifetime, 509 HRs, 1676 RBI.  In the top 10 MVP voting 6 times.  An issue here is, he was a defensive liability.

Carlos Beltran:  first year on the ballot.  40%.  

 

I think the writers are looking for reasons NOT to vote for someone...and possibly, many feel it's their job to keep HoF membership pristine.  There's about 400 eligible voters...Helton was named on 281 ballots, 72.2%.  Each voter's allowed to cast a vote for up to 10 players.  Total number of votes cast?  Around 2200...far under the potential max.  Plus:  almost 270 were for ARod or Manny...but you know they'll never get in due to the steroids issues.  The writers all know that too.  So call those symbolic only...and you've got less than 5 meaningful votes per.  It's like "well I can't vote for everyone I think might be worth it, I'm only voting for the top few out of this crop."  And of course that's gonna be all over the place when almost everyone either has perceived flaws, or whose contributions are less obvious.

Other problem is what Matt Vasgersian calls Christmas and Easter Mass voters (people who only go to Mass at Christmas and Easter and never go to church at any other time), reporters who only come out to cover championship and world series games, but somehow still have a vote for the HOF because they have baseball credentials. They don't actually pay attention to the sport usually, but cover the end of season. Other part of this, if you send in a card with no one on it, it takes 3 other voters to offset your blank card. If you just don't vote, then it doesn't, the 75% is based on ballots submitted. I would also point out, 3 guys were above 75% going into the last week, but all the anonymous voters came in and one barely made it. This is another of those things where once submitted, should become a public thing. It was the guy who held up there ever being a 100% forever because he just didnt believe anyone should be. No real justification.

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Hmm.  In support of that...last year there were about 2800 votes, also with right around 400 voters.  

 

I don't necessarily think making the votes public would be a positive move...but there's no simple fix.  Have to vote for 1 player?  5 first-timers (Huston Street, Bronson Arroyo, Mike Napoli, John Lackey, and RA Dickey) got 1 vote.  Last year, 7 players got less than 10 votes.  But it's this year...those single votes really feel like homer-itis, because none of them are anywhere CLOSE to HoF level, IMO.  (Street could've made it, but injuries took him out too soon.  And as a relief pitcher, you really have to Stand Out.  He was very good, over 300 saves, but I'm not sure he rose to that level.)

 

And you can't compel someone to be interested.  Do you really want to impute why a ballot gets returned with no, or a very few meaningless, names on it?  CAN you get the BBWA to police itself and strip the deadbeats?  That'd be hard.

 

Might be needed, tho.  Looking at the last few years' votes...the '22 vote was the last year on the ballot for Bonds, Schilling, and Clemens.  Bonds, and Clemens each received 60%+ in 20, 21, and 22;  Schilling had 70%+ in 20 and 21, but dipped under 60% in 22.  Voting in each of those years was somewhat more active than this year...so one has to ask whether some of the writers have decided they don't like the process, so they're taking it out by sending back a No Votes ballot.  (The number of ballots has changed only slightly.)  

 

It is definitely not a good look for the BBWA.

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I am annoyed at the Schilling stuff because unlike Bonds, Clemens, A-Rod etc, his is not a "cheated in the game of baseball" issue, but more an outside baseball stance on political views - which are VERY right wing. But, again, almost all of this is after his playing days when he was no longer in baseball. They turned writers off so they don't vote for him, despite the fact that if you asked most about his career without saying it was him, they would agree he should be in.

 

I accept the PED guys not being voted in, sort of, because it is guys like that who made the committee have to vote McGriff in unanimously because too many looked at his stats and said they weren't enough. 493 HRs, mostly prior to the PED scandals, but because of the PED guys, 500+ became a new norm for HR hitters. As an Angel fan, I talk about Tim Salmon, who did not do steroids. He averaged right around 30 hrs every year, and yet, because of the era he played in, that seems pathetic for a middle bat power guy when the leaders were all 50+ every year. I am not saying Salmon is a HOFer, but he seems pedestrian compared to league leaders.

 

I also find it funny, when you look at Rolen who made it, how defense seems to be ignored until they can use it as an excuse. Truthfully, Kent should be a HOFer, he is the best HR hitting second baseman ever. His defense was average, not bad, but it is used as the excuse for not putting him in.

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But Schilling did nothing detrimental to the game, per se.  His actions don't reflect on, or injure, the sport.  Betting on baseball while you're still associated with the game, can't be accepted.  It's very similar to insider trading.

 

But by the same token...?  His comments got him fired from ESPN.  It's possible they'd have gotten him kicked out of baseball.  So:

 

1.  If a person's actions or words would have gotten him fired or suspended long-term (a la Trevor Bauer), should those words be considered grounds for exclusion from the Hall?

2.  Do Schilling's words rise to the level of being fired?  

 

Don't try to answer them here please.  This is NOT the right thread for that.  Just think about it.

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If you view MLB as just a branch of the entertainment industry, then ... maybe, considering what else happens in that industry.

 

I dunno.  I was surprised and gratified when Edgar Martinez was voted in on his 10th and last chance of voting, and that's about as much thinking as I've done about these things.

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That goes back, tho, to Kent's comments.  The BBWA voting feels helter-skelter at best.  Here's a story about Martinez' HoF ballot history:

 

https://www.seattletimes.com/sports/mariners/track-edgar-martinezs-2018-hall-of-fame-vote-count/

 

Why is it that it stayed largely flat for 6 years, then spiked for 3, before clearing the hurdle in his 10th season?  The numbers didn't change, obviously;  the voters probably didn't change that much.  One plausible conclusion is, lots of voters don't pay much attention to their job.  They grab the snazziest or trendiest.  Martinez had a sizable upswing in '16, conceivably separating him from the herd, and thus drawing in more votes.  

 

Of course, it could be worse.....  It could be done like the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame choices........

 

Anyway...time for our Cracked Crystal Ball Fearless Forecasting!  Pick your division winners!!!!

AL:  Blue Jays, Indians, Astros 

NL:  Mets (only to choke in the playoffs), Cards, Dodgers

 

Pretty boring, to be sure, but who's gonna challenge in either Central division?  And the Dodgers are still the freakin' Dodgers with more money to burn than Musk.  111 wins?  Probably not, but the Padres were 22 back.  Same with the Astros.  Sure, you hate em, and that's fine, but they're just too bloody good to pick against.

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Yeah, Nike's driving it and MLB is apparently ready to enforce it.

 

I dunno, tho...4 separate uniform color combos, plus the City Connect, already seems like a lot.  

 

Stories not paywalled:

 

https://news.sportslogos.net/2023/01/27/seattle-mariners-drop-grey-unis-for-2023-will-wear-navy-blue-for-road-games/baseball/

 

https://news.sportslogos.net/2023/01/16/nikes-four-one-plan-for-mlb-uniforms-cards-city-connect-coming-in-2024/baseball/

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