These days, there may be more value placed on defense and certainly more time spent on evaluating and quantifying it than ever before. When MLBPipeline.com surveyed front-office officials as to which prospects stood out most for their glovework, there was no shortage of candidates.
In fact, there were so many talented defenders that among the 18 votes we received, no player garnered more than Padres outfielder Manuel Margot’s three and a half. Thirteen players received at least a half a vote—we allowed executives to split their picks—and another five were brought up as worthy of discussion.
The Royals and left-handed starter Danny Duffy on Monday agreed to a new five-year, $65 million contract that runs through the 2021 season.
Duffy could have become a free agent after the 2017 season, his final year of arbitration, but will instead make $5 million this season, $14 million in 2018, $15.25 million in 2019 and 2020 and $15.5 million in 2021.
After twenty years of singular focus and desire, twenty years of getting knocked down and picking yourself up, twenty years of eating ####, twenty years of crawling over broken glass, twenty years of getting on a crowded bus to brave that goddamned commute, twenty years of bearing it, you are finally and publicly acknowledged as the very best in your chosen profession.
You’ve MADE it. You’ve reached the goal you’ve been chasing every day for the last twenty years. It should be the very best day of your professional life.
And all you’re thinking about, because of the way you’ve been treated along the way, all you’re thinking about is getting out. Leaving it behind. All you’re thinking is “I can’t take it anymore. This is going to kill me.”
Imagine having the best day of your life taken from you like that.
The Hall of Fame only started publically releasing voting percentages for the Era and Veterans Committees elections in 2003, yet in that short period of time the tiny electorate has had five candidates miss being voted into Cooperstown by a single tally. Each of those five candidates have appeared on both the Veterans Committee and Era Committee ballots where their Hall of Fame candidacies have been affected by the frequent changes in the format used by this voting body
Baseball is to be unionized. The [ballplayers’] fraternity, through its President, David L. Fultz, applied in Washington, D.C., for a charter from the American Federation of Labor. Samuel Gompers, President of the Federation…said there was no doubt that the fraternity would be admitted to membership.
“We are not fairly represented in all statements sent out from fraternity headquarters…Major league players did not pledge themselves to a sympathetic strike in the interests of minor league men. We agreed not to sign contracts until the major leagues eliminated disability clauses. That has been done. We have no further quarrel.”
We know how this situation played out, but in retrospect, it seems pretty apparent that Fultz should have had some idea that he was overplaying his hand.
President Obama, a White Sox fan, extended invitations to his other hometown baseball team via Twitter and a phone call to Maddon to visit the White House to celebrate their first championship in 108 years before the president leaves office.
Already gathered in town this weekend for Cubs Convention, the Cubs plan to fly to Washington for the visit Monday, just a few days before Trump’s inauguration.
Given the Rickettses’ ties to Trump, there was some initial doubt whether the Cubs would make the trip before the administration change. Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts has been selected by Trump to be his deputy commerce secretary.
(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)
Fairly or not, last year’s election of Piazza also helped Bagwell’s case. As home run hitters who played in the steroid era, each long faced similar obstacles to election. Both have been suspected by writers of using illegal performance-enhancing drugs despite never failing a drug test or showing up in the Mitchell Report. (Both also admitted using the testosterone-boosting androstenedione back when it was legal in MLB.)
Sorry about the lack of links yesterday. Slept right to my alarm yesterday (which never happens) and didn’t get to post anything before leaving in the morning. The festivities of my sim league auction started at 8 AM breakfast and continued until about 10 PM. It was a long but awesome day.
Dumbest decision of the season.
Steven Wright, RHP, Red Sox — Wright is still rehabbing his right shoulder but feels he’ll be full-go for spring training. Wright has been dealing with bursitis and rotator cuff irritation since diving back to second base in a pinch-running role Aug. 7 against the Dodgers. Wright was upset about the public bashing of manager John Farrell for his decision to pinch-run Wright, which led to the All-Star pitcher missing the final month of the regular season and the playoffs. “I wish people would stop blaming John for that. I was actually excited he called my name for that role,” Wright said. “I was completely prepared for it. . . . I went through all my checkpoints. I told myself I was going to be aggressive and I got caught. That’s my fault. I landed wrong on my shoulder. That’s nobody’s fault. I could have been hurt stepping out of the shower. I could have been hurt if I had reached base the day I pitched two days before. I don’t know why people have to blame someone. It’s baseball.”
The Rangers have not yet announced the deal, but Ross has chosen to sign with the Rangers over the World Series champion Cubs. Sources confirmed Yahoo!‘s Jeff Passan’s report that the contract is worth $6 million plus incentives.
I came to Walker’s Hall of Fame case a bit later, I admit. I’ve thought from that start he deserves to be a Hall of Famer, but I was busy obsessing over Tim Raines and Jeff Bagwell and Mike Mussina and how to handle the PED era players to be too worried about him. Last year, the 10-man ballot crunched me … and I did not vote for Walker. I believed him to be Hall of Fame worthy, absolutely, but he was 11th on my 10-man ballot. I’ve come around to a slightly different view: It’s time to fight for Larry Walker. I am thrilled Tim Raines will be elected to the Hall this year; that has been a fight of mine for a long time (though not as big a fight as for others like Jonah Keri).
I think Larry Walker might have been a better player than Raines.
Threats of David L. Fultz, president of the Baseball Players’ Fraternity, to call a strike of between 600 and 700 players unless their demands are granted before the beginning of the 1917 season were answered by B.B. Johnson, president of the American League, here [last night].
“We never again will listen to any proposal he may offer,” President Johnson said. “We invite him to carry out his bluff…The American League will see that Fultz is crushed; driven out of baseball.
Ouch. Fultz did indeed call for a strike, but you can probably guess how well that worked out.
Venezuelan baseball fans were abuzz Thursday after Junior Guerra told reporters he would make a pair of starts in that country’s winter league playoffs.
Not so fast, the Brewers say.
Contrary to the suggestion made in Venezuelan news reports, the Brewers have not endorsed Guerra’s participation with Tiburones de La Guaira, according to a source, and are discussing the matter with Guerra’s agent, Peter Greenberg.
The team is now employing a “file-and-trial” approach with all of its arbitration-eligible players, meaning they will only negotiate with those players up until Friday’s 1 p.m. deadline for exchanging salary figures. If a deal isn’t reached by then, players will go to an arbitration hearing.
But the Orioles’ top arbitration-eligible players remain in negotiations – including third baseman Manny Machado, right-hander Chris Tillman and closer Zach Britton. And at this point, they appear headed to trial.
Even if his winter league play this year is a true indication that he’s made an important adjustment, Rusney Castillo probably isn’t an option for the Sox. On the radio yesterday someone (can’t remember who) made the point about Castillo’s contract being an issue for his call-up. Castillo is no longer on the 40-Man so his $11 million contract no longer counts toward the luxury tax. If the Sox recall him, he’d put the Sox over the threshold, which is something they clearly don’t want to do.
You trade a player when you feel you are getting a fair return (a debatable value). Alderson’s patience isn’t a flaw.
We’ll see about all of that in Port St. Lucie. For the moment, the priority is unloading Bruce. It doesn’t mean Alderson was wrong to be patient, waiting for the logjam of free-agent sluggers to clear and perhaps leave some team in need of Bruce’s power.
The Blue Jays, for example, still seem like a viable trade partner, but only if they don’t wind up re-united with Jose Bautista.
Trumbo recently asked the O’s for a three-year, $50 million contract, but later indicated that he would sign a deal of the same length in a lesser $40 million to $50 million range, according to major-league sources.
The willingness of Trumbo to accept a three-year deal below $50 million — after the two sides reportedly discussed four-year contracts at higher guarantees earlier this off-season — would at least appear to create room for negotiation. The Orioles made Trumbo an “aggressive” three-year offer at the start of the off-season, general manager Dan Duquette told MLB Network on Thursday.
His career ERA+, however, was 104. To put it another way, if Tim Lincecum comes back and pitches for five seasons at an Ervin Santana level, he’s basically the modern day Catfish Hunter. Yet, there’s no way Lincecum would get the same kind of Hall of Fame support that Hunter did. What’s the difference?
My theory is that Catfish Hunter was one of the best baseball names ever, and it added to the mystique whenever he came to town and blew your team away. Scott Kazmir (who also has a career 104 ERA+) is too ... too Scott. But Catfish Hunter was an imposing fella before he even threw a pitch. Right there in the name, it is.
This allows us to introduce the Catfish Theory Equation of Hall of Fame Qualifications:
Good player + High visibility + Badass Name = Hall of Fame player
You can call the Kirby Puckett Theory if it will help your cause more. Use Harmon Killebrew if you need. I’m not selfish. Badass names make the world go ‘round.
With this in mind, we need to go back in time, and rename some very good players to get them into the Hall of Fame. Some of these players are borderline candidates, at best, but they’re all comparable to Hunter in career value. It’s time to give them a PR makeover that starts with a really cool name.
Bill Fischer, who is expected to do a large share of the Pirate catching next season, is going about things in a manner suggesting he intends to be Callahan’s first-string maskman.
The former Cub has taken on 14 pounds since he put away his glove and mask and he takes his gain in weight as an indication that he will have a successful season, barring accidents.
“In 1915,” says Fischer, “I reported 10 pounds overweight and had my best season. I had only a few pounds to work off when I reported to the Cubs last spring, and did not feel as strong as I wished. It makes me happy to think I will have so much to work down when the training bell sounds.
It’s the rarely-seen “He’s in the worst shape of his life” offseason report. Fischer actually did have a good year in 1917, hitting .286/.359/.376 (122 OPS+), but for whatever reason he never again played in the major leagues.