MLB
Making Sense of Hall of Fame Results
Category: MLB
Tags: MLB Hall of Fame Steroids Blank Ballot

 

Well, the votes are in and as some predicted, not a single player achieved induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday.

 

This year's class represented a tremendous challenge for voters, requiring each to use their ballot to not only determine worthiness of baseball immortality, but to also play push past speculation and determine which has cheated the game through the use of steroids. In the end, the BBWAA was not up to the challenge and failed to enshrine a single player.

 

It is a shame really, as some players were more than worthy, especially some of those that had hung around on the ballot for a few years. The different camps split the vote and in the end, no one gets honored. I do not envy those that cast their ballots, as there was no good ground to walk on. Either you admitted a cheater or you failed to admit some of the best to play the game.

 

However, it is worth saying that any privileged voter, and voting is a privilege, that failed to vote for a single candidate should have their right to vote revoked. There were five such ballots this year, (Howard Bryant of ESPN being one of them). None of these individuals are making a statement. They are simply undermining a process that they were lucky enough to be included in. If they don't want to vote, they can simply step aside for someone else.

 

Here are the final results, as well as some brief commentary on each:

 

 

Craig Biggio 388 (68.2%) 1st - Biggio had my vote (if I had one), as well as a number of other mock votes I read in the weeks leading up to the election. I thought for sure he would have made it.

Jack Morris 385 (67.7%) 14th - With the vote split, I thought this was Jack's year, despite being a borderline candidate. That split netted him exactly 3 more votes this year. Next year does not get any easier with Tom GlavineGreg Maddux, and Mike Mussina set to steal some thunder from Morris.

Jeff Bagwell 339 (59.6%) 3rd - Bagwell gets held back because of the "eye test" but he was a tremendous hitter who's career was cut down to early due to injury. Tought to disagree, but he may still see election.

Mike Piazza 329 (57.8%) 1st - Piazza is another who probably got docked a few votes because of speculation, but he belongs in the Hall as one of the best hitting catchers of all-time.

Tim Raines 297 (52.2%) 6th - The Sabermetricians like myself love Raines as a candidate. The guys who look at the traditional stats see a guy that fell short in a lot of categories. He belongs in, but will take some convincing.

Lee Smith 272 (47.8%) 11th - This is sad, but Smith actually LOST 18 votes in 2013. It is a travesty that he is not recognized for what he did as a closer.

Curt Schilling 221 (38.8%) 1st - Here is where I start to argue. I liked Schilling, but I cannot see him making the Hall of Fame simply off of his impecable postseason resume. And let's face facts, that is where most of his support is coming from.

Roger Clemens 214 (37.6%) 1st - Hard to argue with this. Clemens may see election, but not in the first year, not in this day and age. He and Bonds are the poster-children for the era and rightfully so that they get to hold hands while waiting for voters to look past their transgressions.

Barry Bonds 206 (36.2%) 1st - Again, like Clemens, Bonds is everything that made this vote difficult. He was one of the greatest, and may be immortalized with the rest, but the BBWAA is going to make sure he understands what he did to the game.

Edgar Martinez 204 (35.9%) 4th - Martinez was a great guy, but for a player who spent most of his time being a hitter only, I think you need more to push him over the bump. His election will come down to the Veteran's Committee years from now.

Alan Trammell 191 (33.6%) 12th - All I have to say is that if Larkin got in, then Trammell should as well.

Larry Walker 123 (21.6%) 3rd - Did not hit 400 home runs despite playing in a tremendous park for doing so and in an era dominated by them. Failed to hit 2500 hits despite having a .313 lifetime average. Failed to make a blip on the Hall of Fame ballot.

Fred McGriff 118 (20.7%) 4th - This is just a shame. The Crime Dog lost 19 votes and is getting robbed by voters. He was better than he is being treated.

Dale Murphy 106 (18.6%) 15th - Murphy's kids put on a big push to get him elected in his final year on the ballot, yet that only got him 23 more votes. Sadly, he needed a lot more. Jim Rice is his best case for admittance, but to be honest, I'm not so sure Rice even belongs in.

Mark McGwire 96 (16.9%) 7th - McGwire was the first to get punished for his usage of steroids. Judging by his vote history, even after admitting to it, he's going to languish here for another 8 years before falling off the ballot.

Don Mattingly 75 (13.2%) 13th - I love Donny Baseball as a kid. Sadly, he just doesn't get it done for me as a Hall of Famer though. Too many injuries and too short a period of dominance.

Sammy Sosa 71 (12.5%) 1st - Sosa should be higher, but not much. He's going to ride the pine with McGwire for a long time.

Rafael Palmeiro 50 (8.8%) 3rd - Denied using, then tested positive, and the hid behind an unbelievable excuse for the positive test. He'll likely fall of the ballot next year.

Missed the 5% Cut-off for next year's ballot:

Bernie Williams 19 (3.3%) 2nd - Only candidate on this portion that truly surpised me. Do I think he's Hall worthy? No. However, he deserved more consideration that a measily 3.3%.

Kenny Lofton 18 (3.2%) 1st

Sandy Alomar Jr. 16 (2.8%) 1st

Julio Franco 6 (1.1%) 1st

David Wells 5 (0.9%) 1st

Steve Finley 4 (0.7%) 1st

Shawn Green 2 (0.4%) 1st

Aaron Sele 1 (0.2%) 1st

 

Will Bourn Get An Identity in 2013
Category: MLB
Tags: MLB Michael Bourn Hot Stove Atlanta Braves St. Louis Cardinals

 

It seems somewhat of a mystery why Michael Bourn is still on the free agent market at this stage of the winter. MLBtr had Bourne ranked as the number 3 free agent of the year, behind only Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton, and he seemingly had a lot of buzz around him heading into the winter.

 

Yet, here he sits, still unsigned. What makes it worse, is that there is absolutely no buzz around him, no rumors as to where Michael Bourn may be heading.

 

Perhaps it is the new draft rules hampering his market, similarly to how it is keeping Kyle Lohse shelved as well. By turning down the qualifying offer from the Braves, worth $13.3 million for one-year, Bourn is free to sign with whoever he chooses. That team is then required to surrender a first-round draft choice to do so, as long as that pick is not one of the first ten in the draft.

 

However, the problem does not lie with the compensation, but with the draft slotting rules that changed this year. By limiting how much a team can spend on picks, especially later in the draft, they limit the ability for teams to overspend in later rounds, making the earlier picks much more valuable.

 

Obstacles aside, Bourn's market has taken quite a hit. The Nationals acquired a cheaper alternative when they traded for Denard Span. The Braves spent heavy on B.J. Upton. The Angels likewise inked Josh Hamilton. Even the two behomoth's in free agency, Boston and New York, have been shy about long-term deals in order to stay under the luxury tax threshold, either this season or next.

 

Of course, none of this is to say that the market for Bourn will not open up, even this late in the season. Bourn's agent, Scott Boras, came out of nowhere last winter to secure Prince Fielder a nine-year, $214 million deal on January 24th. The right deal could be right around the corner.

 

The Texas Rangers are still in the market for outfield help, but could use a much bigger bat in the line-up. The Braves continue to discuss Bourn, but it is hard to imagine them spending that much money on the outfield and then having to deal with who plays center between him and Upton. Bourn would be a good pick-up by the Mets, but they have no money to spend despite the need to upgrade. The St. Louis Cardinals could be a good match, and have the salary space now with both Lohse and Berkman off the books, but they may be looking for the price to come down in order to justify the loss of a pick.

 

Bourn will find a home, but it may take some scrambling on behalf of Boras, or a subsequent move by another team, in order to get it done.

 

Royals Pull Trigger for Shields
Category: MLB
Tags: James Shields Wade Davis Kansas City Royals Dayton Moore David Glass Wil Myers

I had a big Chiefs’ piece ready to go this morning but I woke up to find Royals’ news tearing up the world wide web and the radio airwaves.  After quivering in the bushes for weeks, afraid to make a big move, General Manager Dayton Moore finally went for it.  The Royals traded 4 minor leaguers to Tampa for “Big Game” James Shields and Wade Davis.  Of course, two of the minor leagues were top prospect Wil Myers and the Royals’ top pitching prospect Jake Odorizzi.   This is where the argument comes in.

Kansas City just traded six plus years of control of a guy that hit 37 home runs in the minors in 2012 AND their top minor league pitcher with 6 years of control for two years of James Shields (committing $25 million) and five years of Wade Davis.  For an organization starved for future stars, that will be a bitter pill to swallow.  I get it.  I did not want the Royals to trade Wil Myers.  I am not sure adding Shields and Davis will win more games than having Franceour still in right field every day.  If Myers turns into a star and the Royals do not make the playoffs in the next two years, this trade will have been a disaster – in hindsight.  It is not a disaster right this minute.

Wil Myers has a chance to be a superstar.  Few argue that point but we don’t know that for sure.  Phil Hyatt once hit 44 home runs in the minors for the Royals.  Phil Who Now?  Exactly.  With prospects, you just don’t know.  Not every prospect is Mike Trout.  Even if Myers turns into a star, the odds are against him contributing in a major way in his first two years.  BaseballHQ.com did a great 4-part series on the MLB success of players who made the top 100 prospect lists at some point.  To summarize, the rate wasn’t good.  That doesn’t mean Myers is going to fail; top 10 prospects fair better than those outside the top 10.  My guess he will be at least an above average MLB player, and possibly better than that but maybe not until year three.  That is pure speculation on my part.  Odorizzi has question marks, too.  He struggled in AAA to pitch deep into games and that would be a big problem at the major league level.  The Royals already have plenty of pitchers in that mold.  At the very least, Davis is on the same talent level as Odorizzi but much farther along in his development.  Mike Montgomery and Patrick Leonard were throw-ins here and while I don’t know much about the latter, the former is obviously in need of a scenery change.  I wish them good luck in their new organization.

James Shields is the type of pitcher the Royals desperately need - a staff anchor who takes the ball every five days and pitches a lot of innings at a good level.   BaseballHQ.com took statistical data and came up with a list of staff anchors for the 2013 season, based on performances over the past two years.  Only 8 pitchers met their criteria.  One of them was James Shields.  A guy like Shields, in addition to Guthrie and Santana, should take the pressure off the bullpen.  The bullpen has been great but just how long can it succeed working as hard as it has the last two seasons?  This team is much stronger today than it was yesterday.  Wade Davis could be very important because he is probably better than Chen, Mendoza, and Hochevar and should move right into the number four slot.  Now all those #5 pitchers will be slotted where they belong.  Now maybe Moore can trade one of those guys for some outfield help (don’t expect much in return, though).  This also relieves any pressure there might be to rush Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino back too quickly.  These two important guys will have time to build up to their full strength and if things play out right, maybe they are ready to contribute to meaningful games in September and October (I’ve always been the optimist).

I know we all love the possibility of Wil Myers.  I know I do.  The fans of this team want heroes and Myers looks like he could have been a big one but this team is loaded with possible contenders.  Billy Butler can still hit.  Alex Gordon is still an above average, under appreciated player.  Hosmer and Moustakus are still very young, developing players.  Escobar and Perez are still among the best at their positions.  If these young players don’t improve and take the next step forward, it won’t matter how good James Shields, or how good Wil Myers may be.  If there isn’t an improvement in the hitting among the youngsters, the Royals are not going to compete anyway.  Now, if these guys all do take that step forward, I like the Royals’ chances with James Shields on the mound. 

Shields comes with risks (he throws a lot of innings and has shown inconsistency in the past) but there isn’t a pitcher out there who doesn’t come with a fair share baggage and risk.  There is always a chance something goes wrong (Kansas City has had more than its share of bad luck over the decades) but I am going to be positive and look at the fact the Royals got a top of the rotation arm and a solid number 4 starter with upside.

Let’s dream a little here.  What if the Royals’ young guys take big steps toward reaching their potential?  What if Guthrie pitches like he did with KC last year?  What if Santana throws up numbers like 2011?  What if Shields has opportunities to earn his nickname in powder blue?  This is a lot of “what ifs” but I am going to choose to be optimistic and positive going into 2013.  I love the feeling of hope going into each Spring Training.

I wrote just a few days ago that Dayton Moore wasn’t getting anything done and I put owner David Glass’ feet to the fire about pinching pennies.  It would be terribly hypocritical of me to berate them for going out and getting a couple of good starting pitchers, including a top of the rotation guy, for a bunch of minor leaguers.  You have to give up something to get something.  Royals made the move they needed to make and now have a chance to compete in the AL Central.  Maybe the Royals become that small market team in 2013 that challenges for the division title like Oakland and Baltimore last year.  Maybe now it is our time.

Moore and Glass are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.  Fans are just not going to be happy.  Well, this fan is much happier today than he was four days ago; I can assure you of that.  They pulled the trigger and only time will tell if it will work successfully.  Only in hindsight will we be able to judge the success of this move but this morning, I am glad to be a Royals’ fan.

Be sure to watch ESPN’s 30 for 30 “You Don’t Know Bo”.  It is outstanding.

Check out my movie and television reviews at jawsrecliner.com and get twitter updates for my blogs @jawsrecliner.  Thanks for reading.

AN EMPTY GLASS
Category: MLB
Tags: Kansas City Royals Dayton Moore David Glass

I was all prepared to write up an article about how the Kansas City Royals made out at the MLB Winter Meetings in Nashville this week.  I was ready to praise Dayton Moore for pulling off exactly the right move and I was equally prepared to blast the sometimes panicky General Manager for giving up too much for too little.  This article is going to unfold much differently than I had planned.

Let me start off with saying it was really nice to actually be in the discussions during the Hot Stove season.  Year after year, I watch the pinnacle of the Hot Stove season with interest only as a fan in general.  The Royals seldom participate in this annual extravaganza in any tangible manner.   Not so this year as rumor after rumor shot through the world wide web, keeping me checking my twitter page for days.  The rumor mill had been churning out possibilities for weeks leading up to the Winter Meetings and everyone knew the Royals were ready to make a big splash.  MLB Network and ESPN talking heads were all reporting that Kansas City was going to be a big player during these Winter Meetings because of their dearth of starting pitching and their perceived plethora of young bats, including the top hitting prospect in all of baseball. 

 

The biggest fear for me was that General Manager Dayton Moore would trade a key piece of a below average offense to fill a spot in a horrible rotation.  Worse, that he would trade a guy who could possibly hit 30+ home runs for several years for the services of a good pitcher for just two years.  I am not saying there isn’t a situation where that might not be a good thing but it has to be the right deal.  I am tired of the Royals always promising they will be better next year.  I want them to win this year.  When is the vaunted Process going to pay dividends?

As it turned out, all those exciting rumors amounted to nothing.  Whispers in the wind, if you will.  Despite reassurances from all the talking heads, the Royals talked a big game but, as usual, didn’t deliver.  They didn’t even add anyone via the Rule 5 draft.  The Winter Meetings as a whole turned out rather uneventful, for the Royals specifically and most teams in general, other than maybe the Giants and Red Sox.

So yesterday, the post meeting hangover set in.  Dayton Moore was flying home and it didn’t look like there was going to be any excitement.  Then – BANG.  Bob Dutton from the Kansas City Star dropped a bomb on all of us die hard Royals’ fans.  A few weeks ago, Royals’ owner David Glass talked to certain media members and declared that basically the Royals can’t be profitable if their payroll is over $70 million dollars a year and that he had subsidized MLB payroll out of his own pocket several times over the years.  Every person who could type and post on the internet, some of them very respected baseball people, disclaimed this statement as a blatant falsehood.  Even Forbes magazine provided numbers much differently.

Instead of a soft cap of $70 million to work with, the Royals, according to Dutton’s article yesterday afternoon, provided by Royals’ officials, the Royals’ break even point was closer to $60 million because the $70 million included the 40-man roster, draft signings, and international signings, and that Kansas City was already over budget for its payroll for 2013.  Twitter blew up.  Radios exploded.  There was cyber chaos everywhere in the Kansas City Metro area.  David Glass, whom many already believed was lying before, now jumped up into Richard M. Nixon and Pinocchio levels in the pantheon of liars.  No one I read or listened to believed these numbers were anywhere near accurate.

Then the “Oops, my bad.”  Dutton retracted his article.  Some Royals official had given him the wrong data or something.  Whatever, but the number is still supposedly $70 million for the 25-man roster.  While everyone has recovered and calmed down, no one is buying that figure either.  Glass and other club officials claim he has not pocketed a dime from the Royals.  Forbes reported otherwise, claiming Glass has reaped profit to the tune of approximately $100 million since 2000.  That is a big disparity.  Let’s not forget that Glass bought the Royals for less than $100 million and it is now valued, according to Forbes, at more than $350 million.  I dare say, Mr. Glass, that is a tidy profit. 

With all the money that is pouring into the coffers via television contracts, which will increase dramatically in 2014, and other league generated shared revenues, plus the increased revenue from rising attendance, I can see no reason the Royals can’t have a payroll of around $90 million this year and $110 million in 2014.  Guys a lot smarter than I (check out ranyontheroyals.com for a very good financial breakdown for the Royals) have done the math and I can see nothing to dispute their numbers.  It is time, Mr. Glass, to piss or get the hell off the pot.  Help us field a winning team or sell it and take your quarter of a billion dollar profit and return to Arkansas. 

I wish there was a way we could see exactly what the numbers are.  I wish the teams that are playing in county or state funded stadiums had to provide financial statements to the public.  There needs to be a show of good faith.  Right now, there is no faith in David Glass as owner of the Kansas City Royals.  Few people believe his statements about the financial situation.  We as fans are tired of the constant losing and penny pinching.  Either loosen the purse strings or you may witness an empty, cavernous stadium this summer.  Well, you won’t witness it.  You’ll be safely tucked away in Arkansas or in your bigger-than-Rhode Island compound in Wyoming or Montana or wherever the heck it is, counting your money like King Midas.

Glass has never had an accurate reading of the pulse of the KC fans and he better have a thick skin if he doesn’t provide extra dollars this off season.  It is getting harder and harder to be a Royals fan.  I am tired of the heart break.  I love baseball and I love the Royals but I am close to giving up.  It’s up to you, Mr. Glass.  At least show us some effort.  I am begging you.

Check out my list of all-time favorite TV dramas at jawsrecliner.blogspot.com and thanks for reading.

Storminnorman's Sports Blog
Category: MLB
Tags: MLB Tigers

Hello Gabbers, the one armed, one fingered bandit is back after taking a couple of weeks to himself to regain some strength in his shoulder, so please pardon the typos, this one fingered typing sucks! I do have to admit one thing, I have not missed an inning of the playoffs, so here is my take..........

Taking nothing away from DVT's Cardinals or Gerry's Giants, but this World Series is setting up perfectly in the Tigers favor. Both of their teams will not have their aces until at least game 4, while the Tigers who will probably be a flat in the first game.

 

I am not saying they will sweep or even win the series, I just like their chances considering how the pitching matchups line up. Well this is it for now, gotta take a rest and get ready for game 7. Thanks for reading my post, See you soon....

GO TIGERS!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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