Jorge Posada belongs in Cooperstown

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Yesterday, Rob Neyer said this in the course of trying to identify the best catcher this decade:

So it’s Posada vs. Rodriguez in a fight to the finish. And while the
finish won’t be until October of 2009, I have a hard time believing
that Pudge can do enough in the next four months — or has done enough
with his glove and arm over the last nine seasons — to make up for
that 16-point gap in OPS+.

Ivan Rodriguez is going into the Hall of Fame. Posada isn’t, and shouldn’t; he just happens to have played the lion’s share of his fine career in a single decade.

In response, Jonah Keri mounts a defense of Posada’s Hall of Fame case:

Jorge Posada, to me, looks like a clear choice as one of the dozen
best catchers of all-time . . . I absolutely think a [Hall of Fame]
case can be made for Posada, even if he retired tomorrow . . . It’s a
shame that Posada can’t elicit more enthusiasm for his accomplishments.
Here’s hoping, nine years from now, that the other voting members of
the BBWAA are kinder to Posada than Rob will be.

It sort of kills things for me to know that Rob and Jonah are friends,
because I think it would be fun to have a nasty fight over this. As it
is, they’ll probably just marshall evidence and arguments. Oh well.

In any event, I’m leaning more to Jonah’s side of things here,
though I don’t agree that Posada would go in if he retired tomorrow.
His case is really a Carlton Fisk-style case, and my sense was that
people didn’t truly appreciate Fisk as a Hall of Famer until the
longevity portion of the argument really kicked in during his years in
Chicago. Posada has no MVP awards like Rodriguez and was never the
hitter Piazza was, but he has been a clearly above-average, and
oftentimes excellent catcher who is aging well. He’ll also get a bump
for the World Series rings which, while not as important to a Hall of
Fame case as many think it is, isn’t unimportant. Mostly though, I
think people will look back at the Yankees teams of the 90s and 2000s
and ask themselves who is worthy of induction from that crew. Torre,
Jeter and Rivera should be no-brainers. I think most will agree that
more than just those three were responsible for the extended run of
greatness. When looking to add a name or two to that list, Posada’s is
the best available in my view, and on that basis, he goes in.

Is that the most scientific reason for putting someone in the Hall
of Fame? Nah. But if we’ve learned anything over the years it’s that
Hall of Fame voting isn’t very scientific. I’ve grudgingly accepted
that, so I think I’m entitled to use a little non-scientific argument
of my own. On that basis, Jorge makes it.

Angels ink Javy Guerra to minor league deal

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Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with right-handed reliever Javy Guerra. The deal includes an invitation to major league spring training.

Guerra was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball last July after testing positive for a drug of abuse. That suspension is now over, though Guerra is probably ticketed for the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate to begin the 2016 season.

The 30-year-old made just three major league appearances in 2015 for the White Sox before getting outrighted off Chicago’s 40-man roster. He does own a 2.87 ERA in 150 1/3 career innings, but it has come with bouts of inconsistency and unreliability.

Maybe he can get everything going in the right direction with Anaheim.

Braves sign reliever Carlos Torres

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As first reported by Bill Shanks of Fox Sports 1670, the Braves have signed right-handed reliever Carlos Torres to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Torres was waived by the Mets in January, somewhat surprisingly, and elected to become a free agent. The 33-year-old ultimately chose Atlanta, where he should have a good shot at an Opening Day roster out of spring training with the rapidly-rebuilding Braves.

Torres posted an ugly 4.68 ERA in 57 2/3 innings last season for the Mets, but he registered a gorgeous 3.06 ERA and 96 strikeouts across 97 innings in 2014.

If he gets off to a good start in 2016, he could become valuable trade bait.

Blue Jays will have a closer competition this spring

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Roberto Osuna became the youngest pitcher to ever play for the Blue Jays last season at age 20 and he rose to the challenge with a 2.58 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 75/16 K/BB ratio in 69 2/3 frames. Osuna eventually took over as Toronto’s closer, earning 20 regular-season saves and one in the American League Division Series — a five-out effort in Game 5 to close out the visiting Rangers.

But the Jays upgraded the back end of their bullpen this winter, acquiring Drew Storen from the Nationals in early January for speedy outfielder Ben Revere. Jesse Chavez was also brought to Toronto in a trade with the A’s.

Storen has more experience at closer than Osuna, and Storen struggled when the Nationals tried to put him in a setup role. Storen, in his final year of salary arbitration, also gets paid much more. He’s probably going to enter spring training as the favorite for the Jays’ ninth-inning gig, but there will be a competition …

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca on Wednesday that he doesn’t expect the team to choose between Osuna or Storen until midway through spring training, if not later.

There’s been talk of making Osuna a starter, so add that wrinkle.

Storen, 28, boasts 95 career major league saves.

Orioles plotting late-offseason push? Gallardo, Fowler, Alvarez, Bruce in consideration

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Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.

We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.

Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.

The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.

Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.