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.

Pirates looking for outside outfield help

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Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Pirates GM Neal Huntington is looking for outside outfield help in the wake of Starling Marte‘s 80-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs. With Marte out of the picture, the club moved Andrew McCutchen back to center field and have played Adam Frazier, John Jaso, and Jose Osuna in right field. But, as Brink points out, Osuna and Jaso — neither an outfielder by trade — misplayed balls over the weekend against the Yankees.

Among available free agents, the pickings are slim. There’s Coco Crisp, Jeff Francoeur, Cole Gillespie, Kelly Johnson, and Nolan Reimold (who is currently in independent baseball). The Pirates may have to find themselves a trade partner. They could also try to talk Angel Pagan back into action, as the veteran outfielder recently said he’s taking the year off. The Pirates could also look at Leonys Martin, who was recently designated for assignment by the Mariners.

Matt Barnes ejected after throwing at Manny Machado’s head

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On Friday, tension between the Orioles and Red Sox rose when Manny Machado spiked Dustin Pedroia sliding into second base. Although the umpires found no fault with Machado’s slide, third base coach Brian Butterfield was later ejected, still feeling like Machado wronged the Red Sox. Pedroia exited the game and was not in the lineup on Saturday or Sunday. He’ll undergo an MRI for his left knee and ankle in Boston on Monday.

For what it’s worth, Pedroia didn’t seem to feel any bitterness towards Machado for his slide. As MLB.com’s Jeff Seidel reported, Pedroia said, “I don’t even know what the rule is. I’ve turned the best double play in the Major Leagues for 11 years. I don’t need a … rule. The rule’s irrelevant. The rule’s for people with bad footwork.”

Tempers flared between the Red Sox and Orioles again on Sunday. In the bottom of the eighth inning with a runner on first base and one out with the Red Sox leading 6-0, reliever Matt Barnes threw a first-pitch fastball up-and-in to Machado. The ball actually hit Machado’s bat, so it counted as a foul ball. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher ejected Barnes and the Red Sox brought in Joe Kelly. Machado doubled on the first pitch Kelly threw to put the Orioles on the board, but the Orioles ultimately lost 6-2.

MASN’s broadcast later showed Pedroia talking to Machado, seemingly clarifying that Barnes acted of his own volition without encouragement from Pedroia. “You know that,” Pedroia appeared to say. “It wasn’t me. It’s them.”

Update: Pedroia even apologized to Machado and the Orioles, per Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.

Commissioner Rob Manfred will likely look into Sunday’s incident. He could fine and/or suspend Barnes.

The Orioles and Red Sox meet again in Boston for a four-game series May 1-4. It will be interesting to see if the tension still remains then.