Vicente Padilla is yours if you really want him

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Vicente Padilla was placed on waivers by the Rangers on Wednesday, but based on what his teammates are saying about him, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for anyone else to go to go out of their way to claim him:

Vinny is considered too much of a loner to be considered a team
cancer, but as one guy told me, “He just doesn’t care. He could care
less. And he’s going to get somebody hurt. Somebody who does care about
the team. Vinny throws at hitters. Always has. That’s not necessarily
bad, but he’s stupid at times with how he does it, such as drilling
Mark Teixeira of the Yankees twice on Tuesday night. Padilla claims it
wasn’t intentional. Nobody believed him, starting with Tex, but also
including those in his own clubhouse.

“What if Nellie (Nelson Cruz) had been hit in the head and we lose
him?” asked a member of the Rangers, referring to the retaliatory pitch
on Tuesday which was in the vicinity of Cruz’s noggin. “Or when Tex
goes that hard into second, trying to kill the kid (prized young
shortstop Elvis Andrus)? That was retaliatory for getting drilled (by
Padilla). What if Elvis had been hurt over nothing?”

The Rangers’ source also criticizes Padilla’s approach to pitching,
saying that he just wings out there, has no plan, and more or less
ignores pitching coach Mike Maddux.

I think the biggest problem with Padilla could be conditioning. I
hadn’t seen him pitch for a year or two before seeing the highlights of
the Yankees-Rangers game the other night, and the guy just looks fat.
Oh, and he also has a history of problems with alcohol. That second link goes to an article in Spanish which — according to this baseball expert and Spanish speaker
— reports that Padilla was driving drunk in Nicaragua three years ago
with a friend in the passenger’s seat, got in an accident, and caused
his friend’s death.

To sum up: Vicente Padilla is (a) a reckless head hunter who; (b)
can’t be coached; (c) is out of shape; (d) has a history of alcohol
issues; and (e) is still owed $8 million or so this season.

I can just hear the teams lining up to claim him off waivers now.

(link via BTF)

Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel lead 19 newcomers on the 2018 Hall of Fame ballot

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Hall of Fame ballots for the 2018 induction class have been mailed out to the Baseball Writers Association of America voters and the names on the ballot were released to the public this morning. Among the top newcomers: Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel, Andruw Jones, Kerry Wood and Jamie Moyer . There are 19 new candidates in all. There are, of course, several holdovers too.

The newcomers, in alphabetical order:

Chris Carpenter
Johnny Damon
Livan Hernandez
Orlando Hudson
Aubrey Huff
Andruw Jones
Chipper Jones
Jason Isringhausen
Carlos Lee
Brad Lidge
Hideki Matsui
Kevin Millwood
Jamie Moyer
Scott Rolen
Johan Santana
Jim Thome
Omar Vizquel
Kerry Wood
Carlos Zambrano

Chipper Jones, the 1999 MVP, one of the best switch-hitters of all time and the unparalleled offensive star of the great Braves teams of the 1990s and early 2000s seems like a shoe-in. His case is boosted above his fantastic offensive numbers in the eyes of many voters by virtue of playing for the same team for his entire career.

Jim Thome is probably going to get a very large vote total and possibly will be inducted, having hit over 600 homers in his career. A challenge to his first-year induction is presented by the very large backlog of deserving candidates, which we’ll discuss in a moment, and by the fact that Thome’s career corresponded with baseball’s home run boom of the 1990s. Unlike other passed-over candidates of his era, Thome was never implicated in performance enhancing drug use, but it is the case that homers became cheaper for everyone during his career, and some may consider him a one-dimensional candidate. I suspect he’ll be in Cooperstown soon, be it this year or next year.

Omar Vizquel will receive a lot of support but his candidacy will also draw a lot of controversy. His backers will cite his defense and his longevity. His detractors will note that his defense was nowhere near as good as other defense-first inductees in the past such as Ozzie Smith, and that it was in no way good enough to make up for his below average bat. Complicating all of this will be fact that two superior defensive candidates who happened to have outstanding offensive numbers to go with them — Andruw Jones and Scott Rolen — are unlikely to receive anything approaching the level of support Vizquel will get, leading to . . . a lot of arguing.

And now the holdovers from last year’s ballot and ballots past, with last year’s percentage of the vote in parenthesis. Candidates need 75% of the vote in order to be inducted:

Barry Bonds (53.8)
Roger Clemens (54.1)
Vladimir Guerrero (71.1)
Trevor Hoffman (74.0)
Jeff Kent (16.7)
Edgar Martinez (58.6)
Fred McGriff (21.7)
Mike Mussina (51.8)
Manny Ramirez (23.8)
Curt Schilling (45.0)
Gary Sheffield (13.3)
Sammy Sosa (8.6)
Billy Wagner (10.2)
Larry Walker (21.9)

We’ve talked about all of these guys before, of course. Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero seem likely to be elected given how close they came to induction last year. Many quite worthy candidates such as Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling will likely continue to receive less support than they deserve. PED-associated candidates Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens each received a boost in their previously-flagging candidacies last year, getting over 50% of the vote for the first time, but it’s unlikely that they’ll jump 22 and 21 points, respectively. Lesser PED-associated candidates such as Sammy Sosa and Manny Ramirez will likely forever remain on the outside looking in.

The results of the election will be announced by Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson at 6 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018, live on MLB Network.