What cap would Vlad wear in the Hall of Fame?

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I’m not 100% certain that Vlad Guerrero would make the Hall of Fame if he retired today.  He probably should, but after spending his entire career playing in obscurity and/or the west coast, one wonders if he looms as large in the minds of Hall of Fame voters as his accomplishments warrant.  But let’s say he does make the Hall. What cap does he wear?  That’s the question Bill Shaikin asks:

Guerrero won his only Most Valuable Player award with the Angels in 2004. He has made his only playoff appearances with the Angels, with one home run in 75 at-bats, one run batted in his last playoff 63 at-bats and no trips to the World Series.

He has four All-Star appearances with the Expos, four with the Angels. He is the Expos’ franchise leader in batting average and home runs. He played more years in Montreal, with more runs, hits, home runs and RBIs for the Expos than for the Angels. Give him two more years in Anaheim, and he’ll have more runs, hits and RBIs for the Angels.

Hall caps are more about accurately reflecting history than anything else, and the raw stats don’t always matter.  Look at Reggie. He won more World Series championships and had his best individual seasons with the A’s, but there he is in Cooperstown wearing a Yankees’ cap.  And that makes sense, because when we think of Reggie, we think of Reggie the Yankee.  At least those of us (a) outside of the Bay Area; and (b) under the age of 45 do.

To me Vlad Guerrero will always be an Expo.  Yes, he has that MVP and has been in the playoffs and on TV more as an Angel, but when I think of him, I think of him in an Expos uniform. That’s where he played his most electrifying baseball.  It’s where he burst into our consciousness.

Guerrero is a DH now, and he’s almost certainly on the downswing of his career. Unless he has some late-career Reggie-in-the-1977-World Series moment in Anaheim, I can’t see my mind changing about him, and I tend to think that the folks at the Hall of Fame will feel the same way.  Assuming, of course, they get the chance to consider him.

Leonys Martin feared for his life from alleged human traffickers

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 30: Leonys Martin #12 of the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 30, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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Leonys Martin, outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, testified yesterday that he feared for his life after he was smuggled from Cuba by a group of men prosecutors say worked for a sports agent and a baseball trainer currently on trial for human trafficking in Miami.

Martin took the stand at the trial of Bartolo Hernandez and Julio Estrada, who face felony charges. He said that, after getting to Mexico from Cuba, men threatened to take him away. There was a kidnapping attempt against one of the men who had taken him from Cuba as well. Martin said that, eventually, he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas without any valid papers because his life was in danger and his safety was at risk.

Players like Martin who fled Cuba often hole up in Mexico while waiting to be declared free agents by Major League Baseball. There is pitched competition to sign agreements with the players in question, seeking to obtain promises of a cut of future baseball earnings for their services. Those promises can come under the threat of violence. Eventually, Martin promised to pay Hernandez and Estrada, but ceased paying them later, fomenting a lawsuit from them. In the wake of the suit, the allegations of threats and smuggling arose, leading to this trial.

Martin has been late to Mariners camp as a result of having to testify. He’ll likely report in the next day or so. The trial continues.

Josh Hamilton leaves camp with a tweaked knee

SURPRISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 28:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers poses during a spring training photo shoot on February 28, 2016 in Surprise, Arizona.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Josh Hamilton was already a long shot to make the Texas Rangers roster, but his shot got even longer today, as he left camp to have his reconstructed left knee examined after experiencing pain.

As Jeff Wilson reports, Hamilton felt discomfort in the knee during the Rangers’ first full-squad spring training workout yesterday. Hamilton has had 10 knee operations in career. Which is a lot of knee operations in case you were unaware.

You have to wish good luck to Hamilton, but at the same time you have to be realistic. The guy has not played in the major leagues since 2015 and even then he didn’t play well, hitting .253 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 50 games. He appeared in one game last year for Double-A Frisco, on April 30. He’ll be paid $24 million this year, mostly by the Angels. One suspects that this will likewise be his last spring training.