Alomar, Larkin highlight new Hall of Fame ballot

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alomar larkin.jpgRoberto Alomar, Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez and Fred McGriff highlight the list of 15 newcomers on the Hall of Fame ballot released on Friday.
Also on the ballot for the first, and likely last, time are Kevin Appier, Ellis Burks, Andres Galarraga, Pat Hentgen, Mike Jackson, Eric Karros, Ray Lankford, Shane Reynolds, David Segui, Robin Ventura and Todd Zeile.
Only the first four newcomers figure to receive the five percent of the vote needed to stay on the ballot for 2011. Perhaps one member of the group will even make it in, though it seems unlikely. Alomar and Larkin are definitely well above the Hall of Fame standards for middle infielders, but both have enough holes in their candidacy that it seems likely they’ll have to wait for enshrinement.
That definitely bodes well for holdover candidates Andre Dawson and Bert Blyleven. With 75 percent needed for enshrinement, Dawson was named on 67 percent of the ballots last year and Blyleven on 62.7 percent.
The other returnees, with their 2009 share of the vote, are: Lee Smith (44.5), Jack Morris (44), Tim Raines (22.6), Mark McGwire (21.9), Alan Trammell (17.4), Dave Parker (15.0), Don Mattingly (11.9), Dale Murphy (11.5) and Harold Baines (5.9).
We’ll have more on all of the new candidates over the next month. The results from the current ballot will be announced Jan. 6.

Jose Bautista and the Blue Jays nearing a two-year, $35-40 million deal

Toronto Blue Jays Jose Bautista flips his bat after hitting a three-run homer during seventh inning game 5 American League Division Series baseball action in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
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It was first reported that the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista were close to a deal last night. Now Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is near completion. It will likely a two-year contract in the $35-40 million range.

Bautista had a tough 2016, hitting .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI, and some clubs likely considered a long-term deal for the 36-year-old too risky, this leading to the relative lack of reported interest in Bautista by other clubs. But back-to-back ALCS appearances by the Jays and the success and popularity Bautista has experienced in Toronto make his re-signing there a pretty sensible move for all involved.

The Jays, who already lost Edwin Encarnacion to free agency, get their slugger back on a short term deal. Unlike anyone else, they don’t have to give up the draft pick attached to him via the qualifying offer. Bautista, in turn, will make, on average, more than he would’ve made on the qualifying offer if he would’ve accepted it and a raise over the $14 million he made in 2016.

Padres sign Trevor Cahill

Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Trevor Cahill (53) during the seventh inning of Game 3 in baseball's National League Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
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The Padres have signed Trevor Cahill to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.

As recently as the middle of the 2015 season it looked like Cahill’s career would meet a premature end, but after being released by the Braves and signing with the Cubs in August of that season he has been a remarkably effective reliever. He has posted a 2.61 ERA in 61 games in Chicago and has posted a strikeout rate far above his career norms.

He’s not someone you necessarily want taking the hill when the leverage is high, but in San Diego the leverage won’t be all that high all that often.