Seems like everyone is writing Hall of Fame articles today. You’ll have that when the biggest news out there involves backup catchers. Anyway, here’s MLB.com’s Marty Noble, first on his Hall of Fame criteria:
When putting check marks on the ballot, the rule–to me–is to be as
selective as Ted Williams with a 3-1 count. The term “borderline Hall
of Famer” ought to be regarded as an oxymoron. A step on the Hall of
Fame borderline is not akin to a bloop that raises chalk. If a player
falls on the line, he doesn’t get my vote.
Then, with that in mind, he goes on to advocate in favor of Keith Hernandez’s Hall of Fame case, using all kinds of arguments that borderline players always get. He was feared! No one wanted to face him with the game on the line! He was jobbed out of an MVP award! See how great he was in these [cherry picked] situations! It’s a stretch of an argument for a borderline candidate.
Hernandez was a nice player — for a long while he was the second best first basemen in baseball behind Eddie Murray — but the beginning and ending of his Hall of Fame argument really is his glove. Which was a fine, fine glove, but I’m not at all convinced that a glove-heavy (relatively) bat-light first baseman is a Hall of Famer. Especially when you measure it against his potential (how much of it was wasted due to cocaine?) and the fact that he ceased being a productive player when he was 34.
He’s in the Steve Garvey/Don Mattingly class in my mind. Close, but no cigar.
Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.
The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.
Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.
The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.
The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.