Hall of Fame 2010: Roberto Alomar

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roberto alomar indians.jpgThe first alphabetically of the 26 players on the 2010 Hall of Fame ballot might also be the most qualified. Even with his stunning decline during the early portion of the decade, Roberto Alomar ranks first in the group in both the Bill James HOF Monitor and the HOF Standards list. He was named to 12 straight All-Star teams, he holds a major league record with 10 Gold Gloves at second base and he was one of the driving forces on the Blue Jays’ back-to-back championship teams in 1992-93.
It should be a slam dunk, even though there are arguments against Alomar. The numbers suggest he was somewhat overrated defensively for much of his career. He never led his league in a Triple Crown category or won an MVP award. He turned into a liability immediately after his age-33 season, something one hardly expects to see from a Hall of Famer.
And it’s all true. But he’s still clearly better than several of the 17 second basemen currently in the Hall of Fame. The real argument is whether he’s in the top 10 all-time at his position.
Alomar never won a batting crown, but he did finish in the top seven in his league five times and he wrapped his career with a .300 average. He had five seasons with a .400 OBP and four with a .500 SLG. He scored 130 runs twice. He once had an 120-RBI season. He had eight 30-steal campaigns, and he was successful on 81 percent of his career attempts. In 263 postseason at-bats, he hit .313/.381/.448 with 20 steals in 22 attempts.
His best finishes in the AL MVP balloting were a tie for third in 1999 and fourth in 2001. In 1999, he had 41 points of OPS, 22 runs scored and seven RBI on winner Ivan Rodriguez. However, many will argue that it should have been Pedro Martinez’s award. In 2001, he had 118 points of OPS and 31 RBI on winner Ichiro Suzuki, though he did score 14 fewer runs.
Yet that was it. After being traded from the Indians to the Mets following the 2001 season, Alomar hit .262/.331/.367 with 116 RBI in 1,277 at-bats over three seasons. He signed with the Rays prior to 2005, but he retired during spring training.
Fortunately, Alomar was able to establish himself as an above average regular at age 20 and did more than enough in his first 14 seasons to establish his credentials. If he isn’t a first-ballot Hall of Famer, then the John Hirschbeck spitting incident will deserve much of the credit. Alomar doesn’t quite measure up with Eddie Collins, Rogers Hornsby and Joe Morgan when it comes to the all-time second basemen, but he falls in somewhere in the 7-12 range, and as such, he clearly belongs in Cooperstown.

Josh Johnson retires from baseball

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Josh Johnson #55 of the San Diego Padres poses during Picture Day on February 21, 2014 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
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Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.

Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.

Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.

Report: Angels close to a multi-year deal with Luis Valbuena

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 08:  Luis Valbuena #18 of the Houston Astros hits a three run walkoff home run in the ninth inning to defeat the Oakland Athletics 10-9 at Minute Maid Park on July 8, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.

Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.

Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.