It’s Edgar Martinez’s first year of eligibility this year. Today Michael Weddell has a comprehensive statistical breakdown/Hall of Fame analysis of the guy at The Baseball Analysts. Weddell believes he is a Hall of Famer and makes a pretty strong case to back it up.
I think I’m convinced that Martinez is a Hall of Famer, but as the first truly viable full-time DH candidate, he obviously raises some interesting questions. I’d be shocked if the BBWAA voted him in this year, but unlike some other guys I’m in favor of, I’m not going to get terribly bent out of shape if they make him wait. Not because of some “he’s no first ballot Hall of Famer” politics — I think that’s silly — but because I think it’s really worth having the DH conversation last a while to make sure everyone is at least speaking the same language.
That language mostly surrounds the question of just how much — in specific terms — defense matters. And it’s not just a question that we need to ask about DHs like Martinez and Frank Thomas and David Ortiz. It’s a question we should ask about any candidate, be it Martinez, Omar Vizquel, Keith Hernandez or Andre Dawson. To date, the best most people can manage is either “and he had a great glove, too!” or “he wasn’t that good defensively,” and that just doesn’t seem to cut it for me. How great was that glove? Did it sufficiently overcome his weak bat? Did his bat offset his bad glove, or complete lack thereof?
My fear, however, is that people will fall into one of two camps: the one that says “no DH should make the Hall of Fame” or the one that considers DHs, but evaluates them like any first baseman or outfielder and doesn’t make a downwards adjustment in the guy’s value for his non-existent defensive value.
Both approaches would be wrong. Maybe having Martinez on the ballot for a few years would lead to fewer people defaulting to them.
Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.
Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).
Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.
David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.
Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:
[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.
The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.