Is Edgar Martinez is a Hall of Famer?

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Edgar Martinez.jpgIt’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.

Angels ink Javy Guerra to minor league deal

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Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with right-handed reliever Javy Guerra. The deal includes an invitation to major league spring training.

Guerra was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball last July after testing positive for a drug of abuse. That suspension is now over, though Guerra is probably ticketed for the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate to begin the 2016 season.

The 30-year-old made just three major league appearances in 2015 for the White Sox before getting outrighted off Chicago’s 40-man roster. He does own a 2.87 ERA in 150 1/3 career innings, but it has come with bouts of inconsistency and unreliability.

Maybe he can get everything going in the right direction with Anaheim.

Braves sign reliever Carlos Torres

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As first reported by Bill Shanks of Fox Sports 1670, the Braves have signed right-handed reliever Carlos Torres to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Torres was waived by the Mets in January, somewhat surprisingly, and elected to become a free agent. The 33-year-old ultimately chose Atlanta, where he should have a good shot at an Opening Day roster out of spring training with the rapidly-rebuilding Braves.

Torres posted an ugly 4.68 ERA in 57 2/3 innings last season for the Mets, but he registered a gorgeous 3.06 ERA and 96 strikeouts across 97 innings in 2014.

If he gets off to a good start in 2016, he could become valuable trade bait.

Blue Jays will have a closer competition this spring

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Roberto Osuna became the youngest pitcher to ever play for the Blue Jays last season at age 20 and he rose to the challenge with a 2.58 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 75/16 K/BB ratio in 69 2/3 frames. Osuna eventually took over as Toronto’s closer, earning 20 regular-season saves and one in the American League Division Series — a five-out effort in Game 5 to close out the visiting Rangers.

But the Jays upgraded the back end of their bullpen this winter, acquiring Drew Storen from the Nationals in early January for speedy outfielder Ben Revere. Jesse Chavez was also brought to Toronto in a trade with the A’s.

Storen has more experience at closer than Osuna, and Storen struggled when the Nationals tried to put him in a setup role. Storen, in his final year of salary arbitration, also gets paid much more. He’s probably going to enter spring training as the favorite for the Jays’ ninth-inning gig, but there will be a competition …

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca on Wednesday that he doesn’t expect the team to choose between Osuna or Storen until midway through spring training, if not later.

There’s been talk of making Osuna a starter, so add that wrinkle.

Storen, 28, boasts 95 career major league saves.

Orioles plotting late-offseason push? Gallardo, Fowler, Alvarez, Bruce in consideration

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Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.

We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.

Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.

The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.

Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.