What they're saying about the Hall of Fame results

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Let’s see what the blogosphere is saying about Andre Dawson’s selection — and everyone else’s exclusion — from the Hall of Fame:

  • Jonah Keri: “Yes, it’s ridiculous that worthy inductees like Roberto Alomar, Barry Larkin, Bert Blyleven, Edgar Martinez, Alan Trammell, Mark McGwire and of course Tim Raines didn’t get in. But still: Expo #2, Andre Dawson, is going to the Hall of Fame! I’m buying first round of beers at Ommegang. See you at the Coop!”
  • Goat Riders of the Apocalypse: “[Dawson’s] 867 games as a Cub are dwarfed by his 1,443 games in Montreal.  And
    although he hit only 51 fewer homeruns in 2,366 fewer at bats, despite
    having the best years of his career in Chicago, Cooperstown will put an
    Expos cap on his plaque. I’m okay with that.  I’m just glad he’s there.  And hopefully come
    this summer I will be in Cooperstown too, along with thousands of other
    Cub fans, bowing to Dawson again and chanting his name.”
  • Drunk Jays Fans: “Today, Andre Dawson was considered by people whose job it is to cover
    baseball, to be more deserving of the greatest honour a baseball player
    can receive than Roberto Alomar,
    Bert Blyleven and Mark McGwire. This is fu**ing dumb.”
  • Rob Neyer: “After all these years, I shouldn’t be surprised anymore by Hall of Fame voters. Today I was.
    I didn’t know how many players would be elected. I figured at least one, but probably two and possibly three.
    Well, it was one. And not the one I would have guessed.”
  • Amazin Avenue: “The failure of the BBWAA to recognize the value of actual performance
    while masking their own smug ignorance — and in some cases bitter
    intransigence — behind the blustery veil of tired rhetoric and logic
    fallacies never ceases to amaze me.”
  • Pete Abraham # 1: More BBWAA embarrassment . Our system is broken. Too many dopes who don’t really cover the game vote.
  • Pete Abraham # 2: “The BBWAA has
    issues, no doubt. Too many people vote. But many of those ripping it
    today either begged to get in or are still begging.”
  • Charles Pierce: “The only good thing about this year’s election is that the sole
    inductee, Andre Dawson, only had a OBP as high as .360 once in his
    career. Any defeat for the sports-as-math-homework crowd is a good one.
    Elsewhere, well, let’s just all agree that Bert Blyleven has about the
    same chance of ever getting in as Mark McGwire and I do. The reasons
    why are murky, which is another reason why this whole process–and many
    of the participants in it–needs a high-colonic. And anyone who sent in
    a blank ballot should be a subject of mockery and derision all the days
    of their lives. What, these guys couldn’t find a bartender who wanted
    the job?”
  • Big League Stew: “I mean, c’mon. Can’t the BBWAA just round up on Blyleven? If he were a
    car or a house and we were buying him, sure, we’d want to knock a
    percentage point off the interest rate because it would be in our best
    interest as a consumer.”
  • Josh Wilker: “But let’s face it, today for baseball fans is a day set aside for
    outrage, more or less. It’s the day when the game itself is in some
    ways defined, and those who didn’t get to participate in the defining
    (and plenty who did) get to rail against the parts of the definition
    that veer so widely from their own.”

I’m sure they’ll be no shortage of additional praise for Andre Dawson in the next day or so.  And no shortage of additional outrage for the BBWAA and the process.  Of course, we get that every year, and nothing ever changes, so try not to get too wrapped up in it, OK?

Eric Hosmer’s eight-year, $144 million contract isn’t that bad

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Late Saturday night, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the Padres and first baseman Eric Hosmer agreed to an eight-year, $144 million contract, the new largest contract in club history. According to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports, the contract includes an opt-out after the fifth year. Further, Hosmer will average $21 million per year for those first five years and $13 million for the final three years, so it’s severely front-loaded.

Hosmer, 28, had a career year last season, playing in all 162 games while batting .318/.385/.498 with 25 home runs, 94 RBI, and 98 runs scored in 671 plate appearances. Per Baseball Reference, Hosmer accrued 4.0 Wins Above Replacement, only one of six first basemen to do so. At No. 6, he was 0.4 WAR behind Anthony Rizzo and 0.4 WAR ahead of Logan Morrison.

Wil Myers had previously told the Padres he would accept a position change if the club were to sign Hosmer. He will be moving to the outfield as a result. The Padres now have a logjam in the outfield, so Jose Pirela could move moved to the infield. How the Padres plan to handle that situation remains to be seen.

The general consensus about the Hosmer signing once news broke was that it is laughably bad. Back in November, Dave Cameron — ironically now in the Padres’ front office — called Hosmer a “free agent landmine.” That thought hasn’t really changed among many writers. For example, using restraint, Dennis Lin of The Athletic calls the deal “a big gamble.” MLB Network’s Brian Kenny said Hosmer has at least three “red flags.”

FanGraphs projects the Padres to finish 71-91, so adding Hosmer isn’t likely to transform the club into a contender on his own. That being said, the Padres’ payroll was only at $70 million prior to the Hosmer signing, so the contract won’t hamstring them going forward. If the young nucleus of players — including Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe — perform as expected, the Padres could be a threat in the NL West relatively soon with plenty of cheap, cost-controlled players and having some experienced veterans like Hosmer and Myers could be useful for their intangibles — pennant race/playoff experience, clubhouse presence, leadership, etc.

Hosmer has had three seasons of 3.5 WAR or more, according to Baseball Reference. He’s had four between -0.5 and 1.0. Now entering his age-28 season, it’s hardly a guarantee he’ll be an All-Star-caliber player in 2018, let alone in 2022 when he is 32 years old. From a strict dollars-to-WAR standpoint in a complete vacuum, one could’ve done better than Hosmer at eight years, $144 million.

The Padres, however, aren’t a small market team; they just operate like one. Forbes valued the club at $1.125 billion last April. The Padres don’t have the financial muscle of the Dodgers or Yankees, but paying Eric Hosmer $18 million on average for the first five years of his contract won’t come close to hurting the organization in any way, shape, or form. More importantly, signing Hosmer shows the rest of the team and the fans a commitment to being legitimate, bumping the payroll up towards $90 million. That now dwarfs teams like the large-market Phillies, who opened up spring training with just over $60 million in player obligations.

In the grand scheme of things, the Hosmer signing is also a good sign given the standstill in the free agent market. Many veteran players — even reliever Fernando Abad, who posted a 3.30 ERA last season — had to settle for minor league contracts instead of guaranteed major league deals. Many others, including the likes of Jake Arrieta and J.D. Martinez, remain unsigned. The rumor that Hosmer wanted more than seven years and close to $150 million was laughed at last month. Agent Scott Boras was still able to get his client the deal he wanted, which could bode well for those still teamless. Martinez’s patience may yet be rewarded like Hosmer’s was; money may once again start flowing in the free agent economy.

In summation, the Eric Hosmer contract is good if: you are Eric Hosmer, related to or a friend of Eric Hosmer, a teammate of Hosmer’s, Scott Boras, a current or soon-to-be free agent, a Padres fan, and a baseball fan in general. The Hosmer contract is bad if: you are a penny-pinching owner of a Major League Baseball team, or someone who cares more about $/WAR than an actual good product being put on the field.