Andre Dawson is about to make some money

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We talked about this some last summer, but Bill Madden of the Daily News reminds us today that the Hall of Fame debates which raged before and after last Wednesday’s announcement — and which will rage every year forever more, it seems — have to do with a hell of a lot more than history and honor:

His value just increased threefold and he can count on making millions in autograph signings for the rest of his life . . . If he hasn’t already, Dawson will quickly find out from his fellow Hall
of Famers how the road to Cooperstown intersects with Easy Street. For
example: Goose Gossage went from getting $3,000 an appearance as a perennial also-ran on the
Hall of Fame ballot to $25,000 an appearance after he was elected, as
his autograph increased from $10 to $50.

Madden quotes that baseball card guy “Mr. Mint” as saying that the election could mean a million bucks to Dawson’s bottom line. As the Wall Street Journal reported last July, even dead guys can make bank on this sort of thing, as the heirs of Shoeless Joe Jackson could see as much as $500K a year in marketing opportunities if and when he’s ever inducted. Presumably that won’t involve any appearance fees at card shows, because that would be kind of gross.

Madden suggests that this Hall of Fame loot could be one reason why Tony La Russa hinted that he might activate Mark McGwire, thereby extending his Hall of Fame clock and allowing him to cash in one day. Given that McGwire made $75 million in salary alone as a ballplayer, I’m guessing this little Hall of Fame bump wouldn’t be a big motivator.

But it’s a little more easy to see the motivation of a Bert Blyleven or a Dave Parker or other guys of that vintage, who made a fraction of that over the course of their careers. Yes, I’m sure they want the honor and the glory most of all, but the next time you hear lobbying on their behalf — or from them directly, as we often do from Blyleven — let us not forget that more than mere acclaim comes with being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

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.