Now that Alex Rodriguez has reached the 600-home run club, it’s time to look at who’s next.
Jim Thome, you’re up.
The Minnesota Twins slugger, who turns 40 on Aug. 27, has 13 home runs in 74 games this season and 577 over the course of his 20-year career. At his current pace, he should finish with about 584 or so this season, putting him in 600 territory at some point next season.
But will that be enough to put Thome into Cooperstown? Tyler Kepner of the New York Times delves into the topic, pointing out that Thome was never perceived as dominant in his era despite his impressive power numbers.
He also notes that Thome – unlike Rodriguez – is perceived to be a player who was clean during the steroid era, though none of us really know that for sure. This is truly murky territory, and will only make Cooperstown voting more complicated/controversial/entertaining over the next several years. Kepner, though, has some solid advice.
The most logical thing for voters might be to ignore the use of steroids altogether – at least as it pertains to the era before testing – and accept the idea that a large percentage of pitchers and hitters were using drugs and that we will never know exactly who was and who was not. Yet the Hall of Fame ballot specifically instructs voters to consider sportsmanship and character.
These are thorny issues with no clear answers. But, as we can see with Thome, a lot of cases are fascinating — for a lot of reasons.
Amen, Tyler. By the way, the next closest active player to 600 is Manny Ramirez at 554, so things aren’t going to get any clearer any time soon.
Are you on Twitter? You can follow Bob here, and get all your HBT updates here.
Update (6:52 PM EST): The deal is expected to be one year for $13 million, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports confirms the report.
The Yankees are close to signing veteran free agent Matt Holliday, WFAN’s Sweeny Murti reports.
Holliday, who turns 37 years old next month, was limited to 110 games in 2016 with the Cardinals due to a fractured left thumb suffered in the second half. He finished the season hitting .246/.322/.461 with 20 home runs and 62 RBI in 426 plate appearances.
Holliday is likely looking at spending the majority of his time in the DH role. Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran, and Brian McCann handled the DH role for a majority of the time last season but all three have moved on — Rodriguez was released in the second half, Beltran just signed with the Astros, and McCann was traded to the Astros last month.
Update (6:20 PM EST): Former Braves president and Royals GM John Schuerholz was also inducted to the Hall of Fame along with Selig, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that former commissioner Bud Selig has been elected to the Hall of Fame. Haudicourt adds that Selig was nervous about the vote and didn’t want to talk about it in fear of jinxing it.
Selig’s induction will be controversial, for reasons Craig laid out in his preview on Friday. His induction was also not surprising in the least because he’s on the Hall of Fame board. A commissioner being inducted is standard fare, or as Craig put it, “a gold watch.”
Other inductees joining Selig should be announced shortly.
How about putting Marvin Miller in the Hall of Fame?