Picking the “10 greatest living baseball players”


In honor of Stan Musial’s 90th birthday Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch wrote an interesting article laying out his picks for the “10 greatest living baseball players” (retired only, with no active guys).

Here are his 10 picks: Hank Aaron, Yogi Berra, Barry Bonds, Rickey Henderson, Sandy Koufax, Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Frank Robinson, Tom Seaver, Mike Schmidt.

Goold is one of my favorite mainstream baseball writers, so not surprisingly his list is a good one and his reasoning behind the picks are sound, but I disagree with a few of his selections.

However, instead of focusing on my opinion I thought it would be interesting to select the “10 greatest living baseball players” based strictly on the numbers, and more specifically their career totals in Wins Above Replacement. In other words, which 10 living, retired players were worth the most runs and wins above a replacement-level player at their position.

Here’s the WAR-based list: Barry Bonds, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Roger Clemens, Stan Musial, Rickey Henderson, Mike Schmidt, Frank Robinson, Tom Seaver, Joe Morgan.

The only difference between Goold’s list and WAR’s list? Goold has Yogi Berra and Sandy Koufax, while WAR has Roger Clemens and Joe Morgan. Greg Maddux wasn’t on Goold’s list and also narrowly missed the WAR top 10, which surprised me as he’d probably crack my top 10.

And, of course, Neifi Perez.

Mariners sign Wade LeBlanc to a one-year deal

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The Mariners signed free agent left-hander Wade LeBlanc to a one-year deal, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reported Saturday. LeBlanc previously signed a minor league agreement with the Yankees, but later requested his release following the team’s Grapefruit League outing on Friday. The Mariners have yet to confirm the deal or disclose its terms.

This is LeBlanc’s second stint with the Mariners in two years. He was initially acquired by Seattle in the summer of 2016 after the Blue Jays traded him for cash considerations, and produced a 4.50 ERA, 1.6 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 in 50 innings before getting designated for assignment in August. The 33-year-old southpaw was last seen in the majors with the Pirates, with whom he generated another 4.50 ERA, 2,3 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 over 68 innings in 2017. He entered free agency after the club declined his $1.25 million option for 2018.

The signing comes at a fortuitous moment for the Mariners, who were pressed to find additional bullpen depth after right-handed reliever David Phelps tore his ulnar collateral ligament last week. As with most injuries of that kind, Phelps is expected to undergo Tommy John surgery and will miss the entire 2018 season. LeBlanc made a full transition to the bullpen in 2017 and boasts the kind of reverse platoon splits (.216/.270/.389 vs. righties and .292/.333/.500 vs. lefties in 2017) that will make him an effective replacement for the right-handed Phelps.