In response to my inclusion of Tim Raines on my imaginary Hall of Fame ballot:
does anyone realize that apart from his 5 really good years of 1983-1987, tim raines looks a lot more like marquis grissom than he does rickey henderson?? 5 seasons does not make a hall of fame career.
This is why we can’t have nice things, people. I was about to go nuts on this myself — I mean, you can’t just take a guy’s peak years away and call his Hall of Fame case a sham — but I decided instead to let Raines-Backer-in-Chief Jonah Keri handle it. His way-more-polite-than-I-would-have-been response:
Tim Raines was, according to Bill James, the best player in MLB from 1983 through 1987 … Also, check out Raines30.com if you want to learn more about the player with more times on base in his career than Tony Gwynn, a higher OBP than Willie Mays, the 5th-most SB of all-time and the highest success rate of any basestealer with anywhere near that many attempts.
Do check out Raines30.com. And make sure that, in the event you correspond with Hall of Fame voters, they are aware of it too. And while you’re at it, listen to Jonah’s podcast with Tim Raines himself from just the other day. This is not a hard case. This is not a close case. Tim Raines is a clearly deserving Hall of Fame candidate. It has to happen.
Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.
Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”
Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.
The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.