The fine baseball writing gentlemen of the Chicago Tribune published their Hall of Fame ballots Saturday, and what a job they did. All seven of the voters agreed that Roberto Alomar was a Hall of Famer, yet not a one picked Jeff Bagwell.
And what’s especially brilliant is not a one would admit docking him for believing he was a steroid user. Phil Rogers didn’t think “his resume was quite strong enough.” Several declined to mention him at all.
Bagwell, of course, needs to be named on 75 percent of ballots to be enshrined into the Hall of Fame. The current guess is that he’ll be lucky to clear 40 percent. That’s not so bad; most players who debut at 30 percent or higher eventually are elected. However, if Bagwell doesn’t make it this year or next, he’s going to be knocked down in 2013 and 2014 by the glut of strong candidates set to debut.
So, yeah, barring some eventual evidence of steroid usage, Bagwell will be a Hall of Famer. But while his production justifies a first-ballot induction, all signs point to a long wait.
Last month, free agent right-hander Bartolo Colon told reporters that he’d be open to taking a minor league deal in 2018, but only if he was guaranteed a return to the Mets’ system. The 44-year-old starter is nearing the end of a 20-year career, and it makes sense that he’d want to have one last hurrah in the city where he had some of his most productive years.
Now, Twins starter Ervin Santana tells Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, it looks like the Mets might also be open to a reunion. It’s doubtful that Colon has all that much left in the tank, especially following a combined 7-14 record and 6.48 ERA for the Braves and Twins last year, but he’s not necessarily looking to reproduce the 15+ win, sub-4.00 ERA totals of years past.
Instead, Santana says, Colon is seeking the opportunity to win just six more games. He’ll enter the 2018 season five wins shy of the all-time record for a Latin American-born player, and is hoping to claim that title for himself before he enters retirement in 2019. Former Orioles and Expos hurler Dennis Martinez currently holds the record after clinching his 245th win back in 1998. While it took Colon a full season of starts to come up with even seven wins in 2017, he’s only one year removed from a 15-win campaign in 2016. Provided that the Mets are willing to gamble on him again, the milestone may not be that far out of reach.