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.
The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.
Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.
Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.
As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.
Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.
Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.