UPDATE: Alomar to wear a Jays cap, Blyleven a Twins cap on their Hall of Fame plaques

35 Comments

UPDATE: Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson confirms that Blyleven’s plaque will have a Twins hat and Alomar’s will have a Blue Jays cap.  In keeping with his statements from last night, Idelson also adds that all players’ caps — not just Angels inductees — will henceforth have halos engraved on them as well.

Wednesday, 4:28 PM: This is always a fun discussion: which caps do the new Hall of Fame inductees wear on their plaques?

Remember: while the Hall used to let them choose, the choice is no longer up to the player.  The Hall didn’t like guys making business arrangements over it and they wanted the plaques to adequately reflect history. Thus, no Wade Boggs in a Rays cap, no Andre Dawson in a Red Sox cap.  The player gets to voice their opinion, but it’s not dispositive.

Neither, however, is a player’s career stats. Remember: Reggie Jackson was a better player for a greater number of years with the Athletics than the Yankees, yet he wears a Yankees cap on his plaque. Nolan Ryan had his best years as an Angel and more years as an Astro, but he has a Rangers cap on. I have no problem with this because, really, when the tales of these players are told, their exploits with the Yankees and Rangers, respectively, are usually the center of the story.  There’s some subjectivity to it.

So, Alomar: it seems obvious to me that he should be a Blue Jay. More years there than anywhere else. Two World Series rings. Slightly less production on a rate-basis there than Baltimore or Cleveland, but only slightly, and he was a way better defender in his younger days in Toronto than he was later (even though he was great later too).  If it’s not the Jays, it would seem rather scandalous to me.

Blyleven seems pretty easy too: 11 years with the Twins, and way way way more innings there than anyplace else he plied his trade. And in some ways it was those last four years there in his second stint that sealed his Hall of Fame case for him. Remember: he was a compiler after all! It would be different if he had some signature moment while he played for the Pirates or Indians or something, but it’s gotta be Minnesota.

Darn. I was hoping when I started this post that it would be closer.  Oh well, at least it’s better than next year when we’ll have to debate whether Barry Larkin wears a Reds cap or a … Reds cap.

Aledmys Diaz is trying to improve his defense with strobe glasses

Getty Images
5 Comments

MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports that Cardinals’ shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been sporting a new look around Busch Stadium with a pair of “strobe glasses,” technology-enhanced specs designed to help athletes focus on the ball. Like a strobe light, the lenses of these glasses affect a player’s vision by rapidly changing opacity, giving its wearers the illusion that the objects they see are moving more slowly than normal. Once a player adjusts to the new speed of play, they gain a greater sense of control and are able to time their actions with more precision.

Diaz isn’t the first MLB player to utilize the technology, just the first Cardinals’ player to do so. It’s been tested by Bryce Harper, Corey Brown, Tommy Joseph, Austin Hedges and Joe Mauer, among others around the league, and has been used for everything from refining a catcher’s reflexes behind the plate to tweaking a hitter’s ability to track a pitch. Per Langosch, Diaz has been using the glasses to hone in on the ball during pregame drills, increasing both his confidence and response time on the field and improving his defense at short.

The shortstop has been the focus of some concern this season after seeing a sizable dip in his production at the plate, and his five fielding errors, 0.6 UZR and 0.6 fWAR haven’t helped matters, either. He sustained a minor thumb injury during an at-bat on Friday night, and was left off of the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Saturday, though manager Mike Matheny didn’t rule out his ability to pinch-hit during the series. While the strobe glasses are a good start, Diaz will need more than a pair of specs to match the spotlight-worthy performance he turned out during his rookie season in 2016.

Eduardo Rodriguez could rejoin the Red Sox rotation in July

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Red Sox’ left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez may finally get a chance at cracking the rotation again, assuming all goes well in Double-A Portland first. Rodriguez took the field prior to the club’s afternoon session with the Angels, firing 68 pitches in a simulated game as he prepared for an upcoming rehab assignment in Portland on Thursday.

The 24-year-old southpaw suffered a right knee subluxation during pregame warmups on June 1, and it’s been a slow path to recovery ever since. It’s not the first time Rodriguez has had issues with his right knee — he sustained a similar injury during spring training last year — and this time around, the Red Sox weren’t about to gamble with their starter’s health. Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Rodriguez was put in a knee brace and underwent exercises designed to help him regain some mobility and stability while he worked back up to full strength on the mound.

He’ll still need to prove he can throw a 75- to 80-pitch outing in Double-A, and barring any significant setbacks, will likely rejoin the Red Sox’ pitching staff when they visit the Rangers next month. In the meantime, the club will continue to cycle starters through the No. 5 spot, which has seen no fewer than three different pitchers since Rodriguez hit the disabled list. The lefty is 4-2 in 10 starts this season after logging a 3.54 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and career-high 9.6 SO/9 through his first 61 innings.