He didn’t play last year and was pretty clearly done anyway, but yesterday Gary Sheffield made it official and retired from baseball. Which, of course, leads to the question that is always asked when a player of stature retires. Hall of Fame?
I think the answer here is yes he’s deserving, but no he’s not going to make it. Not by a longshot.
His resume is damn solid. Way better than many players who are already in the Hall, as he himself noted in the story linked above. He was a nine-time All-Star with a career line of .292/.393/.514 and 509 homers. He didn’t lead the league in anything too many times and was never an MVP, but he had many seasons that, had they earned him the MVP, wouldn’t have been embarrassing to the award. Many of those seasons came before there was general acceptance of just how awesome it was to get on base at a .450 clip so he was under the radar while everyone was oohing and ahhing the big RBI men. He did a lot of things well rather than just one thing and had a lot of excellent seasons rather than one standalone boffo one and that’s usually a recipe for being underestimated.
Of course, had Sheffield not been a famously difficult personality who shuffled around from club-to-club during his career — and had he not been implicated in the PED mess — we would be having a very different conversation about all of this. But he was and he did and I think those things are going to mean that he gets way less support than he otherwise deserves. He’s going to get the Kevin Brown treatment.
OXON HILL, MD — Edwin Encarnacion began the offseason as, arguably, the second most desirable free agent on the market. As the Winter Meetings approach their end, however, he is a man without a team. And may not have a team any time soon.
Many teams have been rumored to be checking in on Encarnacion, but the defining trait of his free agency thus far has been clubs taking a pass. The most recent one being the Rangers, who are reported to simply not have the money to sign him, despite him filling a clear offensive need in Texas. Maybe the Rangers would be more competitive on the free agent market if they had a new stadium. Who knows?
The Blue Jays, for whom he most recently played, offered him a four-year, $80 million deal that most figured was a lowball, and when he rejected it, they moved on to Kendrys Morales. The Red Sox acquired Mitch Moreland. The Yankees are reported to be passing. The most recent team linked to Encarnacion is the Indians, who are reported to have an offer out to him, but at this point it’s likely far lower than what most free agent watchers thought he might get a few weeks ago. A four-year, $90 million deal did not seem crazy for him in October. In December, there is speculation that he could be had for $60 million over that same term which, frankly, would be a bargain. That’s less than Mark Melancon, the third best closer on the market, got from the Giants.
There have been a lot of remarkable things that have happened in the past few weeks, but one of the most unexpected things would be one of the top bats in the game getting second-tier closer money.
OXON HILL, MD — Bill King has been selected as the 2017 recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually for excellence in broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
King, one of the iconic voices of Bay Area sports, was known for his handlebar mustache and his signature “Holy Toledo!” exclamation. King broadcast A’s games for 25 seasons, from 1981 through 2005. He likewise broadcast Oakland Raiders and Golden State Warriors games and got his start as an announcer for the Giants in the late 1950s after they moved to San Francisco.
King passed away in October 2005. With the Frick Award, however, he has now been immortalized among baseball broadcasters.