Who will be next to reach 3,000 hits?

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Derek Jeter just became the 28th member of the 3,000-hit club. He is the first player to reach 3,000 hits since Craig Biggio during the 2007 season.

Now that history has been made, it’s time to wonder who will get there next.

Removing Jeter from the equation, here’s the list of the current active leaders in hits (their ages in parentheses):

Ivan Rodriguez (39) – 2,842

Omar Vizquel (44) – 2,831

Alex Rodriguez (35) – 2,762

Johnny Damon (37) – 2,662

Chipper Jones (39) – 2,565

Vladimir Guerrero (36) – 2,513

Miguel Tejada (37) – 2,353

Bobby Abreu (37) – 2,343

Ichiro Suzuki (37) – 2,343

Todd Helton (37) – 2,319

Edgar Renteria (34) – 2,284

Jim Thome (40) – 2,239

Magglio Ordonez (37) – 2,107

Carlos Lee (35) – 2,057

Orlando Cabrera (36) – 2,020

Scott Rolen (36)  – 2,001

Adrian Beltre (32) – 1,985

Albert Pujols (31) – 1,979

Yes, Pudge is next in line. I briefly went over his case yesterday, but with his career on the decline, he would likely need to hang on for at least a couple more seasons in a backup role to have a realistic chance. I doubt he’ll get there, nor do I think he will be next. You’ll see that Pudge shares a lot in common with many of the names on this list. Not surprisingly, the great majority of them are aging veterans in the twilight of their careers. Even someone like Ichiro, who once looked like a lock, is beginning to show some early signs of decline.

Alex Rodriguez still appears to be the favorite to reach 3,000 hits next, even with today’s news about his knee. We may have to get used to seeing him play 120 games per season, but I think he stands a decent chance of getting there during the 2013 season. 38 more hits in 2011 would put him at 2,800 going into next season.

I wouldn’t rule out Johnny Damon, either. He’s having a resurgent season with the Rays and is currently on pace for 166 hits. That would give him 2,737 hits going into next season. Not impossible. You’ll notice that Albert Pujols is the youngest player on this list. That’s important, even though his numbers have been merely mortal this season. It’s worth noting that Miguel Cabrera, who isn’t on this list, has 1,497 hits at the age of 28. We have to at least take his past drinking and personal problems into account when talking about career longevity, but he’s on pace to charge up this list in future seasons.

2017 Winter Meetings Preview

Craig Calcaterra
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL — The baseball world has descended on the Swan and Dolphin Resort at Disney World for the 2017 Winter Meetings. There’s a lot of work to be done.

The two biggest names on the market — Shohei Ohtani and Giancarlo Stanton — have found new homes, but so far only 33 of baseball’s 249 free agents have signed, almost all of them minor. Still looking for a home: Yu Darvish, J.D. Martinez, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Jake Arrieta, CC Sabathia, Lorenzo Cain, Wade Davis, Lance Lynn, Greg Holland and many, many more. In early November we ran down the top free agents, position-by-position, to help you get a jump on who is available and what your team is looking at as it seeks to fill its needs.

It’s not just players looking for homes this week, however. It’s teams looking to make up for their failures in the Ohtani and Stanton derbies. The Cardinals and Giants both went big to get Stanton and came up empty. The Giants were likewise in Ohtani, but no dice. Baseball’s worst team in 2017 is obviously willing to spend some money to improve, and now they will look elsewhere to spend it. The Red Sox weren’t in on those two, but since it’s biggest rival landed Giancarlo Stanton, GM Dave Dombrowski will no doubt be kicking the tires hard on J.D. Martinez or Eric Hosmer to try to keep pace. The Mariners acquired a lot of international pool money in their quest for Ohtani, but they could still use a starting pitcher or two, so perhaps they may look at, say, Jake Arrieta? Lance Lynn? Yu Darvish? Well, they should, but who knows if they will.

Despite the sheer number of available free agents, this is a thin free agent class in terms of talent. That means that, for a team to improve significantly, they may be better served by making a trade. The Marlins already traded Stanton, but their fire sale does not seem to be over. Could they deal the newly-acquired Starlin Castro? Christian Yelich? Marcel Ozuna? Bet on yes, and bet on any team wishing to spend prospects instead of free agent cash to take what Miami is unloading. Other potential trade candidates: Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen, Rays starter Chris Archer and third baseman Evan Longoria and Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler.

Trade deals and free agent negotiations take place behind closed doors at the Swan and Dolphin. One of the major public activities of the Winter Meetings is when all 30 of the managers meet and greet the press. This year there are six new men at the helm: Dave Martinez in Washington, Mickey Callaway with the Mets, Gabe Kapler — Baseball’s Most Handsome Manager — in Philly, Alex Cora in Boston, Aaron Boone with the Yankees and Rob Gardenhire with the Tigers. I’ll be in the scrum for a lot of these guys — they do them two at a time so I can’t see everyone — and will let you know if they say anything fun. Or if any of them slug me for saying that they’re ugly.

Outside of the transactions and the Hall of Fame stuff, we have the more mundane Winter Meetings business. Indeed, the vast majority of the people at the Meetings aren’t there for transactions. They’re there to network, seek jobs and discuss the business of baseball like any other industry convention. Ever year we hear about a rule change or a proposal for future rule changes at the Meetings. The big one everyone is talking about this offseason is the possibility of a pitch clock.

The final event of the Winter Meetings is the Rule 5 Draft, which will take place at 8am on Thursday morning. You likely have no idea who most of the players who will be selected are, but here’s a good place to start your research on that. If your team takes someone in the draft, the most important thing to know is that he’ll either be on the big league roster all year or he’ll have to be returned to his original team. Well, they could be stashed on the disabled list with phantom injuries so they won’t have to be returned, but no team would ever do that, would they? Perish the thought.

So, yes, there’s a lot to be done. I’ll be on the scene down here at Disney World, bringing you all the best hot stove business we have to offer and, as usual, some more fun odds and ends from baseball’s biggest offseason event.