Juan Gonzalez

Juan Gonzalez for the Hall of Fame!

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Incredibly enough, he’s not even a Scott Boras client.

Tweets ESPN’s Jon Weisman:

In today’s mail, I received a 12-page full-color campaign brochure for Juan “Igor” Gonzalez’s Hall of Fame candidacy.

12 pages trumpeting Juan Gonzalez. Someone had a lot of time on their hands.

Gonzalez, of course, was a two-time MVP thanks to some very impressive RBI numbers (144 in 1996, 157 in 1998). He also led the AL in homers twice. He doesn’t have much else for black ink, though. He led the AL in slugging once in 1993. He never led the league in OPS. In fact, his highest finish there was fourth.

Gonzalez obviously comes up well short of Hall of Fame qualifications as is, though he’d rate as a very divisive candidate had he been able to stay healthy after age 31 and finished with 500-550 homers and 1,700 or so RBI. After that age-31 season with Cleveland, he had 277, 327, 127 and one at-bats the next four years, leaving him with 434 homers and 1,404 RBI.

Those totals rank 40th and 70th all-time, respectively. And those are the strong points of his case. His raw OPS of .904 ranks 61st all-time for players with 3,000 plate appearances, but that’s partly a product of his era and the ballparks he played in. Switching over to OPS+ drops him all of the way to 138th all-time.

Not that there’s anything wrong with being the 138th greatest hitter of all-time. Gonzalez was never a bad hitter at any point in his career. Even in his one off year in his prime, he hit .275/.330/.472. During those final four seasons with his body betraying him at every opportunity, he hit .286/.327/.503.

Gonzalez also hit .290/.333/.742 with eight homers in 15 postseason games (his teams lost all four of those series anyway).

Still, Gonzalez is no Hall of Famer, and it’s doubtful he’ll survive on the ballot another year after barely eclipsing the five-percent cutoff in his 2011 debut (he finished at 5.2 percent). A 12-page pamphlet isn’t going to change that.

Bud Selig to teach a class at Arizona State law school

Bud Selig
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Before Bud Selig ultimately retired, he had a couple of false start retirement announcements only to have the owners beg him to sign on for one more term. In one of those false starts he talked about how the University of Wisconsin had set up an office for him in the history department and that he’d be doing some research and teaching a class now and again. And he has, in fact, taught some one-off seminars at Wisconsin’s law school and the like.

Now something a little more permanent along those lines is in the works for The Greatest Commissioner in Baseball History. The Arizona Republic reports that Selig will join the Sports Law and Business program at Arizona State University’s law school where he will teach and advise as well as start up a speakers series in which he will bring in high-powered guests. No word on how many speakers will talk about big, important historical sports law cases like, say collusion in baseball, which was orchestrated by an ownership class in the mid-to-late 80s, of which Bud Selig was far and away the most influential member. That could get sort of awkward, I suppose.

Either way, it’s a good way to keep busy. I mean, that’s what it has to be as he’s not hurting for cash, what with the obscene $6 million severance package the owners gave him to, I dunno, not give interviews about bad stuff that happened back in the day like Fay Vincent does all the time. Stuff like collusion. Maybe he gets the $6 million for some other purpose. Who can say, really? It’s never made any sort of sense otherwise.

Anyway, good luck in Tempe, Bud. Maybe I’ll stop by your office at ASU when I’m there next month — I always stay in Tempe — and we can chew the fat or climb that butte with the big A on it or something. First round at Four Peaks afterward is on me.

White Sox sign first baseman Travis Ishikawa

Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Travis Ishikawa hits an RBI-single off Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Raisel Iglesias to drive home Neil Walker in the seventh inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015, in Cincinnati. The Reds won 4-3. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
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First baseman Travis Ishikawa has agreed to a minor-league contract with the White Sox that includes an invitation to spring training.

Ishikawa was previously reported to have a minor-league deal with the Mariners last month, but the signing was never finalized. Now he joins the White Sox, who have Jose Abreu and Adam LaRoche ahead of him on the first base/designated hitter depth chart.

Ishikawa had some big moments for the Giants in the 2014 playoffs, but he’s a 32-year-old journeyman with a lifetime .255 batting average and .712 OPS in 488 games as a big leaguer.

It’s possible the White Sox could keep him around as a bench bat and backup first baseman/left fielder, but Ishikawa seems more likely to begin the season at Triple-A.

Mariners sign reliever Joel Peralta

Joel Peralta
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Right-hander Joel Peralta has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Mariners that includes an invitation to spring training.

Peralta spent last season with the Dodgers and was limited to 29 innings by neck and back problems, posting a 4.34 ERA and 24/8 K/BB ratio. Los Angeles declined his $2.5 million option, making him a free agent.

He was one of the most underrated relievers in baseball from 2010-2014, logging a total of 318 innings with a 3.34 ERA and 342 strikeouts, but at age 40 he’s shown signs of decline. Still, for a minor-league deal and no real commitment Peralta has a chance to be a nice pickup for Seattle’s bullpen.

White Sox sign Mat Latos

Mat Latos
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Jerry Crasnick reports that the Chicago White Sox have signed Mat Latos.

Latos was pretty spiffy between 2010-2014, posting sub-3.50 ERAs each year.  Then the injuries came and he fell apart. He pitched for three teams in 2015 — the Dodgers, Angels, and Marlins — with a combined 4.95 ERA in 113 innings. And he didn’t make friends on those clubs either, with reports of clubhouse strife left in his wake.

In Chicago he gets a fresh start. It doesn’t come in a park that will do him any favors — Latos and U.S. Cellular Field don’t seem like a great match — but at this point beggars can’t be choosers.