USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweeted his Hall of Fame ballot earlier today. It’s somewhat unusual as far as these things go: Barry Larkin, Rafael Palmeiro, Fred McGriff, Jack Morris and Alan Trammell.
Nightengale then said that he votes for PED guys because we’ll never know who did and who didn’t use. That explains his vote for Rafael Palmeiro. And that’s fair. But that does mean that — on the merits — he thinks that Jeff Bagwell was inferior to both Palmeiro and Fred McGriff. And that seems pretty far off the mark to me.
If you read up his timeline, Nightengale responds to questions about that (which is very admirable by the way). He notes Palmeiro’s counting stats — home run and RBI totals for example — and notes that Bagwell would have made it had he made it to 500 homers. But of course McGriff only hit 493. And didn’t play in the awful hitting environment of the Astrodome for nine years like Bagwell did. He explains his love for McGriff more in terms of consistency.
Well, viva consistency, I suppose.
The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.
Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.
While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.