Barry Larkin

Could … no one get elected to the Hall of Fame this year?

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Over at ESPN David Schoenfield points out something interesting. That while we’re all assuming that Barry Larkin — who got 62% of the vote last year — will be pushed over 75% of the vote and into the Hall of Fame this year, it’s not a mortal lock. At least if you look at the historic gains players who have notched 60%+ of the vote year-by-year have received:

While [being over 60% last year] is a positive sign for Larkin, as you can see from the above chart, not all the players made it immediately upon reaching 60 percent. The average percentage gain in election year for those 12 was 10.8 percent, so if Larkin receives that increase, he’ll fall just short.

Schoenfield thinks — as do I — that Larkin will top 75% this year and make it.  But man, I am sort of hung up on the possibility that he won’t now. Maybe I’m just overly prone to suggestion this morning.

Anyway, I’m wondering what it would mean for the Hall of Fame if we have a year — like we had back in 1996 — with no one elected.  This is especially intriguing in light of all of the worthy candidates that the Hall voters appear to be poised to pass on for now and the foreseeable future due to steroids stuff. It’s going to be bad enough a year from now when we’ll have likely established that the Hall of Fame has kept out the best hitter (Bonds) and pitcher (Clemens) of a generation.

If they’re also passing up guys like Larkin, I’ll really start to struggle to see the point of the place.

Josh Johnson retires from baseball

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Josh Johnson #55 of the San Diego Padres poses during Picture Day on February 21, 2014 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
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Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.

Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.

Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.

Report: Angels close to a multi-year deal with Luis Valbuena

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 08:  Luis Valbuena #18 of the Houston Astros hits a three run walkoff home run in the ninth inning to defeat the Oakland Athletics 10-9 at Minute Maid Park on July 8, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.

Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.

Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.