Hall of Fame projection: Larkin makes it, no one else

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Every year Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times projects the results of the Hall of Fame vote. Not just who goes in, but the exact percentage of the vote each candidate gets. He’s pretty good at it:  In the past four years he has made predictions for 63 candidates. Fifty of those candidates have come within five percentage points of the actual vote, and 22 have come within one percentage point of the BBWAA result.  Last year his margin for error was 2.4 percent.

His column for this year is up, and it breaks down thusly:

Barry Larkin: 82%
Jack Morris: 65%
Jeff Bagwell: 54%
Lee Smith: 52%
Tim Raines: 52%
Edgar Martinez: 39%
Alan Trammell: 32%

No one else is over 30 percent. He has Bernie Williams at 12 percent, which would keep him on the ballot. He’s be the only new candidate this year to stick around for next.  All of the usual holdovers like Dale Murphy, Mark McGwire and friends are north of that.

There is considerable precedent for guys who get over 50% of the vote to eventually make it in, so if Jaffe is right, it bodes well for Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines.  Jack Morris’ surge to from 54 percent to 65 percent would be notable, but one wonders if the extremely crowded ballot next year would allow for him to make it over the top.

Anyway, check out Jaffe’s column, which explains how he gets where he gets with these predictions and explains the curious dynamics of a Hall of Fame candidate’s journey from ballot newbie to Hall of Famer.

Report: Red Sox sign J.D. Martinez

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Update (5:16 PM ET): ESPN’s Pedro Gomez is reporting that the deal is final.

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Red Sox and outfielder J.D. Martinez are close to a deal. He takes care to note that the deal is not done yet and the details are not known yet.

Martinez, 30, entered the offseason as the top free agent hitter. Last season, between the Tigers and Diamondbacks, he hit a lusty .303/.376/.690 with 45 home runs and 104 RBI in 489 plate appearances. He missed the first 33 games of the season with a sprained right foot; one wonders what his numbers might’ve been like if he hadn’t been injured.

The Red Sox were the team most strongly linked to Martinez throughout the offseason, despite the relatively slow-moving market. Martinez said he wants to play in the outfield and the Red Sox are currently spoken for at all three positions with Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley, and Mookie Betts. Hanley Ramirez is also penciled in at DH. Should the Martinez deal become official, the Red Sox may try to trade Bradley and move Benintendi to center field. If Martinez is willing to concede his outfield wishes, the Red Sox could slot him in at DH and move Ramirez to first base.

The AL East is shaping up to be a familiar two-horse race between the Red Sox and Yankees. The addition of Martinez, in a way, answers the Yankees’ addition of Giancarlo Stanton.