cooperstown

Happy Hall of Fame Day

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The Hall of Fame voting results will be announced today at 3PM. You can get your info either by following the Baseball Writers Association of America Twitter feed, going to their website or watching the announcement live on the MLB Network or at MLB.com (the MLB show starts at 2PM, but the announcement won’t be until 3).

Note: someone always announces it on Twitter, like, two minutes before any of those outlets announce it. Some dude who is hooking up — say — Barry Larkin’s microphone. Someone who spends their day instant messaging the guy who has to actually update the BBWAA website knows. Information wants to be free.  And as we’ve noted, that information is almost certainly going to be that Barry Larkin is elected and no one else is.

Anyway, we’ve kind of beaten the Hall of Fame politics to death around here these past couple of weeks because, really, what the hell else was there to talk about?  But let’s see if there’s still some life in that horse by reading Colin Wyers’ latest at Baseball Prospectus.  It’s pretty thought-provoking.

The upshot: Colin takes aim at something Rob Neyer said recently about how it’s OK to think through things like Jeff Bagwell’s suitability for the Hall of Fame. Rob talked about  how suspicions — even if thin or baseless — still have to be contended with somehow, so better to take the time to consider it all.  Colin agrees with the idea of considering things, but doesn’t think there’s much to consider in this instance.

Then he says two interesting things that those of you who like to argue about steroids probably need to contend with in some way:

  • “… if we look at players who have actually been identified as taking steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs—either through the Mitchell report or suspension by MLB—they aren’t any bigger than the average player. The average PEDuser was 73 inches tall and 193 pounds. The average MLB player over the same time span was 74 inches, 195 pounds.”  and
  • “… the increase in home run rates for shortstops and designated hitters was essentially identical.”

I don’t consider that to be definitive of anything as opposed to being merely neat. But this does all go back to what I’ve been saying forever: PED users really don’t fit a profile, and scrutinizing the big power hitters in ways we don’t scrutinize pitchers and middle infielders has no basis in fact or reason.  Either ignore it all or suspect and judge them all, but at least do it equally.

Are the Cardinals about to go on a free agent binge?

John Mozeliak AP
Associated Press
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The Cardinals have always emphasized building from within. In the 2016-17 offseason, however, they may end up being one of the bigger free agent buyers. At least according to some informed speculation.

St. Louis is already in agreement with Dexter Fowler. But Derrick Goold and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write today that the Cardinals “could become more aggressive than previously believed,” with Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion as “possible pursuits.” Worth noting that separate reports alleged some interest on the part of the Cards front office in free agent third baseman Justin Turner.

The Cardinals are already losing their first round pick due to the Fowler signing, so any other top free agent won’t cost them more than the money he’s owed. And as far as money goes, the Cardinals have a great deal of it, despite being a small market team. They have a billion dollar TV deal coming online and Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are off the payroll now. Spending big on a free agent or three would not cripple them or anything.

Encarnacion or Trumbo would be first baseman, which wold fly in the face of the Cards’ move of Matt Carpenter to first base (and, at least as far as Encarnacion goes, would fly in the face of good defense). Getting either of them would push Carpenter back to second, displacing Kolten Wong, or over to third, displacing Jhonny Peralta. If you’re going to do that, I’d say that Turner would make more sense, but what do I know?

Either way, the Cardinals may be entering a pretty interesting phase of their offseason now. And an unfamiliar one as, quite possibly, the top free agent buyer on the market.

 

Bobby Valentine on short list to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former MLB player Bobby Valentine attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
Getty Images
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There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.

Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:

The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.

When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.

Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?

Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.

The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.