The other day we talked about unanimous and first ballot Hall of Famers. That’s fun to talk about even if there is no formal designation or greater honor for Hall of Famers who got in on their first try and those who didn’t.
Also fun to talk about despite it’s lack of true significance: “inner-circle” Hall of Famers. Those who are the best-of-the-best and would make it in even if every Hall of Fame voter adhered to the standards set by the strictest of their number.
Graham Womack of Baseball: Past and Present wanted to get a list of the inner-circle Hall of Famers, so he had readers vote. He took the top 50 and presents the results today.
I won’t spoil it for you. You’ll have to go read it. I will tell you Jim Rice fans, however, that you may be somewhat unhappy.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.