Barry Bonds 1993

Bonds! Clemens! Sosa! Biggio! Schilling! The CSN Insiders go deep on five Hall of Fame candidates

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We here at HBT have been doing drive-bys on all of the Hall of Fame candidates for some time, but on the eve of the Hall of Fame results becoming public, the insiders at Comcast Sportsnet offer you five in-depth takes on five of the top Hall of Fame candidates in 2013:

Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com assess the problematic case of Barry Bonds:

Bonds was the most talented hitter I’ve ever seen. He was a savant. He predicted pitch after pitch from the dugout, leaving his teammates in amazement. Perhaps only Ted Williams had his combination of cunning, vision and confidence.

Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com talks about Roger Clemens before he was assumed to have started taking PEDs:

If you put Clemens’ before-and-after date at 1996, he had won three Cy Young Awards, an MVP and had tied Cy Young as the winningest pitcher in Red Sox history.

Patrick Mooney and Tony Andracki of CSNChicago.com take on Sammy Sosa, and take on Sosa … and continue to take on Sosa

Only seven men have hit more than the 609 home runs Sammy Sosa slammed during his big-league career. He did it with a flair for the dramatic, inside one of baseball’s cathedrals, while playing for a marquee franchise.

John Kelly of CSNHouston.com looks at Craig Biggio:

Craig Biggio is in his first year of eligibility, and in an ordinary year would be a shoe in for induction — 3,060 hits, 668 doubles, 291 home runs, 1,175 RBIs and 1,844 runs scored in a career that spanned 20 seasons, all in a Houston uniform. But this is no ordinary year.

Finally, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com gives us the candidacy of Curt Schilling:

Any look at Schilling’s candidacy has to go heavy on his postseason work: He won World Series in 2001, 2004 and 2007;  He was 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA and a .968 WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) in 19 postseason starts; He was 4-0 with a 1.37 ERA in five elimination starts. (His team won all five.); He was the MVP of the 1993 NLCS with the Phillies; He was the co-MVP of the 2001 World Series with the Diamondbacks.

That’s the overview, but where do our insiders come down on each candidate? How did they vote and, more importantly, what do these guys — who know their subjects better than anyone — think will happen tomorrow when the vote is revealed?

Do yourself a favor and take some time with these in-depth looks.  Because after tomorrow, it will all be history for another year.

Astros avoid arbitration with Mike Fiers

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 17: Starting pitcher Mike Fiers #54 of the Houston Astros walks to the dugout after pitching an inning during a game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 17, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Astros won the game 2-1. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.

Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.

Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.

Raines to wear an Expos cap, Pudge to wear a Rangers cap on their Hall of Fame plaques

1990:  Outfielder Tim Raines of the Montreal Expos in action. Mandatory Credit: Otto Greule  /Allsport
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There is little if any controversy to be had about the caps this year’s inductees will wear on their Hall of Fame plaques, but in case there was any doubt at all, it was put to rest this afternoon at the Hall of Fame press conference: Tim Raines will wear a Montreal Expos cap and Ivan Rodriguez will wear a Rangers cap. Jeff Bagwell, of course, never played for a team other than the Houston Astros at the big league level.

Though Raines had some good seasons with the Chicago White Sox and though he helped provide a nice kick start to the Yankees dynasty in the mid-1990s, his best seasons, by far, took place while he was an Expo. It’s also the case that the bulk of his Hall of Fame push came from Expos fans. He was particularly boosted by Jonah Keri, who recently wrote a book detailing the history of the Expos. So, yeah, that’s easy.

Rodriguez played 13 of his 21 years with the Texas Rangers, including his MVP 1999 season. He did have some notable years elsewhere, particularly in Detroit where he remains a fan favorite, but it was always going to be the Rangers for him, one would think. Maybe a slight, slight chance that he’d do the blank cap thing, Greg Maddux-style, but smart money was on the Rangers.

With Bagwell, the only question is which Astros cap he’ll wear. There are a couple of applicable ones: the brick red star, which he wore to the World Series in 2005. There’s also the shooting star cap he wore during his best seasons and which Craig Biggio’s plaque displays. He was around for the classic “H” over the star look, but he was just a kid then, so I doubt he’d wear it.

Anyway, sorry to the Marlins fans who wished that Raines and Pudge would wear the fishy-F.