Hi, I’m Mike Piazza.*
Do you remember me? Normally I wouldn’t ask that because I seem to remember being quite famous a few years ago, but it seems like several hundred people whose business it was to follow my career have forgotten me, and I just don’t know how to deal with that. I mean, I know there were better players than me, but I hit .308/.377/.545 for my career with 427 homers in 16 seasons. My career OPS+ was 143. The next three catchers on that list whose careers have already ended are Mickey Cochrane, Bill Dickey and Johnny Bench, and they’re way behind. I played in the World Series. Everyone said when I played that I was heading to the Hall of Fame.
But today I got just 57.8% of the vote, and at the risk of sounding arrogant, I think that’s kinda light, don’t you?
It’s almost as if someone is holding something against me and my Hall of Fame candidacy apart from what I did on the field. I know that’s possible! It happens to a lot of players these days. But (again, sorry for being narcissistic) I Googled myself and I couldn’t find a single article written which presents any facts which would reasonably lead someone to withhold their vote. I wasn’t named on any lists or outed in anyone’s book. There’s just … nothing.
It’s almost as if 42.8% of the Hall of Fame electorate has been talking about me behind my back, too cowardly to come out and accuse me of something, yet holding that something against me all the same. I’m just a simple man from Pennsylvania and I don’t necessarily understand how everything in the world works, but that strikes me as kinda wrong.
Sorry if that’s rude, but it beats the other explanation I have in mind: that 42.8% of the BBWAA are blithering idiots and wouldn’t know a Hall of Fame catcher if Carlton Fisk fell out of the sky, landed on their face and started to wiggle.
Thanks for your time.
*At least we here are assuming this was Mike Piazza. We heard this voice with a distinct Pennsylvania accent saying these words in our head moments after the Hall of Fame results were announced and felt duty-bound to put to pen to paper in order to preserve them for posterity.
In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.
Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.
In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.
In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.
Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.
Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.
The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.
MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.
Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.
“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”
Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.
MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.
It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.