Fun things — and some not so fun things — from today’s voting results beyond the names we talked about already:
- Falling off the ballot because they didn’t receive 5%: Bernie Williams, Kenny Lofton, Sandy Alomar Jr.,Julio Franco, David Wells, Steve Finley, Shawn Green, Aaron Sele, Jeff Cirillo,Royce Clayton, Jeff Conine, Roberto Hernandez, Ryan Klesko, Jose Mesa, Reggie Sanders, Mike Stanton, Todd Walker, Rondell White, Woody Williams. Lofton deserved longer consideration. I really don’t think any of the other guys have an argument.
- Earning a vote for reasons that are clear only to the person who cast it: Aaron Sele. Really, who thinks Aaron Sele deserved a vote? For that matter, on what planet does Sandy Alomar, Jr. get 16 votes?
- Fun but sad: Curt Schilling only got 38.8% of the vote, which was a travesty. But hey, Schilling’s number was 38, so it was kinda appropriate.
- Gainers among the guys who actually stand a chance one day: Raines and Bagwell. Raines jumped from 48.7% to 52.2%. Bagwell from 56.0% to 59.6%. I think they’ll eventually make it, but it may take a few years.
- Sorry, you missed your window: Fred McGriff, Lee Smith and Alan Trammell. McGriff went from 23.9% in 2012 to 20.7% in 2013. Smith went from 50.6% to 47.8%. Trammell went from 36.8% to 33.6%. Each of those guys would require a Jack Morris-style surge in order to make it but they’re going in the wrong direction and time is running out.
- The holdover PED guys: Mark McGwire sunk from 19.5% to 16.9%. Rafael Palmeiro went from 12.6% to 8.8%. It’s never gonna happen and Palmeiro may fall off next year.
- A guy with time and little support who may yet have a shot: Larry Walker. He only has 21.6%, down from 22.9% last year. But I feel like we haven’t had a big conversation about him yet and he could very well see a Tim Raines-style jump in voter consciousness once the PED stuff begins to settle down in a couple of years.
There’s a lot more fun to be gleaned from the results. Check them out at the BBWAA site. Assuming Geocities isn’t down, anyway.
It isn’t difficult to see the fingerprints left by Cubs’ president Tom Ricketts and general manager Theo Epstein on the club’s remarkable 2016 season. In a piece for FOXSports.com, former Yankee Alex Rodriguez highlighted the duo’s effectiveness in liberating the Cubs from a five-year losing streak and six-year postseason drought, citing both the unrelenting work ethic and passion that Ricketts and Epstein brought to the club as major factors in their success.
Rodriguez’s first brush with sabermetric savant and all-around baseball wizard Theo Epstein came in 2003, when the then- 27-year-old All-Star was eyeing a deal with the Red Sox. The Major League Baseball Players Association eventually nixed the trade, and the Rangers’ young shortstop was sent to the Yankees shortly thereafter, but not before Rodriguez glimpsed the inner workings of Epstein’s mind.
What I remember best about that time was watching Theo furiously scribbling out the Red Sox lineup for the upcoming season on a room-service napkin. That’s when I saw Theo’s baseball mind at work. I saw he had a passion for the game, a depth of knowledge, and a thirst to be great. Theo’s passion was contagious. We were three 20-somethings convinced we were about to turn baseball upside down together. Though I never got a chance to work with Theo, I knew then that he was going to be a force.
A-Rod also referenced Ricketts’ thorough approach to rebuilding the organization. Ricketts, who purchased the franchise for $875 million in 2009, first made it his mission to transform Wrigley Field into a comfortable and enticing playing environment, then targeted top-tier management to run the show behind the scenes. With Ricketts fully backing Epstein’s transformative approaches — including an overhaul of the Cubs’ farm system, investments in international player development, and a comprehensive understanding and practical application of sabermetric advances — the Cubs’ path to a 97-win season in 2015 seemed a natural consequence of the pair’s hard work.
This year, the attention has been even more intensely focused on the Cubs’ elusive third World Series title. Rodriguez, however, believes that winning a championship is secondary to the strides Ricketts and Epstein have taken with the club.
Together, Ricketts and Epstein have built one of the greatest franchises in baseball and transformed 1060 W. Addison St. It’s a task that no one could quite get right for a hundred years. While four more wins would put a giant exclamation point on five years of focused work and determination, I won’t worry if this team doesn’t win the World Series in the next nine days.
Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News reports that the Mets are expected to pick up the 2017 option for Reyes, but they haven’t done it yet. The option will be worth the major league minimum salary ($507,500), as the Rockies will continue to pay down the remainder of Reyes’ $41 million remaining on his contract.
The Mets signed Reyes after the Rockies released him in June. He had a .659 OPS in Colorado but improved to a .769 OPS in 279 plate appearances with the Mets, mostly playing third base in place of the injured David Wright. Bringing Reyes back next season will provide them more insurance at the hot corner.
Reyes, 33, served a 51-game suspension due to an offseason domestic violence incident while on vacation in Hawaii with his wife. As a result, he didn’t make his season debut until July 5, having spent some additional time in the minor leagues to get into game shape.