The conversation about the National Baseball Hall of Fame has become near garbage thanks to people thinking more about morals and ethics than actual baseball. But hey, at least there is a shred of a justification for that what with the “character clause” for voters. But what’s the excuse for lesser, team-specific halls of fame?
Specifically, the Red Sox, who yesterday announced that Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez and Nomar Garciaparra will be inducted. No controversy there, right? Two of the greatest pitchers of all time who did their best work in a Red Sox uniform and a guy who was the team’s offensive heart and soul for nearly a decade? We can’t argue with that, can we?
Sure we can. Or at least Gerry Callahan can:
First question for the Red Sox Hall of Fame committee: You couldn’t have waited another year? Or two? Or five? You had to bestow this honor on disgraced cheater Roger Clemens in the same year as Pedro Martinez? This is just wrong. This is like making Willie Mays share the stage with Barry Bonds, or allowing Mark McGwire to walk arm-in-arm into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame with Stan Musial.
Why is it so hard for the Sox Hall of Fame folks to say, “You cheated. You lied. You won’t go to jail, Mr. Clemens, but you can’t come in here.”
So does Jose Canseco get in next year?
He doesn’t like that Nomar is going in either because he once posed shirtless on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Seriously. That’s his reasoning.
It may be hard for media yakkers to grok this, but there are a ton — just oodles — of fans who don’t give a crap about any of that. Who watched Clemens and Garciaparra do great things in Fenway Park and, even if they don’t love them the way people love Pedro, appreciated their talent and associate them with fantastic baseball. That, for most people, it really is just about the baseball. It really is that simple.
Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks and outfielder A.J. Pollock have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year extension. The deal is worth $10.25 million, per ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Pollock was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The 28-year-old requested $3.9 million and was offered $3.65 million by the Diamondbacks when figures were exchanged on January 15. It wasn’t much of a gap, but the two sides were ultimately able to find common ground on a multi-year deal. Pollock will still be under team control for one more year after this new deal expires.
Pollock is coming off a breakout 2015 where he batted .315/.367/.498 with 20 home runs, 76 RBI, and 39 stolen bases over 157 games. He ranked sixth among position players with 7.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), according to Baseball Reference.
The Blue Jays and 2015 American League Most Valuable Player Josh Donaldson have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $29 million contract, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.
Donaldson was arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter. He filed for $11.8 million and was offered $11.35 million by the Blue Jays when figures were exchanged last month. It wasn’t a big gap, but since the Blue Jays are a “file and trial” team, they bring these cases to an arbitration hearing unless a multi-year deal can be worked out. As opposed to last winter, they were able to avoid a hearing this time around. Donaldson was originally a Super Two player, so he’ll still have one year of arbitration-eligibility once this two-year deal is completed.
The 30-year-old Donaldson is coming off a monster first season in Toronto where he batted .297/.371/.568 with 41 homers while leading the American League with 123 RBI.
Brandon Belt filed for $7.5 million and was offered $5.3 million by the Giants when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. That’s a pretty sizable gap. While there’s still a chance that an agreement will be worked out at the last minute, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that an arbitration hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
The Giants haven’t gone to an arbitration hearing since 2004, when they lost to catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Schulman hears from one person involved that because of the gap between Belt and the Giants, there’s a real chance this will break that string and require a hearing.
Belt batted .280/.356/.478 with 18 home runs and 68 RBI over 137 games in 2015, but he dealt with concussion symptoms for the second straight season. An arbitration hearing could bring some unpleasant conversation to the surface.
The Padres have inked veteran utility player Skip Schumaker to a minor league contract, per FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
Schumaker, who turned 36 last week, has spent the last two seasons with the Reds. He batted .242/.306/.336 with one home run and 21 RBI over 131 games last season while making starts between all three outfield spots and second base. Cincinnati cut ties with him in November after declining a $2.5 million club option for 2016.
While Schumaker had to settle for a non-guaranteed deal here, it would be no surprise to see him land a bench job with the Padres come Opening Day.