David Ortiz hit two home runs against the Blue Jays last night. The first one tied him with Carl Yastrzemski on the all-time home run list, the second one passed him. Ortiz hit 58 with the Twins, so he’s still behind him on the Red Sox list.
Overall, Ortiz now sits alone at 36th all-time with 453 bombs. Ahead of him in the near future: Adam Dunn, Jose Canseco, Dave Winfield and Chipper Jones at 454, 452, 465 and 468, respectively. Obviously Dunn is still active.
One of the more controversial subjects we bring up around here from time to time are David Ortiz’s Hall of Fame chances. I feel like I’m in the minority on this one, but I do think he is both Cooperstown bound and Cooperstown worthy.
I dug into the argument pretty deeply the morning after Game 6 of the World Series last fall, but the summary of it was:
- On the numbers alone he is comfortably within the middle of the pack of already-enshrined Hall of Fame hitters;
- While people discount his contributions because he’s a DH, it’s not like DH hasn’t been an established position for pushing half a century and it’s not like we don’t already induct hyper-specialists into the Hall of Fame (see, one-inning relief pitchers);
- If we give extra credit for the playoffs — and we typically do — it’s worth noting that Oritz has a career World Series line of .455/.576/.795 with 14 RBI in 14 games; and
- While some will cite his PED history, (a) it is the slightest of all PED histories imaginable given that it came during the 2003 trial testing period which came with no penalties and was supposed to have been anonymous; and (b) he tends to get a pass on this from many in the media who are not so forgiving to PED-implicated players.
Going against his chances are that, so far, the BBWAA voters have shown no inclination to vote in the guy who many feel was the best DH in baseball history in Edgar Martinez. But I bet the Boston + three World Series rings factor will end up giving Ortiz a lot of extra credit among those same voters. Almost all teams which win a World Series have at least one Hall of Famer. Teams which win three World Series ALL have Hall of Famers. Who would Boston’s be? If it ain’t Ortiz, I’d be curious to see who your candidate is.
Maybe I still haven’t convinced most of you. But as we debate this, Ortiz will continue to climb the career home run list.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.
There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.
Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.
ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reported over the weekend that the Cubs and reliever Pedro Strop agreed to a contract extension. He’ll remain with the Cubs through 2018 and the new deal includes a club option for the 2019 season as well. Per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, Strop will earn $5.85 million in 2018 and the club option is worth $6.25 million with a $500,000 buyout. The two sides already avoided arbitration earlier this month, agreeing on a $5.5 million salary for the 2017 season.
Strop, 31, has been a very reliable reliever for the Cubs over the last three years. He has a combined 2.65 ERA with 212 strikeouts and 69 walks over 176 1/3 innings in that span of time.
The Cubs replaced Aroldis Chapman with Wade Davis, so Strop and Hector Rondon will be bridging the gap to Davis this coming season.
Strop joined the Cubs along with Jake Arrieta in the July 2013 trade that sent Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman to the Orioles. That trade panned out well for the Cubs.