Thank God, a coherent Hall of Fame column at SI

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Yesterday Sports Illustrated upchucked Jon Heyman and Dan Shaughnessy’s Hall of Fame columns on an unsuspecting and unprepared populace. To atone for those sins, they run Joe Posnanski’s today.  Ahhh, sweet, fresh coherence . . .

Best part: he comments on all 26 players on the ballot, including the Kevin Appiers and Eric Karroses (Karroi?) of the world.  Coherence and comprehensiveness.  You’d think it would be a prerequisite for getting a gig at a big fancy magazine like Sports Illustrated, but apparently Posnanski’s hiring represented SI moving into that territory for the first time.

Anyway, I agree with seven of his eight selections: Trammell, Alomar, Larkin, Blyleven, Martinez, Raines and McGwire.

I don’t agree with his eighth selection: Dale Murphy.  Even as a Braves fan who loved, loved, loved Murph back in the day, I can’t bring myself to support him for the Hall. The peak was great, but it was really five or six elite years surrounded by one or two good years surrounded by an abyss that no one has ever managed to explain. I won’t rage against the fates if Murph makes it in one day — I got that out of my system with Jim Rice last year — but Murphy fell right off the cliff, and in my mind he falls just short.

Beyond that, though? Excellent ballot and an excellent column supporting it.  But whaddaya expect? It’s Posnanski. 

BREAKING: Manny Machado to sign with the Padres: 10 years, $300 million

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Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that Manny Machado has a deal with the San Diego Padres. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the deal is for ten years and $300 million with an opt-out after year five.

At the moment there is some disagreement as to how “done” this deal is, with Padres chairman Ron Fowler saying “We do not have a deal. We are continuing discussions.” Ken Rosenthal, however, says that’s “semantics” and that the financial terms are in place, with the deal requiring over some final touches on language and Machado’s physical, which will likely be a formality.

The Padres were a late entrant into the Machado sweepstakes, but they reportedly met with Machado last week. The club has obviously not won for a long time, but they have a strong farm system. While that usually mitigates against a big free agent signing, Machado’s age — 26 — means that he’s still likely to be a productive player when that core of prospects is mature. And if it doesn’t develop, hey, he’s made some serious bank and can still opt-out at an age when he might get another decent paycheck.

For the Padres, Machado represents the biggest single investment in a player in club history. Last year they spent too, of course, giving Eric Hosmer an eight-year, $144 million contract, but this is definitely next-level. As for the baseball side of things, it’s likely that Machado will be the full-time third baseman with Luis Urias handling shortstop. While all of the talk about Machado over the past several months has been focused on money and, sometimes, his alleged lack of hustle, the Padres are getting a player with a career line of .282/.335/.487 (121 OPS+), 175 career homers and a 33.8 career WAR in seven big league seasons. While he played shortstop last year and as a minor leaguer, his past and future is at third, where he is a superior defender. As for the hustle: it has almost exclusively been an obsession of the media, based on an ill-advised postgame quote in October. He has received no bad reviews from former teammates, all of whom speak highly of his game and his work ethic.

When the offseason began it appeared that the Phillies or the Yankees or, perhaps, the White Sox had the inside track on Machado. Everyone took a wait-and-see approach, reasonably believing that by waiting out Machado, a better deal could be struck. The risk of that approach, of course, is that it allowed the Padres to talk themselves into getting bold and, ultimately, swooping in to strike this deal.