The Royals will pay Francoeur $2.5 million

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Bob Dutton reports the specifics of the Jeff Francoeur deal: $2.5 million with bonuses that could be worth $500,000. There’s also a mutual option for 2012 at $3 million.  He also gets $100 million if he leads the league in walks.

OK, maybe not. But I’d put that in there if I was Kansas City just to see what happens.

My original take on the signing is here.  The numbers don’t change it much. $2.5 million is not a ton for the guy. There’s a chance he could be something approaching useful.  If he somehow managed to finally tap his potential he could be a genuine bargain.  Ultimately, though, he’s a bridge for the Royals until some of their stud prospects come to the big club in 2012 or 2013.

Mariano Rivera elected to Baseball Hall of Fame unanimously

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Former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera deservingly became the first player ever inducted into the Hall of Fame unanimously, receiving votes from all 425 writers who submitted ballots. Previously, the closest players to unanimous induction were Ken Griffey, Jr. (99.32% in 2016), Tom Seaver (98.84% in 1992), Nolan Ryan (98.79% in 1999), Cal Ripken, Jr. (98.53%), Ty Cobb (98.23% in 1936), and George Brett (98.19% in 1999).

Because so many greats were not enshrined in Cooperstown unanimously, many voters in the past argued against other players getting inducted unanimously, withholding their votes for otherwise deserving players. That Griffey — both one of the greatest outfielders of all time and one of the most popular players of all time — wasn’t voted in unanimously in 2016, for example, seemed to signal that no player ever would. Now that Rivera has been, this tired argument about voting unanimity can be laid to rest.

Derek Jeter will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time next year. He may become the second player ever to be elected unanimously. David Ortiz appears on the 2022 ballot and could be No. 3. Now that Rivera has broken through, these are possibilities whereas before they might not have been.

Another tired argument around Hall of Fame voting concerns whether or not a player is a “first ballot” Hall of Famer. Some voters think getting enshrined in a player’s first year of eligibility is a greater honor than getting in any subsequent year. I’m not sure what it will take to get rid of this argument — other than the electorate getting younger and more open-minded — but at least we have made progress on at least one bad Hall of Fame take.