It’s a crime that Edgardo Alfonzo isn’t on the Hall of Fame ballot

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I know I’m just about the only one who gets upset about these things. And, yeah, there probably are better uses of my time. But how could anyone look at these two infielders and decide that the second is the one worthy of a spot on the Hall of Fame ballot?

Player A: .284/.357/.425, 146 HR, 744 RBI, 53 SB in 5,385 AB
Player B: .273/.317/.356, 36 HR, 368 RBI, 363 SB in 4,963 AB

Player A is Edgardo Alfonzo, who turned in a four-year run as one of the NL’s top players in the late-90s.

Player B is Tony Womack, who had one legitimately good season in a career spent mostly dragging his teams down.

Now, Alfonzo is obviously no Hall of Famer. However, through age 28, it looked like he had a chance. He hit .292/.367/.445 with 120 homers and 538 RBI in his first eight seasons with the Mets, good for a 113 OPS+. Ryne Sandberg hit .284/.339/.430 with 109 homers and 473 RBI through age 28, giving him a 108 OPS+.

Unfortunately, Alfonzo had very little to contribute after that. Upon arriving in San Francisco at age 29, he was an average regular for two seasons. He then turned in an awful year at age 31 and was done at 32, though he did try comebacks afterwards.

But Alfonzo deserves his spot on the Hall of Fame ballot. He was a regular for just as long as Womack was and obviously a much better player. The difference between Alfonzo’s career OPS and Womack’s is the same as the difference between Willie McCovey’s (or Adrian Gonzalez’s) and Alfonzo’s. Alfonzo is also obviously more worthy than other newcomers Eric Young, Terry Mulholland, Phil Nevin and Jeromy Burnitz. Someone really blew it by not getting him his place.

Jeffrey Springs, Rays agree to $31 million, 4-year contract

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Left-hander Jeffrey Springs became the first of the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration salaries with their teams to reach a deal, agreeing Wednesday to a $31 million, four-year contract with the Tampa Bay Rays that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

The 30-year old was among seven Rays who swapped arbitration figures with the team on Jan. 13. He began last season in the bullpen, transitioned to the starting rotation in May and finished 9-5 with a 2.46 ERA in 33 appearances, including 25 starts. He is 14-6 with a 2.70 ERA in 76 outings – 51 of them in relief – since he was acquired from Boston in February 2021.

Springs gets $4 million this year, $5.25 million in 2024 and $10.5 million in each of the following two seasons. Tampa Bay has a $15 million option for 2027 with a $750,000 buyout.

The 2025 and 2026 salaries can escalate by up to $3.75 million each based on innings in 2023-24 combined: $1.5 million for 300, $1 million for 325, $750,000 for 350 and $500,000 for 375. The `25 and ’26 salaries also can escalate based on finish in Cy Young Award voting in `23 and ’24: $2 million for winning, $1.5 million for finishing second through fifth in the voting and $250,000 for finishing sixth through 10th.

Tampa Bay’s option price could escalate based on Cy Young voting in 2025 and 2026: by $2.5 million for winning, $2 million for finishing second through fifth and $500,000 for sixth through 10th.

Springs would get $45.25 million if the option is exercised, $52.75 million with the option and meeting all innings targets and the maximum if he meetings the innings targets and wins two Cy Youngs.

Springs’ ERA last season was the second lowest in franchise history for a pitcher working a minimum of 100 innings. Former Rays ace Blake Snell compiled 1.89 ERA on the way to winning the 2018 AL Cy Young.

In addition to finishing sixth in the AL in ERA, Springs allowed three runs or fewer in 22 of 25 starts and two runs or fewer 17 times. He joined Tampa Bay’s rotation on May 9, gradually increasing his workload over his next six appearances. Springs was 6-3 with a 2.40 ERA in 14 starts after the All-Star break.

Arbitration hearings start next week and the Rays remain with the most players scheduled to appear before three-person panels.

Springs had asked for a raise from $947,500 to $3.55 million and had been offered $2.7 million. Tampa remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam, Pete Fairbanks and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, third baseman Yandy Diaz and outfielder Harold Ramirez.

Tampa Bay also agreed minor league contacts with catcher Gavin Collins and right-hander Jaime Schultz, who will report to major league spring training.

Infielder Austin Shenton and pitchers Anthony Molina and Joe LaSorsa also were invited to big league spring training.