This will be Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe’s third year as a Hall of Fame voter. In year one he decided no suspected steroid users will ever get his vote. In year two he softened his stance, only withholding votes from players who were documented steroid users. This year, however, he has decided that it’s time to end all of that: PED use will not be a part of his analysis going forward. It will be all about what happened on the field.
Go read his column about his new approach. Note that, in changing his view of the matter, he is in no way endorsing PED use or absolving players of their cheating ways. He’s merely acknowledging that PEDs were a reality of the sport for a long time, that there are limits to what a voter can know, that consistency is important and that, ultimately, it is not the place of a baseball writer to become a judge of character as much as he or she is a judge of baseball prowess.
This is encouraging.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Indians and Padres are still discussing a potential trade for a starting pitcher, namely Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. Rosenthal adds that a deal isn’t close and is unlikely to occur before Opening Day. The Padres are balking at the Indians’ asking prices for the two starters.
The Padres could certainly use an ace at the top of the rotation. With the addition of Manny Machado, the lineup is looking decent, but beyond Joey Lucchesi, the starting pitching doesn’t inspire confidence.
Kluber, who turns 33 years old next month, has club options for the next two seasons at $13.5 million and $14 million with $1 million buyouts each. Last year, the right-hander finished third in AL Cy Young balloting, finishing 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA and a 222/34 K/BB ratio in 215 innings.
Bauer, 28, is earning $13 million this season and will enter his fourth and final year of arbitration heading into 2020. Last year, Bauer went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA and a 221/57 K/BB ratio across 175 1/3 innings.
The Indians are the prohibitive favorites in the AL Central once again, but that has as much to do with the mediocrity of the rest of the division as the Indians’ commitment to competing. If the Indians were to trade either or both starters, that would be good news for the Twins, who are projected to be 15 games worse than the Indians but still finish in second place, according to PECOTA from Baseball Prospectus.