ESPN is ranking the top 100 players of all times and Old Hoss Radbourn is tearing them to shreds

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December is list season. Usually end-of-year lists. But ESPN.com has decided to do an all-time list, asking their scores of baseball writers, editors and experts to rank the top 100 players of all time.

They’re calling it the Hall of 100, and it’s their stab at a Hall of Fame of sorts. The good news: the voters were explicitly instructed to ignore PEDs and character stuff. They were merely to go on on-the-field performance.

The bad news: (1) they’re releasing their rankings piecemeal, so as of today they’re still only through 26, with the top 25 coming tomorrow; and (2) based on rankings it appears that the old timers — 19th century players, deadballers and, most notably, the Negro Leaguers — are getting short shrift. Maybe understandable given that you tend to favor what you know, but still a bit of a disappointment.

The redeeming news: Twitter’s Old Hoss Radbourn has a running commentary of each pick, critiquing the player and/or ESPN’s rank. Such as this comment about Chipper Jones:

Or this one about Jackie Robinson:

 

Can’t read the rankings without the commentary, can’t have the commentary without the rankings. If ESPN was cool they’d put Hoss’ comments alongside their list.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.