Bonds! Clemens! Sosa! Biggio! Schilling! The CSN Insiders go deep on five Hall of Fame candidates

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We here at HBT have been doing drive-bys on all of the Hall of Fame candidates for some time, but on the eve of the Hall of Fame results becoming public, the insiders at Comcast Sportsnet offer you five in-depth takes on five of the top Hall of Fame candidates in 2013:

Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com assess the problematic case of Barry Bonds:

Bonds was the most talented hitter I’ve ever seen. He was a savant. He predicted pitch after pitch from the dugout, leaving his teammates in amazement. Perhaps only Ted Williams had his combination of cunning, vision and confidence.

Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com talks about Roger Clemens before he was assumed to have started taking PEDs:

If you put Clemens’ before-and-after date at 1996, he had won three Cy Young Awards, an MVP and had tied Cy Young as the winningest pitcher in Red Sox history.

Patrick Mooney and Tony Andracki of CSNChicago.com take on Sammy Sosa, and take on Sosa … and continue to take on Sosa

Only seven men have hit more than the 609 home runs Sammy Sosa slammed during his big-league career. He did it with a flair for the dramatic, inside one of baseball’s cathedrals, while playing for a marquee franchise.

John Kelly of CSNHouston.com looks at Craig Biggio:

Craig Biggio is in his first year of eligibility, and in an ordinary year would be a shoe in for induction — 3,060 hits, 668 doubles, 291 home runs, 1,175 RBIs and 1,844 runs scored in a career that spanned 20 seasons, all in a Houston uniform. But this is no ordinary year.

Finally, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com gives us the candidacy of Curt Schilling:

Any look at Schilling’s candidacy has to go heavy on his postseason work: He won World Series in 2001, 2004 and 2007;  He was 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA and a .968 WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) in 19 postseason starts; He was 4-0 with a 1.37 ERA in five elimination starts. (His team won all five.); He was the MVP of the 1993 NLCS with the Phillies; He was the co-MVP of the 2001 World Series with the Diamondbacks.

That’s the overview, but where do our insiders come down on each candidate? How did they vote and, more importantly, what do these guys — who know their subjects better than anyone — think will happen tomorrow when the vote is revealed?

Do yourself a favor and take some time with these in-depth looks.  Because after tomorrow, it will all be history for another year.

MLB executive: Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling may keep him from finding work, not his arrest

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In September 2017, former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem, joining the handfuls of NFL players who had been doing the same to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Maxwell’s effort was laudable, but he got into trouble a month later when he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person.

Maxwell, 27, played sparingly for the Athletics in 2018 and then was designated for assignment at the beginning of September. He officially became a free agent on November 2 and has had trouble finding work in the month-plus since.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Maxwell fired his agent, Matt Sosnick on Thursday because he’s still jobless. According to an unnamed MLB executive Slusser spoke to, “It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest. Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”

That makes a lot of since since abusive players haven’t had too much trouble finding new work otherwise. Addison Russell, Jeurys Familia, and José Reyes, among others have either stayed with their teams or quickly found new work. Given the relatively weak catching market, had Maxwell only had the assault charge, there is no doubt he would have been signed to be a backup catcher somewhere.

In the NFL, Colin Kaepernick — who popularized kneeling during the anthem — has remained unsigned even though teams have opted to sign and start clearly inferior quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Matt Barkley, and Sam Bradford, among many others. Team owners tend to run conservative in terms of politics, so they may not like the protest to begin with, then there is the public blowback to signing such a player as those who dislike such protesting make up a slight majority in the U.S., according to various polls including one done by the Washington Post.

It’s worth noting that Maxwell has a career .240/.314/.347 triple-slash line in 412 plate appearances. We’re not talking about J.T. Realmuto or Buster Posey here. That being said, there have been 15 other catchers to have put up a lower aggregate OPS since 2016 (min. 400 PA). One of those players, Derek Norris (.600 OPS since 2016), signed a minor league contract with the Tigers just three months after being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its domestic violence policy. Makes you think.