The Dodgers inked Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero to a four-year, $28 million contract in October and intend to give him a shot at the starting second base job in the spring, which means that Mark Ellis will likely be playing elsewhere next season. Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star speculates that his next stop could be with the Royals.
Emilio Bonifacio came on strong after he was acquired from the Blue Jays late in the year, but the Royals apparently aren’t convinced that he’s the answer at second base. Ellis has declined offensively since his days with the Athletics, but he still does enough on defense to have value. The Dodgers declined a $5.75 million club option on the 36-year-old after he batted .270/.323/.351 with six home runs and 48 RBI over 126 games this past season.
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.