Must-Click Link: Joe Posnanski’s Hall of Fame ballot and column

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Our Joe Posnanski has revealed his Hall of Fame ballot. More importantly, he has written a few thousand intelligent, entertaining and thoughtful words about it all that, in a season of hyperbole and rancor, illuminates the entire Hall of Fame debate in the warm bathing glow of reason.

And baseball. About which a lot of people, I have found, have forgotten is the most important part of all of this.

And I don’t say this is illuminating and reasonable because I agree with Joe’s conclusions. Indeed, his ballot and my imaginary ballot are not the same. In fact, Joe leaves off a guy most people with a brain tend to vote for and does not do so for strategic reasons. Actually, his reason for leaving this guy off — a guy for whom he has voted in the past — is kind of radical in this day and age: he decided to chuck precedent and, audaciously, vote for the ten best players.

Another reason to read Joe’s column? It’s a nice antidote to the Star Chamber baloney we see so much of this time of year. Joe does not avoid the PED issue. He does not try to explain it away or make apologies for it either. He treats it, again, rather audaciously, as a fact that is within the comprehension of a mature adult and does his best to assess it and place it within the historical record. Which isn’t really audacious, I guess, but compared to the baby-man tantrums and third-grade level analysis of so many Hall of Fame voters, it does seem rather transgressive.

Pay particular attention to the Jeff Bagwell section. And ask yourself why so many other people have decided to make this all so hard.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.