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Derek Jeter headlines 2020 Hall of Fame ballot


The Baseball Hall of Fame has released the ballot for the 2020 induction class. There are 32 names on the ballot, 18 of whom are newcomers.

Of those newcomers, the guy at the top of the list stands a pretty decent chance of getting over the 75% vote hump needed to induction, I reckon:

Derek Jeter
Bobby Abreu
Jason Giambi
Cliff Lee
Josh Beckett
Heath Bell
Eric Chávez
Adam Dunn
Chone Figgins
Rafael Furcal
Raúl Ibañez
Paul Konerko
Carlos Peña
Brad Penny
J.J. Putz
Brian Roberts
Alfonso Soriano
José Valverde

It’s hard for me to picture anyone from that group apart from The Captain getting elected. The best non-Jeter players are Jason Giambi, whose PED associations likely doom his chances, and Cliff Lee, whose 13-season big league career had a Hall of Fame peak but not a Hall of Fame duration which will likely leave him on the outside as well. Bobby Abreu spent a very long time as the Most Underrated Player in Baseball™ which I suspect will translate to him being The Best Candidate Still on the Ballot But Who Will Never Gain Election™ for the next decade. At least once Larry Walker, Curt Schilling and the PED-associated guys fall off.

As for the rest of ’em, it’s a lot of guys who are fun to remember — and who we’ll talk about between now and the announcement of the election results in January — but who will fall short.

And now the returnees, with last year’s percentage of the vote and the number of years they’ve been on the ballot:

Curt Schilling (60.9%) 8th year
Roger Clemens (59.5%) 8th year
Barry Bonds (59.1%) 8th year
Larry Walker (54.6%) 10th year
Omar Vizquel (42.8%) 3rd year
Manny Ramírez (22.8%) 4th year
Jeff Kent (18.1%) 7th year
Scott Rolen (17.2%) 3rd year
Billy Wagner (16.7%) 5th year
Todd Helton (16.5%) 2nd year
Gary Sheffield (13.6%) 6th year
Andy Pettitte (9.9%) 2nd year
Sammy Sosa (8.5%) 8th year
Andruw Jones (7.5%) 3rd year

I and many others have argued the merits of these guys for years. My personal feelings are that Schilling, Clemens, Bonds, Walker, Ramirez, Wagner, Jones, and Sosa belong in and I have given serious thought to including Sheffield in my imaginary ballots as well. It hasn’t resulted in much.

Walker received a big boost between 2018 and 2019, going from 34.1% to 54.6%, but this is his last year on the ballot and I doubt he or any of the rest of them make it. If I had to guess it’ll just be Jeter and whoever the Veterans Committee elects in December.

The Baseball Writers Association of America will announce election results on January 21. Inductions will take place on Sunday, July 26, at 1:30 p.m. in Cooperstown.

Cubs sign Jeremy Jeffress

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The Chicago Cubs have signed reliever Jeremy Jeffress to a one-year, $850,000 deal.

While Jeffress is coming off a bad year — due mostly to hip and shoulder problems — this is a surprisingly low figure for Jeffress, who was said to have had a “sizable market” last September, with the Mets, Phillies, Reds, and Rays all rumored to be in on him. It’s also worth noting that he is just a year removed from an excellent 1.29 ERA season with the Brewers. He is reported to be eligible for $200,000 in incentives, which could bring this deal closer to what a reliever of his caliber’s going rate might be.

As for the Cubs, they haven’t been particularly active this offseason — indeed, this is their first free agent acquisition — but I suppose we should give them credit for buying low on a guy who should probably be able to help their bullpen.