The idea that Harold Baines is a legitimate Hall of Famer is probably the most ludicrous thing I have ever seen in my entire life as a baseball fan and seeing the names who have been inducted over the course of the last 40 years. Baines' career was comparable to the likes of Rusty Staub and Ken Singleton, two great players who no one ever seriously saw as Hall of Famers. But because Baines had four cronies on this stupid "Eras Committee" led by his former owner and manager, he got in. No disrespect to Baines personally, but the HOF now has a BIG reason why Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds have to go in.
Agree on Harold Baines. Lee Smith was long overdue to enter the Hall IMO. I always said so here. When you look back at his career numbers at the time of his retirement he was certainly deserving to be in there along with other great closers of his generation like Bruce Sutter and Rollie Fingers. I don't know much about these committees doing the voting today, but I'm glad Smith finally made it in.
The Baines election is certainly raising eyebrows around baseball. We shall see which other very good but not great players that had the clock run out long ago in terms of their eligibility will fare down the line.
Early free agent signing predictions for 2019. And it's pretty easy.
Manny Machado to the Yankees, Bryce Harper to the Dodgers.
Not sure either will get the ten year deals they seek though. But the money in the hundreds of millions will surely be there. The Dodgers cleared the deck recently to make room for a big money move. And the Dodgers are one of the very limited number of teams who are ready, willing, and able to dole out that kind of cash. And if he can't be a Yankee (Who have showed lukewarm interest) Harper's second choice would certainly be the Dodgers. Then there are the Phillies who could swoop in with a huge offer. They have the cash and have been vocal about it but haven't really spent much of it so far this winter.
The situation with Gregorious creates an opening for Machado. There is no room for Harper unless at bare minimum someone took Ellsbury's contract off our hands (the Red Sox are the only team that get life preservers from the Commissioner when it comes to finding ways to get rid of deadweight contracts, as the infamous 2012 deal with the Dodgers demonstrated).
I still feel the Yankees need another pitcher in the rotation. Last year the biggest weakness they had was that they just didn't have true ace starters who you felt would go more than five innings.
Machado has said he doesn't want to play third. He wants to go back to shortstop. If Machado is signed, the the big issue down the line when Gregorius comes back is where he will play. Gregorius is a big part of that team. But you also have to wonder how quickly he'll bounce back from injury. My take on it is that Machado would agree to play third if he wants to be a Yankee badly enough. I'm sure it was brought up during the recent contract meetings he had with Yankee brass. And given his recent activity on social media it sure seems like he wants to wear the pinstripes. The money won't be the issue, these are the Yankees after all. It's going to be the third base thing.
If Machado agrees, there's also the issue of what to do with Andujar. He's not a good fielder at third (yet) but he's still very young and has a tremendous upside. Starting with his bat. The Yankees are reluctant to move him (who can blame them) but Andujar could be the centerpiece of a deal to bring them the ace pitcher they seek. I've heard Bumgarner's name brought up a number of times but I don't think San Francisco would move him. He's very popular out there and a direct link to those Championships. But an offer including Andujar may at least make them listen.
I think that if the Yankees could somehow move Stanton's enormous contract to add Harper they'd jump at it. They'd love to have Harper's left handed power bat at Yankee Stadium square in the middle of the lineup. Making the move for Stanton has turned out to be the roadblock preventing Harper from coming to the Bronx. Because the Yankees without a doubt were his first choice. Jeter made Stanton, coming off an MVP year too enticing to pass up. What's done is done. And now here we are. Stanton is a great player, but Harper would have been the better fit. I'm sure quite a few Yankee fans would agree.
There are few people who can be embraced equally by Yankee and Met fans alike for making major impacts on both teams, but Mel Stottlemyre was part of that rare breed. A Yankee pitching legend from 1964-1974, he was the last link to the championship era (having come up during the 64 pennant race and getting three starts in the World Series) just as the team was nearing the new glory days of its history with Munson, Lyle, Nettles etc. but a torn rotator cuff at a time when it couldn't be properly treated ended his career and left him with some bitter feelings.
Mel became a pitching coach and was the Mets pitching coach under Davey Johnson helping to shape the young Dwight Gooden and others who made possible the Mets 1986 run. Then, in 1996, Mel returned to the Yankee family as Joe Torre's pitching coach to be a vital part of that great dynastic run.
In 2000, Mel was diagonsed with multiple myeloma which caused him to miss being part of the 2000 Subway Series. He fought it bravely for 18 plus years before passing away.
Congratulations, Mo. There couldn't have been a finer one to be the first ever unanimous election to the Hall of Fame.
Mike Mussina made it across the line, and ironically becomes the greatest Yankee to make the Hall of Fame who never won a championship for them. Seems strange because Mussina just *seemed* to be part of that group the way he fit in with them, and he had postseason heroics in 2001 as the winning pitcher in the Jeter flip game and then his relief work in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS, yet he never got to taste the ultimate glory.
Edgar Martinez made it his last year. Once the Veterans Committee made their very bizarre selection of Harold Baines, the case against Martinez became nonexistent. Roy Halladay I have to be honest I never thought of as a first ballot name but he is certainly worthy.
Curt Schilling went up to 61% but he should be in now. Bond and Clemens failed to get above 59% and that remains a disgrace. The 45% of writers who never tip their votes are always the ones who don't vote for him and frankly they should be more open about it because the case against keeping them out is more and more weak IMO. Especially with the looming prospect of a certain somebody from Boston coming up in a few years.
When I saw how little support Andy Pettitte was getting I was afraid he'd fall off the ballot. Ironically he got more votes from that last group of writers and stays on with 9%. I hope the case for him will become more clear in the years to come.
Next year it will be Derek's turn to see if he matches what Rivera accomplished!