Putting Together My Hall of Fame Ballot

Jeff Bagwell –  If there was one player on the 2011 ballot that should have been a “sure thing,” it was Bagwell.  He was a tremendous hitter with immense power who played nearly the entire prime of his career in the immensely pitcher friendly environment that was the Astrodome.  His MVP season in 1994 should go down as one of the greatest offensive performances of all time.  With a .491 wOBA (207 wRC+), 32 doubles, and 39 home runs in the 110 game strike shortened season, Bagwell absolutely owned pitching that season.  While 1994 was the only season in which Bagwell won MVP honors, he put together campaigns in 1997 and 1999 where he was certainly worthy of winning the award.  In addition to his offensive production, Bagwell was a huge asset both defensively and on the basepaths.  He finished his career with a .406 wOBA, 449 home runs, and 1529 RBI.  His 83.9 fWAR is good for fourth highest among modern era first basemen behind only Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, and Albert Pujols.… Click here to read the rest

With the Darvish drama over, what’s next for the Yankees?

Despite the hopes of many Yankee fans, there was no surprise huge bid for Yu Darvish from the Yankee brass.  Instead, to the devastation of the Blue Jay faithful (and the cult of personality surrounding GM Alex Anthopoulos) the 25 year-old ace will be swaggering on down to Texas, assuming the Rangers can meet the demands of Darvish and agent Arn Tellem.  It is likely that the Yankees knew that they would not be the favorites to land Darvish when they submitted a lower bid, but there is no doubt that they (and other teams) were waiting for the Darvish situation to resolve itself before moving on to other matters.

Now that Darvish’s negotiating rights are in the Rangers’ possession, the Yankees can proceed with their offseason plan and look to further improve the team.  There are two main orders of business remaining as I see it: adding a mid-rotation starter, and considering whether they want to enter the bidding for Cuban OF Yoenis Cespedes.  … Click here to read the rest

How The Cuddyer/Willingham Contracts Help Nick Swisher (And Potentially Hurt The Yankees)

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

Nick Swisher will head into the 2012 season on the last year of his current contract, one that has been incredibly friendly to the Yankees considering the production they have gotten since fleecing Kenny Williams trading for Swish prior to the 2009 season.  In typical Yankee fashion, they have not  discussed a new contract for Swish, instead choosing to pick up his 2011 option and then see where they are after the season.  That could end up working out well for Swish if he has a big year in 2012, but that won’t be known for months.  What is known is that two players comparable to Swish both signed new contracts this past week, essentially laying the groundwork for a starting point to Swish’s new contract.

Josh Willingham took a 3-year/$21 million deal from the Minnesota Twins to replace the departed Michael Cuddyer, who then signed a 3-year/$31.5 million deal with the Colorado Rockies. … Click here to read the rest

We shall not suffer (some) people who engage in (certain types of) cheating!

By the same token, do Harper and like minded people really care about “cheating?” Of course not. If they did, they’d be tirelessly advocating for the removal of pitchers who made a career of illegally doctoring the ball like Gaylord Perry. Of course, that’s not a direct analogy of course…pitchers who doctored the ball with illegal foreign substances had a substantially larger direct impact on the game than anyone using steroids could have! It’s cliche, to be sure, but it’s a cliche because it’s so obviously true; you can’t laugh off pitchers like Perry as “colorful” or even “crafty” for their cheating and subsequently call for the fainting couch whenever it’s suspected steroid users in question (especially since doctoring the ball was explicitly against the rules of the game while steroid usage was not). That’s as hypocritical as it gets, and there’s really no two ways about it.

Similarly, though players in the days of Mantle, Aaron, and Schmidt were popping amphetamines like I drink coffee (i.e.Click here to read the rest

Yanks play it smart on Darvish

The right decision often isn't the popular choice

It’s often said in free agency that the winner isn’t the team that lands the star player, rather the 29 teams that didn’t. It’s the nature of the system, since the top bid is typically the one that goes beyond what every other GM thinks is prudent. It’s often difficult to see this in real time amidst the hype and speculation of the free agent chase while he’s on the market, and the national media attention and celebratory press conference by the team with the winning bid. Yet we all know how few of these mega-deals work out. Once you get into 9 figures almost all of the risk falls on the team, who later often find themselves hamstrung with a player who’s no longer productive and a roster spot they can’t open up, because cutting the player loose would be too expensive. But at least MLB free agency deals in known players and agents will tell you what other teams are bidding.… Click here to read the rest