You know the deal. Pretty much every person who writes about baseball on their blog has to do a post on "their ballot" for the Hall of Fame, since voting for the Hall is pretty much one of the ultimate goals of being a baseball writer.
So I'll cut through the flowery crap that usually prefaces these things (especially since I tend to get long-winded - SHOCKING I know) and get right into the ballot. There are 37 players on this year's ballot, and as I've mentioned in the past, that doesn't mean that there was only 37 players who were eligible for election. Some didn't make that cut, but we'll get to those guys later.
The post below was an excerpt from a post I was writing that would act as my "submission" for the Hall of Nearly Great project. While I wasn't actually asked to write for it, I thought Jay Buhner would be ideal for it, and I couldn't think of anyone better to write it. The Hall of Nearly Great e-book came out this past summer and is great, even without me in it - click on the link to check it out.
As for this excerpt, it got a little long and didn't flow the way I wanted the rest of my "submission" to go, but I liked it on its own and wanted to save it in some way before I edited the hell out of it. It sounds more like something you'd find in a biography than an essay. Hey - there isn't a Bone biography yet, right? Someone call my agent! Better yet, someone get me an agent!
Oh, right - the post. Enjoy.
The Yankees were Jay Campbell Buhner’s second organization. Originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates
Trades are baseball. It's one of the ways that baseball involves the fan more than (arguably) any other sport. Between salary caps, early deadlines, and roster structure, few professional sports have the trade possibilities that baseball does. Well, hockey did, but I'm starting to forget what hockey is anyway.
So often, trades are of the "veteran for prospects" variety, where one team offers some of their farm system's best players in order to get established major league players from a team that either has a surplus, or finds the upside to be too good to pass up. We got one of those last night, when the Kansas City Royals sent their #1 prospect (and potential #1 overall prospect in baseball) Wil Myers, along with pitcher Jake Odorizzi (himself a top 100 prospect) and two other minor league players to the Tampa Bay Rays for starter James Shields and Wade Davis. Shields, a year removed from an All-Star game appearance and coming in 3rd in the AL Cy Young balloting, is the obvious jewel of the deal for Kansas City, the established workhorse starter the Royals didn't have. Davis, who had been in the starting rotation for the Rays the previous two seasons, worked solely out of the bullpen for the Rays last season and had a career year, giving up only a little over six hits per nine innings pitched, while striking out over 11 per nine. Whether Kansas City plans to put Davis into the rotation or keep him in a relief role is unknown at this time.
Some time when most of the country was sleeping, the Tampa Bay Rays were trolling Craigslist for team spare parts and found this:
Starting shortstop - like new cond (Miami)
Found this in a box of stuff we picked up from up north last month. Seems to have all parts and is in working condition. Would keep but received newer model in the box as well and dont need 2. Had some markings below eyes but removed them so should be good as new.
Will be in Nashville this week if you want to pick up or else will leave on curb when we get back to Miami. FREE OBO
- Location: Miami
- it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
So now Yunel Escobar is on his way to Tampa
Evan Longoria, potential 2016-17 free agent, signed a six year, $100 million contract extension with the Tampa Bay Rays which keeps him under contract through 2022, with a team option for 2023. As with any kind of pro sports contract signing, this is news and causing some controversy surrounding the player signing the contract.
The thing is - Longoria's motives are getting questioned, but in the opposite way that most fans are used to. While most players get ripped for deserting their team and leaving for the highest possible salary (see Pujols, Albert) or for causing their own team to sign a contract they can't afford and crippling their financial flexibility (see Mauer, Joe), Longoria's contract is reasonable, around (or below) market value, and allows the team to continue on without handcuffing them too badly. Yet - he's getting dumped on.
Yesterday, Major League Baseball announced that Philadelphia Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz would be suspended for the first 25 games of the 2013 season for "testing positive for an Amphetamine in violation of Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program." According to Philly.com's Matt Gelb and Bob Brookover, the Amphetamine in question is Adderall, a prescription drug used to treat narcolepsy and more commonly attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). While there haven't been any reports as to whether or not Ruiz has been diagnosed with ADHD (or narcolepsy for that matter) and whether or not he had a legal prescription for the drug, the point is moot in the eyes of MLB, who list Adderall on their list of banned substances. Those who are prescribed Adderall by a MLB-certified doctor can apply for an exemption; since Ruiz didn't have an exemption, it doesn't matter (in MLB's eyes) whether Ruiz had a legal prescription or not (I'll get back to that later.)
The main issue I have with the discussion about Ruiz
A couple of weeks ago, Jeff Passan implied something that a lot of people have said in the past. He stated that players coming to the Yankees – most notably starting pitchers – generally fail to live up to expectations. I talked about it in an earlier post, but Passan’s point that only “three of 21” pitchers the Yankees have picked up performed better after becoming Yankees was misleading, since veterans (especially “big name” veterans) are acquired to produce at the same level as they performed previously, not better. I talk more about it here, using big words like schadenfreude.
Then I hit baseball-reference.com to see if it was true.
What follows is what I found, broken into several parts so it’s easier to digest. I started at 1975, when the Yanks signed their first free agent, some "Hunter" fellow. I figured I’d base the majority of my comparison using WAR – Wins Above Replacement – to attempt to level out things such as park factors and differences in statistical eras, although ERA+ (a statistic that gauges a player’s earned run average compared to the league average, eliminating park factors) will also be used.
I was looking for some new bedtime story material and TwitterFriend Wendy Thurm (@hangingsliders) suggested I grab something by Dan Gutman. Gutman, who I already knew from his "My Weird School" series, also wrote a series of books based on a kid using baseball cards to go back in time to the era that the card was from and to meet the player who was on the card. Since it was Black History Month, I picked up his Jackie Robinson-related story, "Jackie & Me", not really thinking about the subject matter it could potentially contain, since hey - it's a kid's book.
Gutman doesn't pull punches, though.