The Baseball Hall of Fame and the Baseball Writers Association of America released the newest Hall of Fame ballot, and while the year reads “2019,” it has a distinctly 2005 flavor.
Mariano Rivera is the only lock among the new guys, but there are three other players with compelling cases, but extraneous circumstances that make them difficult to compare:
*Roy Halladay, who was going to be a litmus test of sorts for the new era of starter, what with a win total that barely eclipsed 200. His untimely death makes him his own case, since it accelerated the appreciation cycle of his career.
*Todd Helton is a .316/.414/.539 career hitter with 2,519 hits, 369 homers and more walks than strikeouts, which puts him in the neighborhood of other Hall of Famers like Jeff Bagwell. Coors Field looms over everything, and he’ll be a better test of that environment than Larry Walker, whose support has been middling more because of all the injuries.
*Andy Pettitte, who happens to be a player some writers love. Except that he was caught up in the same PED scandal as Roger Clemens, whom some writers hate. Stock up on earplugs, because the cognitive dissonance could be deafening.
Edgar Martinez gets one year to gain 4.6 percent, but voters are usually kind to those who are going to fall off the ballot and have reached 70 percent. Mike Mussina is the only other incumbent to clear 60 (63.5 percent). Whether the backlog clears is more reliant on whether feelings about Pettitte help break the remaining ice for Clemens and Barry Bonds.
- Yankees’ deal for ace James Paxton makes them even richer — Yahoo Sports
- The Yankees now have a second ace — FanGraphs
The Yankees and Mariners struck the first major trade of the winter, with James Paxton heading to New York for a package headlined by Justus Sheffield. It’s not a dynamite return for a guy with overpowering stuff, but Paxton has just two years of control left, and he’s only reached 160 innings once, so there’s a chance both sides could be underwhelmed when the dust settles.
(The fact that Paxton has never threatened 200 innings means the label for “ace” is really getting stretched thin.)
Washington needed catching help like few other teams, but if the Marlins indeed have no interest in dealing J.T. Realmuto to a divisional rival, then they were going to have to look elsewhere. Enter Kurt Suzuki, who joined Tyler Flowers in Atlanta, and also joined Flowers in reversing career trends in Atlanta. He hit .276/.341/.485 in his two seasons with the Braves.
- Will the ‘real’ Carlos Rodon show up in 2019? That’s what the White Sox think will happen — The Athletic
Carlos Rodon doesn’t have a lot of peers with his particular brand of shoulder surgery, so it’s more guesswork than normal in figuring out whether he can get all the way back after a healthy half-2018 and a full winter to recover and prepare. I like that James Fegan sneaked a Rodon question in for Scott Boras to break up what was a Bryce Harper– and Brodie Van Wagnenen-centric conference during the GM meetings.
And this just in:
Adrián Beltré is retiring.
— Levi Weaver (@ThreeTwoEephus) November 20, 2018
Like Joe Mauer, Adrian Beltre didn’t seem to have any interest playing for anybody besides his current team, so a retirement announcement this winter isn’t surprising. Unlike Mauer, Beltre is going to cruise into Cooperstown, what with 3,166 hits and one of the greatest-ever gloves at third base.
Also unlike Mauer, his on-field sense of humor will be missed.