Saturday, January 07, 2006

More Hall Talk

"Is this the end of the Manny saga? I think it is for at least a while."
- Eric Bienenfeld, 1/5/06

"'If Boston is able to work out a trade with Baltimore or another team, Manny is still open to making a move,' Ramirez' agent Greg Genske said."
- AP Reports, 1/6/06


And now as I write this I see the breaking story that Miguel Tejada has told the Orioles that he no longer wants to be traded, just in on Let's see if that puts this to rest or not. Damn prima donnas with their on again off again needs.

The world's chief importer and exporter of bad corner IFs has sent Corey Koskie to the Brewers. Remember when I said Hillenbrand would be the first to go? Once again, I'm an idiot. And does anybody else wonder why these two teams coudn't have included Koskie in the deal that sent Lyle Overbay to Toronto? Or why the Brewers even want Koskie as an alternative to Bill Hall, who I think is as good if not better? Or why the Brewers don't just stop operating entirely and save everybody trips to Milwaukee? All worth thinking about.

Ok, on to our discussion of the rest of Rob Neyer's list. The "close" list includes Jeff Bagwell, Ken Griffey Jr, Alex Rodriguez, Sammy Sosa, Frank Thomas, Gary Sheffield, Mariano Rivera, Chipper Jones, Derek Jeter, Ivan Rodriguez, Jeff Kent, and Trevor Hoffman. The "still working" list includes, besides Manny, Jim Edmonds, Mike Mussina, Billy Wagner, Albert Pujols, Miguel Tejada, Vladimir Guerrero, Larry Walker, Carlos Delgado, Jim Thome, Bobby Abreu, and Lance Berkman. Some of these are obviously correctly classified I think, so I comment on the more interesting calls:

1. A-Rod and Jeter stand out on this list because they have the most left in the tank. If A-Rod had to retire today due to a sudden injury, there is no doubt in my mind that he'd get the Puckett/Koufax treatment and sail right in. But let's say he Dale Murphys himself with a sudden shift to 6 poor seasons, then I guess he's gonna be a questionable call. I don't think Jeter is even on the fence yet. This isn't an anti-Yankee bias - he's south of 2000 hits. I do think he will ultimately be in Cooperstown, but I think as of today he's more of a "still working" type.

2. Frank Thomas was great for seven seasons, from 1991-1997, and then again in 2000. That's 8 seasons, on the low end for a potential hall of famer. That means he needs the counting stats to get him in, and he isn't even close. 2136 hits, 448 homers. He'll be 38 in May. I don't think he's on the fence, I think he needs at least a mini renaissance to really be close. If his career ends the way it currently projects to, I wouldn't even think of voting for him.

3. Sammy Sosa. To me, his numbers are unquestionably good enough to let him in, and I don't see how one could argue otherwise. But, as with Palmeiro, it's the steroid question that's going to determine what will happen with him.

4. Chipper Jones was very good/great for 8 seasons. Doesn't have 2000 hits yet or 400 homers. He's young enough to amass the necessary credentials, but I don't consider him on the fence yet at all. He's clearly still working as far as I'm concerned.

5. Who'd have thought back in 2000 that we wouldn't have already locked Griffey into the hall by now? I think he's very close though, and if he retired tomorrow I'd still vote for him.

6. Bagwell and Thomas are often linked. If you don't yet know that they were born on the same day, then you probably don't read very much. Bagwell has a stronger case for the hall than Thomas though because of his image (or Thomas' poorer image), his gold glove, his 30-30 seasons, and his consistency. Still though, any player from this era will probably need 500 homers to make it, and Bags is at 449. He doesn't have to come back great, just healthy enough to pick up his counting stats a bit, and I think he's in. So I guess this qualifies him right as Neyer placed him, on the fence.

7. Edmonds and Walker are too old to be still working. Hell, Walker's retired. Neyer knows this; he has them on the outside of the hall looking in. You can argue that Neyer shouldn't even list them at all with the works in progress like Tejada and Pujols, but whatever. Either way, they're out, pretty much undebatably.

8. I agree that Thome is still working and not yet on the fence. 430 homers, 1665 hits, 1193 ribbies. He's 34 and can't afford off years at this point if he wants to get in. We'll see how healthy and effective he is in Chicago. My gut is that his credentials will ultimately fall short, but he's a likable player who has never been linked to the juice, so I'm going to pull for him.

9. Mike Mussina has 224 wins, 2400 ks, a career 3.64 ERA, has never won twenty games, and only once came in even 2nd in the Cy Young voting. He's clearly still working. With that ERA getting worse each year, I don't think he's going to make it. By the way, Mussina is listed as most similar to Dwight Gooden, Kevin Brown, and David Wells. (Does that thing give extra similarity points if players played for the same team or something?) Full disclosure - the 4th most similar pitcher is Juan Marichal, so it's not like Mussina is worlds away from enshrinees by the similarity meter. But I think it's telling when the first three are clearly not hall of famers.

I hope my dry baseball remarks are at least semi-enjoyable in the absence of jokes. This of course presumptuously assumes that my jokes are enjoyable themselves. Anyway, tomorrow I plan to start discussing some of this year's nominees as we lead up to Tuesday's announcement of the Class of 2006.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's interesting (as I pointed out to you a couple weeks ago, and you didn't think it was so interesting) that there really are very few active starting pitchers who even enter the conversation for HOF, outside of the 4 sure things, Clemens, Johnson, Madduz, and Pedro. Pedro's the only one on that list who started in the 90's, and then you have Mussina as a possibility, though in my opinion not a likely one. Maybe Pettite can get thrown in there, but I don't think he deserves it. Only Schilling's bloody sock is getting to the Hall, he isn't.

Dwight Gooden clearly not a hall of famer? Blasphemy!!!

2:09 AM  
Blogger Av said...

Speaking of Tejada, metsblog has the following headline from a few days ago: "Buzz: Could Phillies Be Thinking 3-Way?" I believe the term is menage a trois. Phillies are perverts.

11:32 PM  

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