My HOF deliberations: Trammell

Posted By on December 23, 2011 2:17 pm

It’s time to start filling out my Hall of Fame ballot.

The guys I voted for last year, who didn’t make it, were Jeff Bagwell (explanation here), Barry Larkin, Mark McGwire and Tim Raines. I’ll start by voting for all of them again.

Some of the guys who have come closest for me in the past have been, alphabetically: Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Alan Trammell and Larry Walker. (Jack Morris and Lee Smith? I have not voted for them, and I’m perfectly comfortable with those decisions, so I don’t feel the need to revisit them. Rafael Palmeiro? I think he was an overrated compiler, far from the top at his position in his era. I also feel Dale Murphy has a decent case, but I’ve looked at him for at least five years and still not voted for him, so I’m done with him.)

So, this year I will look closely again at Edgar, McGriff, Trammell, Walker and — the only newcomer worth a sniff — Bernie Williams.

We’ll start with Trammell, since he’s been on the ballot the longest. He also seems to be the new Bert Blyleven, which is to say he’s become a “cause.” A few of my friends who I respect very much, like Scott Miller and Tracy Ringolsby, both wrote recently that they feel Trammell is one of the most underrated players on the ballot. Scott went so far as to say that Larkin should not get in unless Trammell is.

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The A’s are lining it up for ’13 and ’14

Posted By on December 22, 2011 3:27 pm

It’s pretty easy to see that the A’s are unloading players like mad. They’ve already traded their top two starting pitchers from last year, and their closer may be gone by the time I’m done typing this.

Yes, Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez and Andrew Bailey are the only A’s to be All-Stars over the past three years, and all three may be gone by New Year’s Day.

But I think this is a good thing, in the long run.

See, the only way to have a very good, affordable, team that can stay good for a few years is to have a lot of good young players all at the same place in their careers. That’s why the A’s were so good in 2000-2003, despite what Hollywood would have you believe. It’s because Hudson, Mulder, Zito, Chavez and Tejada were all young and good at the same time.

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Why the BBWAA is not inconsistent with Braun stance

Posted By on December 12, 2011 12:48 pm

A lot of you out there in the Twitterverse are killing the BBWAA today for the statement that Ryan Braun won’t lose his MVP, even if he’s suspended for a violation of baseball’s drug policy. You want to know how the same organization can hold PED users accountable when it comes to the Hall of Fame (see McGwire, Mark), but not for annual awards.

But you’re looking at it wrong.

The point is not whether PED use is right or wrong, or whether it should be considered in voting. The question is whether you can rewrite history.

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Ryan Braun needs to keep his MVP

Posted By on December 12, 2011 9:00 am

I’m sure you’ve all been waiting with baited breath to hear what I think of all this Ryan Braun stuff, so here goes…

First, I am reserving judgment on whether he’s even guilty at the moment. I know it’s easy to just assume that everyone accused is guilty, but given the fact that Braun has played his entire professional life in an era when he’s been tested, I find it at least plausible that he’s clean. Second, people who know Braun seem to be legitimately shocked. Third, MLB still hasn’t announced the suspension, which means they are still wading through the process. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s guilty or innocent at this point.

Now, what about the MVP? No way you can take it away from him. Voters voted with the best information they had at the time, and Braun won. End of story. BBWAA secretary treasurer Jack O’Connell has said as much.

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Draft spending and the talent pool

Posted By on November 23, 2011 2:40 pm

I still keep hearing people claiming that the new CBA, as it relates to the draft and international markets, is going to be bad for baseball because it’s going to reduce the talent pool. It’s a very simplistic way to look at it.

MLB spends less money on amateur athletes, so MLB gets a worse pool of athletes.

Well, it doesn’t work that way. An athlete doesn’t just choose the sport he’s going to pursue the way a person picks the station where he’s going to get gas.

The reason that athletes ultimately choose to sign to play baseball is because … they want to play baseball. We all pick careers based on our interests and abilities, not on what can get us paid the most. Otherwise we’d have a society with no teachers and no sports writers. We’d all be Major League Baseball players. I know I would be.

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Still processing the CBA, draft changes

Posted By on November 22, 2011 3:48 pm

Been hearing a lot about the impact of the new CBA. Most of the stuff seems pretty straightforward, except the draft stuff, which, depending on who you believe, is either the best thing or the worst thing ever for small-market teams. I lean toward the latter, but I’m now not sure.

Since I posted my earlier item, in which I said it was decidedly bad, I’ve actually seen the terms of the agreement, and it’s more murky. I’ve changed my opinion because I think it’s possible that the penalties for overspending, a very harsh tax and the loss of draft picks, are sufficient to also slow down spending of the high-revenue teams. In that case, maybe it acts more like a hard cap or hard slotting.

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The new CBA: Draft rules (bad), HGH (meh)

Posted By on November 22, 2011 9:51 am

First, I’d like to congratulate Major League Baseball and its players for once again peacefully resolving their labor disputes. Sure makes baseball look good compared to those fools at that other league. (What’s it called? I barely remember it. The one with the guys wearing the long shorts. Oh, never mind.)

That being said, I don’t like what they’ve done to the draft. (At the moment I’m going on what’s been reported, since the official announcement hasn’t happened yet.) As you remember, I endorsed the idea of “hard slotting” system over the summer. This is supposedly a compromise between that and the current system, but I think it’s actually worse than either.

What we’ve got, it sounds like, is a luxury-tax system, where teams get hit with a tax for spending more than a certain amount on the draft. So, what they’ve really done is increase the price of draft picks, which makes it harder for the low-revenue teams to take the best players in the draft.

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