Fred McGriff, Carlos Delgado, Jeff Kent and Roger Clemens headline the list of former Blue Jays players who are on the 2015 ballot for the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Mike Piazza is hoping the third time is the charm when it comes to his Hall of Fame candidacy. After coming up a bit short in his first two years on the ballot, Piazza is hoping that 2015 is the year that he finally breaks through into Cooperstown. Piazza’s third time on the ballot comes in a year stacked with Hall of Fame-caliber players, including a pair of players that also spent time with the Mets in Pedro Martinez and Gary Sheffield, both on the ballot for the first time.
For a second consecutive year, the National Baseball Hall of Fame player ballot, revealed today in conjunction with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, boasts an embarrassment of riches, this time for the prospective Class of 2015.
If the Orioles can’t re-sign Nick Markakis, the team’s “fallback option” is to pursue free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera, MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko reports. Markakis and the O’s looked like they were headed towards a reunion earlier this winter when the two sides were seemingly close to a four-year contract, though there hasn’t since been much progress. Cabrera posted a .301/.351/.458 slash line and a 125 wRC+ in 621 PA last season in comparison to Markakis’ .276/.342/.386 line and 106 wRC+ over 710 PA, though Cabrera’s defensive deficiencies and fewer plate appearances gave him only a slightly higher fWAR (2.6 to 2.5) than Markakis. MLBTR’s Steve Adams predicted Cabrera for a five-year, $66.25MM deal and Markakis for a four-year, $48MM deal in his Free Agent Profiles of both outfielders, so signing Cabrera would likely be a more expensive proposition for the Orioles and he’d cost them a draft pick due to the qualifying offer. If Cabrera’s market is depressed by the QO, however, it’s possible the Orioles could try to sign him for a relative bargain, as they did last winter with Ubaldo Jimenez and Nelson Cruz. The White Sox and Mariners have also shown interest in Cabrera this offseason, with the Royals more loosely linked to the outfielder. The door also hasn’t fully closed on Cabrera re-signing with the Blue Jays, depending on how his market plays out
Most Rangers players struggled or were injured in Texas’ disastrous 2014 season, and first baseman Mitch Moreland was no exception. The lefty hit .246/.297/.347 in 184 plate appearances through early June, then had ankle surgery and missed the rest of the year. Now, he’s heading into his second season of arbitration eligibility with a projected $2.8MM salary on the horizon. Moreland is now 29 and is on the fringes, at best, as a starting first baseman. Since a partial season as a rookie in 2010, he hasn’t posted an OPS+ above 106 or an OBP above .321, and as a slightly above average defensive first baseman or below average corner outfielder, he doesn’t provide much value with the glove. Even before his injury, he might have been an acceptable choice as a starter only for a team like Texas that had plenty of stars elsewhere in its lineup. One of those stars is Prince Fielder, who should return from his own injury to take over first base in Texas next year
There’s still a chance the Blue Jays could re-sign Melky Cabrera, Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star writes. GM Alex Anthopoulos is prepared to wait until Cabrera has a sense of what’s available to him in free agency, and if Cabrera doesn’t find an offer to his liking, he could return to the Jays, possibly on a four- or five-year contract. Here are more notes from around the big leagues. Russell Martin signed with the Jays, but the Cubs were key bidders, the catcher’s agent tells Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago. “There were times throughout the process where it was Toronto and the Cubs, 1 and 2,” says Matt Colleran. “One day the Cubs [were] going a little ahead, and the next Toronto was ahead. When we got into the [last] weekend the dollars started to come into play, and Toronto was just super aggressive with their approach.” The day before Martin and the Blue Jays agreed to terms, the Cubs reportedly were the front-runners to sign him. The Diamondbacks recently began interviews for their open scouting director position, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports.
Hanley Ramirez will go to Boston on Monday to finalize a deal with the Red Sox in the five-year, $90MM range, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter links). Reports emerged this afternoon indicating that the Red Sox were in hot pursuit of Ramirez. As Rosenthal wrote earlier today, the Red Sox‘ endgame with Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval is unclear. It’s possible they want Ramirez to play shortstop, but they already have Xander Bogaerts, who has upside and is a far superior defender. If they want Ramirez to play third, it’s unclear what will come of their outstanding offer to Sandoval (which reportedly was for a similar total of five years and $95MM). They could also try Ramirez at outfield, although he has limited experience there, and the Red Sox have plenty of outfielders. As the previous paragraph suggests, however, there are big questions about Ramirez’s defense, particularly at shortstop
For a second consecutive year, the National Baseball Hall of Fame player ballot to be released today, in conjunction with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, boasts an embarrassment of riches, this time for the prospective Class of 2015.
In honor of Jackie Robinson’s enrollment 75 years ago, UCLA retired No. 42 in all its sports and renamed its athletic facilities the “Jackie Robinson Athletics and Recreation Complex.”
MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince names the ten players most likely to be traded this offseason and the Braves’ Justin Upton tops the list. Castrovince feels the Braves could obtain a similar, if not better, return than they received for Jason Heyward because of Upton’s powerful bat has tremendous value. Here are the latest notes from around baseball: Miguel Montero placed tenth on Castrovince’s list and Buster Olney of ESPN.com (on Twitter) wonders if the hiring of Henry Blanco will create traction for the Cubs‘ interest in the Diamondbacks’ catcher, who was a Blanco pupil in 2014. The D’Backs have reportedly spoken with the Cubs, Dodgers, and White Sox about Montero. With Jose Molina gone, the Rays are working to add a backup to Ryan Hanigan, either via trade or signing. They’d like a catcher with more experience than Curt Casali and, preferably, options, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. More from Topkin who reports, in addition to an expected trade of Matt Joyce and/or David DeJesus, the Rays may be looking to deal from depth in reserve infielders and relievers