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Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols Lead B/R’s All-HOF Team in MLB Today

After Wednesday's announcement of the 2017 Hall of Fame inductees, most of the talk is about Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, performance-enhancing drugs and the like. I wrote something on the subject if you're not sick of it yet. Here's another interesting question, though: Which current MLB players would make the Hall if their careers ended today? Who, in other words, has already stacked up the statistics, awards and intangibles to punch a ticket to Cooperstown? It's not a scientific exercise, obviously. Voting members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America have a proven ability to confound. Mike Piazza waited four years to get in, to cite one example, while Ivan Rodriguez slipped through on the first ballot. Two all-time great catchers, both from the steroid era with suspicion but no hard proof of illicit chemical enhancement, two different results. There are cases like that throughout the Hall's history, including many that aren't clouded by PEDs and some ...




MLB Offseason: 10 Moves That Already Should Have Happened

Full disclosure: When I began working on this story, one of the sections was titled, "Colorado Rockies: Sign Mark Trumbo." It made sense. The Rockies were an ideal fit for Trumbo, who could have easily surpassed 40 home runs playing first base at Coors Field and allowed Ian Desmond to slot into the outfield mix. Instead, the Baltimore Orioles swooped in and signed Trumbo for three years and $37.5 million, per FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman. It's a cautionary tale: Pull the trigger, or someone else will. Here are 10 more deals that remain unconsummated as of this writing but should have already happened because of need, compatibility and the waning nature of the offseason. Tap the late-winter clay off your cleats and proceed when ready.Begin Slideshow




Softening PED Stance in 2017 Hall of Fame Vote Bodes Well for Bonds, Clemens

Brace yourselves, steroid hard-liners: Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are going to the Hall of Fame. Not this year. According to results released Wednesday by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Bonds got 238 votes, or 53.9 percent, and Clemens got 239, or 54.1 percent. (As a side note, anyone who voted for Clemens but not Bonds or vice versa should have their voting privileges immediately revoked.) The threshold for induction is 75 percent, a bar that was cleared by three players: Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez. We can glean two things from this. First, Bonds and Clemens are gaining momentum. Their vote totals have trended northward each year. Now, in year five, they've edged over 50 percent for the first time. That could be due to the shifting demographics of the BBWAA voting block. It could also be the enshrinement of former MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, who oversaw the steroid era and was ...




Giants Spring Training 2017 Preview: Predictions, Players to Watch and More

For the first time since the waning days of the George W. Bush administration, the San Francisco Giants didn't win the World Series in an even year. Now, as we prepare to inaugurate President Donald J. Trump, San Francisco will look to usher in an era of odd-year dominance.  First, they've got spring training issues to sort out, including position battles in left field, at third base and the back end of the rotation, where a former franchise cornerstone is trying to resuscitate his career. Limber up your commenting muscles and dig in when ready.Begin Slideshow




Dodgers Spring Training 2017 Preview: Predictions, Players to Watch and More

The Los Angeles Dodgers need a second baseman. You know this. They know this. Your great-aunt Meredith who doesn't follow baseball knows this. Yet as I type these words, Enrique Hernandez and his .190/.283/.324 2016 slash line sit atop L.A.'s second base depth chart. For a team with the game's gaudiest payroll and legitimate World Series aspirations, that's a bad look. Let's assume the Dodgers brass is working hard to address the club's keystone deficiency and examine some other interesting storylines heading into spring training. (Because it's almost here—hooray!) Dodgers camp will feature crowded position battles in the outfield and at the back end of the rotation, a hyper-talented Cuban still looking to find his footing and the reigning National League Rookie of the Year ramping up for a potential MVP encore. Break out your fungo bat and step into the box when ready.Begin Slideshow




Yankees Spring Training 2017 Preview: Predictions, Players to Watch and More

Pitchers and catchers with a predilection for pre-planning (say that five times fast) have already begun packing their bags for Florida and Arizona. Spring training is almost here, people, and not a moment too soon. As we prepare for the glory of fresh-cut grass and exhibition baseball, let's zoom a lens on the New York Yankees. The Yanks, as you're no doubt aware, are in the midst of a youth movement and will balance their budding rebuild with an annual mandate to compete.  New York's camp will feature a handful of intriguing position battles, a rising star behind the dish looking to avoid a sophomore slump and talented youngsters hoping to break through all over the roster. Stretch out those hammies, do a little long toss and proceed when ready.Begin Slideshow




Cubs in Prime Position to Use Checkbook to Magnify Future Dominance

The rich get richer. The good get better. It doesn't always work that way, but sometimes it does. Just ask the Chicago Cubs. One year after winning their first World Series since the debut of the Model T Ford, the Cubs are positioned for another deep postseason run. Their potent lineup remains intact. They expect a full, healthy season from Kyle Schwarber. They plugged the hole in the back of their bullpen by acquiring closer Wade Davis and signing veteran setup man Koji Uehara. FanGraphs projects a 95-67 record for Chicago in 2017, but that feels more like the Cubs' floor than their ceiling. That's this year. But here's a blood-curdling thought for MLB's other 29 franchises: The Cubs are positioned to get even better in the near future. I'm not just talking about the growth of the club's young core, though that's part of it. Kris Bryant (age 25), Javier Baez (age 24), Schwarber (age ...




Wil Myers’ 6-Year Extension Cements Franchise Cornerstone for Padres’ New Era

When the San Diego Padres acquired Wil Myers in December 2014, he was a talented, injury-prone enigma. Two years and change later, he has a chance to be a franchise cornerstone. On Friday, Myers and the Padres agreed to a six-year extension worth "more than $80 million," per Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.  The deal buys out three of Myers' arbitration years and three years of potential free agency and keeps him in San Diego through his 31st birthday. Essentially, the Friars just went all-in on Myers' prime. If you're in a pessimistic mood, Myers has flaws. We'll highlight them shortly. The Padres, however, haven't had a winning season since 2010, haven't tasted the postseason since 2006 and have defined dysfunction under general manager A.J. Preller.  Let's start with the positive. Myers enjoyed his best big league season in 2016, hitting 28 home runs with 28 stolen bases and 94 RBI. He made his first National ...




2017-18 MLB Free Agents: An Early Look at Next Winter’s Best Available Players

The 2016-17 MLB free-agent class was projected to be a dud, and it hasn't disappointed. Or, rather, it has. A couple of significant sluggers—Yoenis Cespedes and Edwin Encarnacion—have inked major deals, but far more power hitters remain unsigned as the calendar churns toward mid-January.  What about free-agent pitchers? Fuhgeddaboudit.  As we warm our hands by the waning coals of this tepid hot stove and eagerly await actual baseball action, why not gaze ahead to the 2017-18 offseason? It's not as loaded as the mythical 2018-19 class, but it's a more star-studded group than this year's, featuring ace-level arms and All-Star-caliber players at premium positions. We're going to focus on players who are guaranteed to hit the market unless they sign an extension, so guys with opt-out clauses or team options aren't being counted (if they were, Johnny Cueto and Andrew McCutchen would be among the possible additions). Tap the mud off your spikes and proceed when ready.Begin ...




Predicting New York Mets Depth Charts a Month Ahead of Spring Training

"Depth" is a loaded word for the New York Mets. The Mets won the National League pennant in 2015 on the strength of their stacked, young starting rotation. Last season, the same group was beset by injuries, and it is a question mark going into 2017. New York is also dealing with a glut of corner outfielders and uncertainty in center field, and it is likely to lose its closer for a significant stretch due to a domestic violence suspension. Injury issues lurk in the infield as well. All that said, this is a talented roster fully capable of competing for an NL East title and making another deep postseason run. As we slog through the final month before pitchers and catchers report to spring training, let's run down the Mets' depth chart, with the obvious caveat that further trades or signings will change the calculus. We'll also take a look at some players ...




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