MLB Trade Ideas Based on Offseason Week 12 News, Rumors and Speculation

The bulk of the action we’ll see this offseason on the MLB trade market is likely already in the rearview.

That doesn’t mean there’s not still time for another blockbuster deal to be pulled off between now and the start of spring training, though.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are still searching for a second baseman, the Houston Astros are still shopping for a front-line starter and a number of teams continue to test the waters for Chicago White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana.

Meanwhile, the Texas Rangers could suddenly be in the market for an impact bullpen arm after losing one of their key relievers for a good chunk of the upcoming season.

As we come down the homestretch of another MLB offseason, here’s a quick look at a few potential trade ideas, based on the latest rumblings on the rumor mill and some healthy speculation.

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How Yankees Must Handle Impossible Masahiro Tanaka Decision in 2017

When it comes to opt-out clauses, the New York Yankees tend to opt in.

They aren’t always happy about it. They don’t always do it right away. But when Alex Rodriguez opted out of his deal during the 2007 World Series, the Yankees turned around and gave him a bigger contract they would come to regret.

When CC Sabathia was ready to opt out of his contract four years later, the Yankees added what amounted to two years and $50 million, another deal they wouldn‘t mind having back.

So now we come to Masahiro Tanaka. As every Yankees fan knows, he’s the closest to a sure thing they have in their 2017 rotation. And as every Yankees fan knows by now, he can opt out of his contract when the 2017 season ends.

There’s no way the Yankees can make this work in their favor. If Tanaka has a great year, he obviously opts out of the final three years and $67 million of what was originally a seven-year, $155 million contract. Then the Yankees pay him market value—more than his current $22 million a year, and more years—or someone else does.

If Tanaka has a decent year and stays healthy, he still almost certainly opts out. Or threatens to, with the Yankees extending his contract.

Or maybe Tanaka gets hurt. He made 31 starts in 2016, but he is still pitching with a slight tear in the UCL in his right elbow. It could tear further, requiring Tommy John surgery. He could suffer a different injury. Either way, he sticks with his current contract, and the Yankees are stuck paying him.

The Yankees obviously know all this. They knew it when they agreed to Tanaka‘s original contract. Three years into the deal, they were either going to pay more to keep him or he wasn‘t going to be worth what they were paying him.

There was no way that could work in their favor. But opt-outs are part of getting big contracts done—David Price and Clayton Kershaw have them too—and the only way around them is to offer even more guaranteed money.

The problem for the Yankees is they’re short on dependable starting pitching. They likely need to shop in the starting pitching market next winter even if Tanaka stays.

Behind Tanaka, they have only Sabathia (who’s old) and Michael Pineda (who’s unreliable). Both of their contracts expire after 2017 (which isn‘t necessarily a bad thing).

Behind them, the guy with the most career major league starts on the Yankees roster is Luis Severino with 22. They’re not even sure he should be a starter.

The guy with the next most career starts is Adam Warren with 21. They don’t want him to be a starting pitcher.

You get the picture, and you get why the Yankees would rather not think about Tanaka leaving.

So why not just eliminate the risk and renegotiate his contract now? Why did general manager Brian Cashman tell reporters the Yankees have no plans to do that?

Simple. Even though a new contract eliminates the risk of Tanaka‘s walking away, it adds the risk of getting stuck with an even bigger contract the Yankees don’t want.

Remember the $21 million they’re still paying A-Rod in 2017. Remember the $25 million they have committed to a 36-year-old Sabathia.

When Sabathia was ready to opt out in November 2011, he was 31 years old and had just finished fourth in the American League Cy Young Award vote. The new contract wasn‘t ideal, but Sabathia had averaged 235 innings over his first three seasons as a Yankee. He seemed like a decent risk.

Tanaka will be two years younger when he reaches his opt-out date, but he has yet to finish higher than seventh in Cy Young voting. He has yet to pitch 200 innings in a major league season (he did it in Japan). He has pitched significantly better when he gets an extra day of rest, complicating how the Yankees set up their rotation. And he has that ligament tear.

He’s not an ideal candidate for a long, expensive contract. But maybe he doesn‘t need to be. Rich Hill, who is 36 and was hurt so much that he only made 20 regular-season starts in 2016, got a three-year, $48 million deal from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Starting pitching is expensive, and it’s only getting more expensive. The Yankees know that, and so does Tanaka.

They’ll take their chances and hope he pitches well enough to lift them into contention in the American League East this year. If it costs them more money and a contract they don’t love, so be it.

They have little choice at this point.

That opt-out clause is going to work out well for him, one way or another. It won’t work out as well for the Yankees.

Opt-out clauses rarely do.


Danny Knobler covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report.

Follow Danny on Twitter and talk baseball.

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Curt Schilling Argues with Fake Sidney Ponson on Twitter After Hall of Fame Vote

Jeff Bagwell, Ivan Rodriguez and Tim Raines were all inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday, but former MLB ace Curt Schilling missed the cut, per

He took out some of his frustrations in an argument with a fake Twitter account for former pitcher Sidney Ponson (warning: NSFW):

Mike Oz of Yahoo Sports captured the entire conversation (warning: NSFW):


Players need 75 percent of the votes to be inducted, and Schilling received just 45 percent.

Buster Olney of ESPN The Magazine noted Schilling’s percentage of votes “collapsed from 52.3 [in 2016] to 45.”

From 1988 to 2007, Schilling played for the Baltimore Orioles, Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox. He was a six-time All-Star, won three World Series championships (including one that broke the fabled “Curse of the Bambino” in 2004 with the Red Sox) and posted a sparkling career playoff ERA of 2.23.

However, Jorge L. Ortiz of USA Today argued that Schilling’s failure to win a Cy Young Award “takes some luster off his candidacy.” Ortiz also described Schilling’s win total of 216 as “a remarkably low number for such an accomplished pitcher over a 20-year career,” although the win-loss record of a pitcher is an imperfect way to judge his ability at best.

Still, Schilling’s Hall of Fame candidacy was about more than his on-field achievements.

Chris Cwik of Yahoo Sports’ Big League Stew said “Schilling’s case for enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame no longer has to do with his arm, it has to do with his mouth.”

Wednesday’s argument won’t help Schilling’s reputation, but Cwik mentioned a number of more serious incidents that hurt the pitcher’s cause.

He noted Schilling was fired from ESPN for posting an anti-transgender meme, was suspended by the company for comparing Muslim extremists to Nazis and said presidential candidate Hillary Clinton should “be buried under a jail” in an interview with 610 Sports in Kansas City.

Schilling also shared an image of a shirt suggesting journalists should be lynched and said “so much awesome here,” as ESPN’s Bill Barnwell passed along (warning: NSFW):

Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe (h/t MSN) referenced that tweet and said he invoked the character clause in his Hall of Fame vote when he decided not to vote for Schilling. After the former pitcher commented on the shirt, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports said, “I just couldn’t respect myself and vote for him this year.” 

Rather than accepting induction into the Hall of Fame on Wednesday, Schilling found himself arguing with a fake Twitter account. Given the sentiments of some writers, he largely has himself to blame for that.

Perhaps he can take solace in the fact that Ponson isn’t in the Hall of Fame either.

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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 put in the Hall in early December by the 16-person Today’s Game Era committee.

In some cases, we know Selig tipped the scales.

“As I continued to think about this and go back and forth, the thing that sealed my vote [for Bonds and Clemens] was when Bud Selig was voted in,” BBWAA voting member Tom D’Angelo said, per Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan.

Mostly, though, it’s clear the relationship between the HOF and performance-enhancing drugs is evolving. Voters are softening. The floodgates could be about to open. 

It’s not just the increasing support for Bonds and Clemens, whose Hall of Fame cases would define “open-and-shut” without the cloud of steroid suspicion. 

Look at who got in this year. Bagwell languished on the ballot for seven years, presumably because he was a big, strapping guy who compiled his stats during the steroid era and acknowledged using at-the-time legal enhancers, including androstenedione. 

Then there’s Rodriguez. Controversial steroid whistleblower Jose Canseco connected Pudge to PEDs in his book, Juiced. Rodriguez has never admitted to steroid use, but when asked if his name would appear on a list of players who tested positive for steroids in 2003, he replied, “Only God knows,” per the Associated Press (via

Not exactly a vehement denial.

Mike Piazza, another slam-dunk Hall of Fame catcher by the numbers, had to wait four years for his call to Cooperstown, despite never testing positive or appearing in any reports.

Like Bagwell, Piazza copped to using “andro,” as USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale noted. The closest thing to a banned-PED smoking gun was the fact sportswriters noticed acne on his back, however.

Now we have Pudge, against whom the circumstantial evidence is arguably stronger, slipping through with 76 percent on the first ballot. 

None of this is to say the tug of war between suspected PED users, BBWAA voters and the Hall is settled. Even when (or, fine, if) Bonds and Clemens eventually get in, there will be the matter of Manny Ramirez, who was actually suspended under MLB’s testing policy and got just 23.8 percent in his first year of eligibility.

Or what about Sammy Sosa, who clung to the bottom of the ballot with 8.6 percent? Or Mark McGwire, who has already fallen off the ballot and is now at the mercy of the veterans committee?

Baltimore Orioles reporter Rich Dubroff of floated the curious case of Rafael Palmeiro. To paraphrase Game of Thrones, Alex Rodriguez is coming. On and on it goes.

Things will get messier before they get cleaner, if they ever get cleaner. Debates will rage.

The winds are shifting, however. Whether you enjoy the breeze depends on how you view the Hall of Fame.

If you see it as a reward for good behavior and lean on the so-called character clause, this is doubtless giving you fits.

If, like me, you see the Hall as a museum where we commemorate the best players of all timefrom the cads to the upright citizensthis is long overdue.

“I don’t have any doubts that I’ll get there in time,” Bonds said of the Hall in 2015, per’s Barry M. Bloom. “I’m bothered about it, but I don’t sit here going, ‘I’m not going to make it.’ I don’t see how it stays the way it’s going. In my mind, in my head, I’m a lot more positive about it than I am negative. I think eventually they’ll do the right thing.”

Right or wrong, it’s happening. Maybe not next year, maybe not even the year after. Sometime soon, though, Bonds and Clemens will get their busts. Others will follow.

Brace yourselves.

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Jose Canseco Talks 2017 MLB Hall of Fame Results, Jeff Bagwell and Mark McGwire

The 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame class has been announced, and Jose Canseco is not happy about it.

According to Andrew Simon of, Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez all earned the minimum 75 percent of votes needed to get into Cooperstown, New York.  

Canseco took to Twitter to complain about the results:

There’s going to be more drug users in Cooperstown then The YArd at San Queintin…How the f*** is Jeff Bagwell being inducted into the Hall of Fame and Mark mcgwire’s not that is disgusting. It’s a great day for the hypocrisy of the Hall of Fame voting induct all that used Peds or induct none. How it’s not Mark McGwire Sammy Sosa Roger Clemens Rafael palmeiro not in the Hall of Fame that is a travesty. And definitely bonds should be in the Hall of Fame are you kidding me that is disgusting. [sic]

The Hall of Fame induction debate centers around the use of performance-enhancing drugs, which Canseco knows all about. He is an admitted user and the author of Juiced, a tell-all book about illegal drugs in baseball.

His biggest argument seems to surround his former Oakland Athletics teammate Mark McGwire. In 2010, he confirmed he used steroids during his career. While the slugger did have 583 home runs, 12 All-Star appearances and an American League Rookie of the Year award, he never came close to receiving the required votes for the Hall of Fame.

McGwire was on the ballot for 10 years and never topped 25 percent of the vote, ending with 12.3 percent in his final chance last year.

Suspected PED users Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds are still ballot-eligible, with each earning over 50 percent of the vote this time around.

Canseco alleges that Bagwell was also involved in illegal activity, although the Houston Astros star has denied it.

Although we might never know everyone who used PEDs during their careers, it seems the Hall of Fame voters have drawn a line in the sand when it comes to certain players.

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Breaking Down the 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame Class and Biggest Snubs

For a lucky few, today’s the day Cooperstown called to say, “Welcome.”

For everyone else: “Thanks for playing.”

The Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2017 was finally announced Wednesday. To nobody’s surprise, this is the fourth straight year that the Baseball Writers Association of America voters selected multiple players for induction.


With not a moment to lose, let’s get to breaking down the newest members of Cooperstown and all the notables who missed the cut.


The 2017 Hall of Fame Class

Jeff Bagwell

Jeff Bagwell earned 71.6 percent of the vote in his sixth year on the ballot in 2016, putting him just shy of the requisite 75 percent. In his seventh year, he’s finally in with 86.2 percent.

It’s about time. Jay Jaffe’s Jaffe WAR Score System (JAWS), which is convenient for measuring players against their Cooperstown peers, rates Bagwell as the sixth-best first baseman in history, behind only Albert Pujols and four current Hall of Famers.

That’s quite a testament to what Bagwell did in his 15 seasons with the Houston Astros. He put up a 149 OPS+ (meaning his OPS was 49 points better than average) with 449 home runs and 202 stolen bases, making him the only first baseman ever with over 400 homers and 200 steals.

Previously holding Bagwell back has been the suspicion that he owed his career to performance-enhancing drugs. He was a muscly slugger playing in the 1990s and early 2000s, after all.

But as Jaffe covered at Sports Illustrated, Bagwell is only known to have taken androstenedione. It looks bad that Mark McGwire made the stuff famous as he was binging on home runs in the late 1990s, but at the time andro was legal both under U.S. law and MLB law.

Evidently, that’s no reason to keep Bagwell out of Cooperstown forever.


Tim Raines

With this being his 10th and final year on the ballot, it was do-or-die time for Tim Raines. The voters landed on “do,” boosting Raines from 69.8 percent in 2016 to 86.0 percent this year.

Raines also makes the JAWS cut as an all-time great left fielder. What stands out from a career that spanned 23 years is Raines’ 1981-1992 peak, when he averaged a 128 OPS+ and 60 stolen bases.

Of course, no justification for the longtime Montreal Expos star would be complete without words from loyal (and occasionally threatening) Raines fanboy Jonah Keri.

Writing at, among Keri’s points for Raines were that he’s the only member of the 800-steal club who wasn’t already in the Hall of Fame and that his 3,977 times on base is more than a handful of Hall of Famers, including famed hitting guru Tony Gwynn.

That’s a Hall of Famer, folks. Today, it’s finally official.


Ivan Rodriguez

If there’s a surprise member of this year’s Hall of Fame class, it’s this guy.

Although Ivan Rodriguez initially showed well in the ballots tracked by Ryan Thibodaux on Twitter, his share of the vote began to dip as more ballots came in. That was likely related to questions about Rodriguez and PEDs, which were well covered by Tyler Kepner at the New York Times.

However, Pudge’s track record won out in the end. And rightfully so, as JAWS rates him as the third-best catcher in baseball history.

Pudge also passes the traditional smell test. Among other things he collected in a 21-year career, the longtime Texas Rangers star owns 311 career home runs and a career caught-stealing rate of 46 percent.

Rodriguez won the American League MVP when he was at the height of his powers in 1999. A few years later in 2003, he won the World Series with the Florida Marlins.

And now, he can add a Hall of Fame plaque to his collection.


The Biggest Snubs

Trevor Hoffman

Trevor Hoffman debuted with 67.3 percent of the vote last year. This year, he just missed with 74.0 percent of the vote.

The longtime San Diego Padres closer ranks behind only Mariano Rivera with 601 career saves. He owes those to longevity and consistency, as he put up a 141 ERA+ (i.e. his ERA was 41 percent better than average) in an 18-year career.

That’s to say there are good reasons why he’s so close to being inducted. Come next year, he should be more than just close.


Vladimir Guerrero

After Rodriguez, Vladimir Guerrero was the first-timer with the best shot of getting inducted this year. But it’s not surprising that he fell short with 71.7 percent, as Thibodaux’s tracker made no guarantees:

Guerrero’s shortage of support can partially be traced to his iffy sabermetrics. JAWS doesn’t rate him as a Cooperstown-level right fielder, which reflects assorted flaws he had in his game.

Still, working in Guerrero’s favor is his seemingly complete lack of PED suspicion and his strong traditional stats. It’ll be hard to deny a guy with a .318 average, 449 home runs and 181 stolen bases.

Plus, what won’t soon be forgotten is Guerrero’s limitless plate coverage and an arm that could do this:


Barry Bonds

Barry Bonds took a big leap toward induction in his fifth year on the ballot, improving to 53.8 percent from from 44.3 percent in 2016.

This looks like the upshot of Bud Selig being put in Cooperstown. The logic goes: If the commissioner of the steroid era is fair game for the Hall of Fame, then why not the best player of the steroid era?

Bonds put up a 182 OPS+ and clubbed a record 762 home runs in a career that spanned from 1986 to 2007, peaking with a record 73 in 2001. He also won seven MVPs, including four in a row at the height of his powers between 2001 and 2004. On performance alone, he’s an all-time great player who had an all-time great peak.

In past years, the role of PEDs in Bonds’ career was a firm barrier between him and Cooperstown. Now, clearly less so.


Roger Clemens

As per usual, Roger Clemens is right there with Bonds in the voting. In what’s also his fifth year on the ballot, he improved to 54.1 percent from 45.2 percent in 2016.

In 24 seasons between 1984 and 2007, The Rocket put up a 143 ERA+ with 4,672 strikeouts and won a record seven Cy Young awards. Despite his own ties to PEDs, Clemens certainly looms large among the game’s most accomplished pitchers.

Basically, Clemens was to pitching what Bonds was to hitting during virtually the same time span. And now that Selig is in the Hall of Fame, any logic that benefits Bonds must also benefit Clemens.


Edgar Martinez

Edgar Martinez is running out of time on the ballot, so it’s a good sign for him that his share of the vote just shot from 43.4 percent in his seventh year to 58.6 percent in his eighth year.

The knock against the longtime Seattle Mariners great is that he spent most of his career as a designated hitter. But like it or not, the DH has been a position for 40 years. And with a .312/.418/.515 career slash line and a 147 career OPS+, Martinez is the best full-time DH baseball has known.


Mike Mussina

Mike Mussina also picked up some votes, going from 43.0 percent in his third year to 51.8 percent in his fourth year.

Mussina’s sin is that he didn’t make it easy for anyone to rant and/or rave about him during his 18-year career. He was never the best pitcher around. Nor the most entertaining.

However, Mussina was very good over a very large sample size with a 123 ERA+ in 3,562.2 innings. Per JAWS, he makes the Cooperstown cut among starting pitchers.


Curt Schilling

In his fifth year on the ballot, Curt Schilling actually declined to 45.0 percent from 52.3 percent in 2016.

From an on-the-field perspective, Schilling’s case didn’t get any worse. He still owns a 127 ERA+ in 3,261 regular-season innings, as well as a 2.23 postseason ERA that helped him win three rings.

Rather, this appears to be Schilling’s penance for emerging as a purveyor of—ahem—controversial talking points. Some see him as being in conflict with Cooperstown’s character clause.

“[Schilling] represents the antithesis of the character clause that the Hall and BBWAA continue to instruct voters to honor,” wrote Dejan Kovacevic at “I’m not even going to dignify his many actions and statements with a listing or a link. Find them yourself. He’s not worth it.”

Schilling’s decline in the voting could prove to only be temporary. But that may be up to him.


Other Notable Snubs

Manny Ramirez

With a career 154 OPS+ and 555 home runs, Manny Ramirez owns the biggest numbers of the first-timers on the ballot.

However, he also owns three positive tests for PEDs: one inconsequential test in 2003 and two that got him busted in 2009 and 2011. Because he broke legitimate rules with the latter two, it’s no wonder he got the Rafael Palmeiro treatment with 23.8 percent of the vote.


Gary Sheffield

Now three years into his time on the ballot, Gary Sheffield is still struggling to find upward mobility. He got just 13.3 percent of the vote, a modest increase on last year’s 11.6 percent.

Sheffield’s 140 OPS+ and 509 home runs are numbers worthy of Cooperstown. But his chances are complicated by a questionable defensive reputation and even more so by ties to PEDs that are less murky than most.


Larry Walker

Paul Swydan of FanGraphs had an interesting article that urged voters checking the box for Guerrero to also check the box for Larry Walker. He may not have been as flashy a player, but his 141 OPS+ across a 17-year career is just one thing that must be taken seriously.

Seven years on, however, Walker is still struggling to expand his constituency. He improved to just 21.9 percent of the vote from 15.5 percent last year.


Jeff Kent

Jeff Kent is also stuck with a small group of supporters. He debuted with 15.2 percent in 2014 and has improved to just 16.7 percent in three years since.

Kent’s claim to fame is that a record 351 of his 377 home runs came while playing second base. He also won an MVP in 2000. Otherwise, it’s telling that he’s far off the JAWS radar for second basemen.


Fred McGriff

Fred McGriff has been on the ballot for as long as Martinez but has barely budged from the 21.5 percent he earned in his debut year back in 2010. He got just 21.7 percent this year.

In fairness, “The Crime Dog” is a Cooperstown-worthy nickname. McGriff also has a 134 OPS+ and finished just seven home runs shy of 500. But alas, JAWS isn’t crazy about him either.


Sammy Sosa

The good news is that Sammy Sosa managed to hang on with 8.6 percent of the vote. The bad news is that he’s still far, far away from the necessary 75 percent with just five years left on the ballot.

On the one hand, it’s odd to see a guy with 609 career home runs getting the cold shoulder. On the other hand, it’s fair game to question how he hit 292 of those in just a five-year span.


Billy Wagner

Also barely hanging on is Billy Wagner, who sunk to 10.2 percent from 10.5 percent in his first year on the ballot in 2016.

Some upward mobility may still be possible for the former flamethrower. The best way to see Wagner is as Hoffman with less longevity but more dominance. Among all pitchers who have ever thrown over 900 innings, he owns the best strikeout rate and the second-best ERA+.


Lee Smith

Say farewell to Lee Smith. In his 15th and final year on the ballot, he gathered just 34.2 percent of the vote to fall well short of induction.

Smith was a darn good reliever in his 18-year career, compiling a 132 ERA+ across 1,289.1 innings. But with only 478 saves and modest peripheral numbers, he lacked the goods to impress wide swaths of old-school or new-school voters.


Jorge Posada

With the low bar set at five percent of the vote, it was one and done for quite a few guys. Certainly the biggest letdown is that Jorge Posada couldn’t escape that fate in garnering just 3.8 percent of the vote.

It didn’t help that Posada was sharing a ballot with one of the greatest catchers of all time. Beyond that, there are nits to pick with his track record. JAWS reflects that.

However, anyone who argues that a catcher who hit 275 home runs and won four World Series titles deserved better has a solid case. 


Stats courtesy of and FanGraphs.


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2017 MLB Hall of Fame Results: Full List of Inductees, Comments and Reaction

Jeff Bagwell, Ivan Rodriguez and Tim Raines will take their rightful place in Cooperstown, New York, after they were announced as the three inductees for the 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame. 

Per, Bagwell received 86.2 percent of the votes, Raines got 86 percent and Rodriguez got 76 percent. Players are required to receive 75 percent for induction. 

*Previously announced by Today’s Game Era committee in December

Baseball Reference tweeted out full vote totals for players on the ballot:

Raines was the name commanding a lot of attention this year because it was his final year on the ballot. The seven-time All-Star just missed out making the Hall of Fame in 2016 with 69.8 percent of the vote. 

Jay Jaffe of Sports Illustrated made the case for Raines to be inducted into Cooperstown, notably highlighting his peak years from 1983-87:

Raines broke out the next year, the beginning of a five-year plateau (1983–87) in which he hit a cumulative .318/.406/.467 and averaged 114 runs scored, 11 homers, 71 steals, a 142 OPS+ and 6.4 WAR, never falling below 5.5 in that last category. He led the NL in steals in ’83 (a career-high 90) and ’84 (75) and ranked third or fourth among NL position players in WAR in four of those five years, finishing seventh in the other. For the period as a whole, only Wade Boggs, Henderson and Cal Ripken—all AL players and future Hall of Famers—were more valuable.

ESPN Stats & Info also helped make a case for Raines:

The only significant knock against Raines is that his career was hindered by injuries after 1987. He only appeared in more than 140 games three times from 1988 to 2002, but he still finished his career with a .294/.385/.425 slash line. 

Other than Raines himself, no one was happier to hear he earned induction than noted Montreal Expos fan Jonah Keri. The writer had this response on Twitter after the voting was announced:

“Just to know now that I’m in the [Hall of Fame], there will be a lot of proud people in Canada,” Raines said, per MLB Network PR

Bagwell‘s absence from the Hall of Fame was one of the more curious snubs. He has some offensive numbers that compare favorably to Ken Griffey Jr., per Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal:

In addition to those numbers, Bagwell was a four-time National League All-Star, 1991 NL Rookie of the Year and 1994 NL MVP. He finished his career with a .297/.408/.540 slash line, 449 home runs and 202 stolen bases. 

ESPN Stats & Info noted Bagwell‘s stolen-base total put him in rare territory among first basemen:

Rodriguez was no sure thing on his first ballot. In the past, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America has shown an unwillingness to induct players in their first year of eligibility unless they were a transcendent talent. 

In Rodriguez’s 21-year career, he was named to 14 All-Star teams and won the 1999 American League MVP. 

MLB Stat of the Day put together a strong case for Rodriguez to enter Cooperstown:

Among the players who just missed out on induction this year, Trevor Hoffman (74 percent) and Vladimir Guerrero (71.7 percent) appear likely to make it in 2018. They will be joined on the ballot by notable first-timers Chipper Jones and Jim Thome to make for a potentially interesting class. 

The Baseball Hall of Fame ceremony will take place on July 30, with Bagwell, Raines and Rodriguez being enshrined with the other immortal stars of the sport. 

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Kole Calhoun, Angels Agree to New Contract: Latest Details, Comments, Reaction

The Los Angeles Angels have rewarded outfielder Kole Calhoun after the best season of his career with a new contract extension. 

The Angels officially announced Calhoun’s extension as a three-year deal with a team option for 2020. 

Per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo, Calhoun’s deal guarantees him $26 million over the first three years with the option year valued at $14 million.

Calhoun was an eighth-round draft pick by the Angels in 2010. He made his major league debut in 2012 and appeared in just 79 games over his first two seasons. 

Calhoun’s breakout season came in 2014 when he hit .272/.325/.450 with 17 home runs in 127 games. He has appeared in 316 out of a possible 324 games over the previous two seasons, setting a new career high with a .348 on-base percentage and 4.0 FanGraphs wins above replacement in 2016.

Prior to signing a long-term extension, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Calhoun agreed to a one-year deal worth $6.35 million last Friday. His new deal with the team buys out his two remaining arbitration years after 2017 and possibly one year of free agency if the Angels exercise their option.

Everything with the Angels on the field runs through Mike Trout, who won his second American League MVP award in 2016 and has been the best player in MLB for the past five seasons, but Calhoun has turned into a key piece in their lineup. 

Calhoun trailed only Trout and Albert Pujols on the Angels in home runs and was third in on-base percentage last season. He’s a solid all-around contributor and a smart long-term investment for a franchise that needs to start taking advantage of having the best player in the sport. 

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Fantasy Baseball 2017 Cheat Sheet: Draft Tips, Rankings and Prospects to Know

Once the calendars flip to a new year, the following statement becomes true: It’s never too early to start preparing for your fantasy baseball draft.

Consider this your go-to guide for the weeks ahead. We’ll delve into the top players at every position and hit on a handful of prospects you’ll want to know about—both to include in your Opening Day lineup and those you’ll want to stash for use later in the season. For good measure, we’ll toss in a handful of draft tips as well.

These rankings are based on a standard, five-by-five mixed rotisserie league. While they’re applicable in other types of leagues, you’ll have to adjust the rankings based on the scoring system you’ll be playing under.

Let’s get started.

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MLB Power Rankings: How All 30 Teams Stack Up 1 Month from Spring Training

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, baseball fans.

Pitchers and catchers are set to begin reporting to spring training in less than a month as we come down the homestretch of another long and eventful MLB offseason.

With that said, it’s time for an updated look at how all 30 teams stack up around the league.

This will be the second time we’ve updated our power rankings since the conclusion of the regular season, with the first coming on Dec. 8 just after the winter meetings wrapped up, so here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Offseason rankings are not necessarily meant to be a prediction for the year ahead. Instead, they are a look at how teams would stack up with the rosters they have if the season started today.
  • These rankings will be updated several more times between now and the start of the 2017 campaign, so if your favorite club is lower than you’d like, there’s still time.
  • A team dropping in the rankings is not necessarily an indication that they’ve gotten worse since the last rankings, but often a case of a team below them simply pulling ahead.

Included for each team is an updated look at each club’s offseason activity and a preliminary 25-man roster.


Note: Players listed in bold on projected rosters indicate newcomers. An (R) next to a player indicates that his rookie status is intact.

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