Hall of Fame ballot announced
Monday was the official start of Hall of Fame season, with the ballot for this year’s candidates being released. In recent years, the ballot has been defined by how crowded it’s gotten, but that should lessen a bit this year as the new class is not all that strong. The top first-year names this time around are Mark Buerhle, Tim Hudson and Torii Hunter. Buerhle is probably better than he gets credit for and is a mildly interesting case, but at the end of the day there probably aren’t any new Hall of Famers joining the ballot this year. At the very least, since we’ve decided there is a difference between first-ballot guys and non-first ballot, there certainly aren’t any first-ballot Hall of Famers joining the ballot this year.
As a result, there’s a chance no one actually gets in from this ballot. The best chance belongs to Curt Schilling, who got 70 percent of the vote last time around, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds look to improve upon their marks of 61 percent. My stance on Schilling has changed a bit in that I’d put more consideration into voting for him than I would have in the past, but mostly I just don’t care about any of this. The last decade or so of voting has totally forced me to stop caring about the plaques. The Hall of Fame as a whole is still a wonderful place, but this portion of it has just turned into a joke for me.
Braves sign Drew Smyly
A starting pitcher has come off the board, with the Braves agreeing to a one-year deal with Drew Smyly worth $11 million. Smyly, a former Ray and Tiger, was in San Francisco this past season. He didn’t get to pitch a ton for the Giants, making seven appearances with five of them being starts and totaling 26 1⁄3 innings. He impressed in those innings, pitching to a 3.42 ERA and a 2.01 FIP. The latter was largely propped up by his strikeout rate, as he set down just under 38 percent of his opponents.
Even with the surge in production this past summer, the deal came as a bit of a surprise, particularly in the context of what most of us are expecting market-wise this winter. For what it’s worth, MLB Trade Rumors and FanGraphs readers both predicted Smyly for a one-year deal worth $5 million, so he more than doubled that mark. To be fair to the southpaw, the talent has always been apparent even going back to his prospect days with the Tigers. Health has been the big issue, with Smyly topping 100 innings just three times in his career, which dates back to 2012, and never topping 175 1⁄3.
I don’t mind the idea of taking a flier on someone like Smyly, but given the number of holes the Red Sox have and the amount of money they’ll be likely to spend over the course of the winter, I’m not too upset about missing out on this one.
Mike Clevinger signs two-year deal; undergoes Tommy John
The Padres made the biggest splash at the trade deadline back in late-August when they traded for Indians starter Mike Clevinger. The righty went down with an injury shortly before their postseason run was set to begin, and now we have more news on this front. The Padres inked their righty to a two-year deal and simultaneously announced he would miss the entire 2021 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Clevinger will earn $2 million this year and $6.5 million in 2022.
This is an interesting deal as it gives the Padres a relatively cheap pitcher with star upside in 2022, and it gives Clevinger peace of mind that he won’t be non-tendered after missing the entire 2021 season. If we’re looking for a Red Sox connection here, I’d look at it in terms of the Padres contention window. Losing Clevinger obviously throws a wrench into those ideas, so they could be more active on the starting pitching market, where the Red Sox are hoping for as little competition as possible.