Nobody elected into the Hall of Fame
Tuesday we finally got the results of Hall of Fame voting, and the only player that seemed to have a real chance was Curt Schilling, who of course had plenty of controversies since his retirement — most recently defending the rioters who stormed the Capitol earlier this month — and those ended up being enough to just barely keep him out of Cooperstown. Nobody got into the Hall this year from the BBWAA vote, with Schilling coming the closest at 71 percent. He has requested to not be on the ballot next year, which would be his final year of eligibility, though the Hall is under no obligation to take him off. They have not made a decision as of yet. You can see the full results here.
At this point, everyone has dug in on Schilling and all of the other candidates to the point where it’s really not worth the argument. I’m glad he did not get in and didn’t get the platform to give a speech that millions would watch, but I also am under no illusion I will change anyone’s mind who feels otherwise. So I’ll just say the same thing I say every year about this process. I hate it. It was never something I cared a ton about, and my enthusiasm has only continued to wane as the years have gone on. The Hall of Fame as a whole is a wonderful place that does a phenomenal job of telling the story of baseball. The room with the plaques is the worst part of the entire place.
I know many people care deeply about the institution and the voting, and for their sake I hope something is done to make it an enjoyable process again. But personally, I’m done with it and am not sure I see a way I’ll ever really care again.
But for those who do care, be ready for more capital-D Discourse on the subject next year as not only is it the final year for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens (and Schilling if he remains) but also they are joined by first-timers Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz. Should be fun!
Phillies sign J.T. Realmuto
Among the top free agents on the board this year, catcher J.T. Realmuto seemed to be the one with the least amount of buzz. Part of that, I think, was because of the grueling nature of his position and the long-term fear that brings. But more important than that seemed to be that it always felt inevitable he’d end up back in Philadelphia. It finally happened on Tuesday. Realmuto got a record-breaking deal to go back to the Phillies, signing for five years and $116 million.
The Phillies are in a tough division that is only getting tougher this winter, most notably with the Mets aggressively improving, but remember they were not all that far off last year. Yes, they did miss the playoffs in an expanded field, but that was largely due to a historically bad bullpen. Even with just a normal bad bullpen, they likely make it to October, and with an average one they may have been able to win a round or two. I wouldn’t say this deal necessarily puts them over the top in the division — at a cursory look I probably still have them third at best — but they needed Realmuto back. And they got him.
As far as the Red Sox effect here, there isn’t much. The only one that would exist is in the world that Christian Vázquez was a trade chip, as the teams who need catcher help don’t have many other places to turn. But I don’t believe a Vázquez trade is a real possibility unless some team makes a godfather offer, and I don’t see that happening.
Marcus Semien signs in Toronto
The Blue Jays are not messing around this winter. Not too long after adding George Springer to the fold, they have made another big addition to their lineup. This time it’s on the dirt, as Marcus Semien has agreed to a one-year deal worth $18 million to join the Blue Jays infield as their new second baseman.
This is a fascinating deal, and I’m pretty surprised Semien took a one-year deal. It does make sense on some level as he was an MVP finalist in 2019 before taking a big step back last year. There are good signs he can have a bounce back in 2021, and thus you can see the logic there to try and rebuild the value and get back on the market next winter, but then you look at the other factors. For one thing, as of now free agency is set to see an influx of great shortstops next winter. That’s not a great group for Semien to join. Furthermore, the CBA negotiations make next offseason a total mystery, even before considering how COVID will affect the coming season. It will be very interested to see how this decision works out for him.
But for Toronto, this is a great move and a bad one for Boston. The Blue Jays were already the clear third best team in the division before this, and they’ve only separated themselves from the Red Sox with this addition. That’s not to say Boston can’t finish higher than fourth, but the road is becoming tougher. Semien, as alluded to, has some offensive upside and will be a strong defensive player up the middle. With him in tow, the infield is likely to be, first to third, Vlad Guerrero Jr., Semien, Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio. That is an impressive group. Toronto still has pitching questions to answer, but their lineup should be among the best in the game.
A whole lot of other stuff happened too.
We’re going rapid fire the rest of the way, because there were a lot of signings on Tuesday and I don’t want to write 4000 words.
- The Twins have signed Andrelton Simmons to a one-year deal worth $10.5 million. Simmons has long been the best defensive shortstop in the game without even really a close second, but as he’s gotten older the defense has taken a hit. He can still flash the leather, but he’s more good than great now. Still, this fills a hole in Minnesota’s infield as they look to stay near or at the top of their division.
- The Giants are expected to sign Tommy La Stella, who had previously played across the Bay in Oakland. Jeff Passan reports it will be a three-year deal. I like La Stella the player, and he provides a much-needed left-handed bat for the Giants lineup as they try to do the respectable rebuild thing that the Red Sox appear to be going for as well. That said, I was a little surprised to see three years here.
- It was an infielder kind of day, I suppose. The Indians joined in on the fun (well, they actually started the fun since this signing was first) by bringing back César Hernández for a one-year deal worth $5 million. Hernández was my preferred cheap option for Boston at this position, and while I certainly am not upset about Enrique Hernández, particularly given his versatility, there’s something to be said about César’s steady average-ish offense, good defense and durability.
- The Orioles traded José Iglesias earlier this winter, and they have replaced him with Freddy Galvis on a one-year deal. The Orioles aren’t particularly interested in winning baseball games so his shortcomings on offense aren’t as big of a deal, but he plays well up the middle and with a young pitching staff in Baltimore that is not a skill to take lightly.
- Wilson Ramos agreed to a one-year deal with the Tigers. Like the Orioles, Detroit is in the midst of a long rebuild, and this provides some veteran offense who can play behind the plate as well. He should be in the middle of their lineup this year.