Baseball Hall of Fame Class Announced

Tuesday was a very important day for those looking to be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Names such as Derek Jeter and Josh Beckett entered their first year on the ballot, while Colorado Rockies legend Larry Walker was waiting to see if he finally made it in after ten years.

The announcement came shortly after 6pm on Tuesday night. Both Derek Jeter and LarryBaseball Hall of Fame Walker will be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in July 2020.

Walker’s Long Wait into the Hall of Fame Paid Off

In what was his 10th and final year on the ballot, Rockies legend Larry Walker is finally going into the Hall of Fame. The 53 year old Canadian joins Fergie Jenkins as the second Canadian inducted into Cooperstown. Throughout his career, Walker played for the Montreal Expos, Colorado Rockies, and St Louis Cardinals. He is a 5-time All Star, 7-time Gold Glove Award winner, 3-time batting champion, and 3-time Silver Slugger Award winner. Walker has a lifetime batting average of .313, with 2,160 hits, and 383 home runs.

Walker, who wore the number 33 throughout his career, will have his number retired by the Colorado Rockies on April 19th. Like many professional athletes, Walker is superstitious of the number 3. Not only did he wear the number 33, but he was married on November 3rd at 3:33PM. Also, with his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame, he is the 333rd inductee.

The Captain Joins Other Yankee Legends in the Baseball Hall of Fame

From Babe Ruth to Mariano Rivera, many Yankee legends have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Now, Derek Jeter has joined them. After receiving 99.7% of the votes, Jeter will be inducted alongside Larry Walker in Cooperstown. It’s no surprise that Jeter got voted in. Many are surprised that he wasn’t voted in unanimously like Mariano Rivera was last year. Jeter had an amazing career as a New York Yankee. The 45 year old from New Jersey has a career batting average of .310, with 3,465 hits, 260 home runs and 1,311 RBI’s.

Jeter also was a 5-time World Series Champion, and World Series MVP in 2000. He was American League Rookie of the Year in 1996, 5-time Gold Glove winner, 5-time Silver Slugger Award winner, 2-time Hank Aaron Award winner and won the Roberto Clemente Award in 2009. The captain had his number 2 retired by the Yankees on May 14th 2017, joining the long list of retired numbers by the Yankees. He was also honored at the Yankees Monument Park. The current CEO of the Miami Marlins, Jeter continues to stay connected to the baseball world. Now, he will forever be connected to it.

Former Red Sox Players on the Ballot

After the announcement on Tuesday, many former players will have to wait another year to get the call. One of those is former Red Sox pitcher, Curt Schilling. On his 8th ballot, Schilling only received 70% of the votes, 5% shy of the necessary 75%. Other former Red Sox pitcher, Roger Clemens received 61% of the votes on his 8th ballot. Billy Wagner (5th ballot) received 31.7%, while Manny Ramirez (4th ballot) received 28.2%.

First time Red Sox players on the ballot, Brad Penny, Carlos Pena and Josh Beckett didn’t meet the required 5% to move onto the next ballot. Therefore, they are ineligible to be voted into the Hall of Fame.

The 2021 Ballot

The 2021 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot has a lot of first timer on it, including two former Red Sox players. Some notable players are Mark Buehrle, AJ Burnett, Torii Hunter, Nick Swisher and Barry Zito. Former Red Sox players Shane Victorino and Adam Laroche are also first timers on the ballot. If I were to predict who would get the call in 2021, it would be Schilling, Torii Hunter and Mark Buehrle.

While the baseball world is preparing for the 2020 season, it’s hard not to think about the Baseball Hall of Fame, and the legends who are enshrined. This year and next year’s inductions will be interesting to watch.

Ortiz Declines Ceremony in Tampa

As the regular season dwindles down, David Ortiz experiences his final stops in Major League cities. Each final go-around brings about a new ceremony for Big Papi; creative gifts and giant checks have come home with Ortiz seemingly every road trip. This Sunday, however, Ortiz chose to focus on a more serious matter in his final stop to Tropicana Field: his late friend Jose Fernández.

The baseball world was shaken Sunday morning with news of the death of one of its budding Ortiz declines ceremonyyoung stars, José Fernández of the Miami Marlins. Fernández was one of the best young pitchers in the game, winning the Rookie of the Year in 2013. His meteoric rise often drew comparisons to Pedro Martinez, Sandy Koufax, and Clayton Kershaw. The 24-year old Cuban defector had plenty of character outside of baseball, too. He was once imprisoned for trying to leave Cuba and, once he was able to leave, he saved his own mother from drowning on the voyage to America.

Fernández was killed in a boating accident around 3 AM along with two other friends. The news spread around the sports world, effecting not only the Marlins but Miami, as well as all of baseball. In the Red Sox clubhouse, no one was more likely effected than the retiring designated hitter.

Ortiz and Fernández were good friends; the young star idolized Big Papi growing up. Ortiz and Fernández’s friendship was on full display in this summer’s All-Star Game in San Diego. Fernández reportedly told him he’d “groove him” a pitch that he could hit, but instead walked him. The two exchanged laughs and Ortiz even tried to convince him to come to Boston in free agency.

Ortiz Defers The Day To Fernández

Of course Ortiz was stricken with grief as he prepared for his final game in Tampa Bay. Instead of an elaborate on-field ceremony, as has become customary, Ortiz said he’d rather accept his gifts privately, leaving the day to celebrate Fernández. To honor him, he put the initials “JF 16” on his hat. Every team held a moment of silence in memory and Ortiz got emotional in the Red Sox dugout.

As far as his gifts, Ortiz got an oil painting of his 500th home run which he hit in Tampa last September, and 34 handmade cigars. They were presented to him in the bowels of the Trop by Evan Longoria and Chris Archer of the Rays. So, say what you want about these retirement tours and David Ortiz, but he definitely let his class take over this time. For Big Papi, and so many around the MLB, Sunday was a shocking reminder of the fragility of life and he handled it in the classiest way he could have.

Kudos to you, Papi.

Will the Red Sox Pursue Jose Fernandez?

Let’s face it. The Red Sox pitching isn’t as bad as people think, but it needs work. The level of expectation placed on David Price wore him out. Price is among the league’s leaders in strikeouts and has racked up nine wins as of July 19th. His ERA over 4 and his seven losses, however, are more than people expected. Rick Porcello and Steven Wright are marching closer to becoming the team’s top two pitchers. If the Red Sox pursue Jose Fernandez, however, it would be the missing piece in the Red Sox rotation. The Red Sox Nation should pay attention to this potential move, especially since David Ortiz recently commented that this idea should become a reality.

Why Fernandez? There’s a few good reasons the Red Sox should pursue him. First, inRed Sox Pursue Jose Fernandez 3,685 starts, Miami Marlins’ pitchers have had only four games with 14 strikeouts. Fernandez, however, has pitched four games with 14 strikeouts in only 65 starts. Since his debut in 2013, Fernandez has accumulated a 33-13 win/loss record with a 2.44 ERA. Fernandez was Rookie of the Year in 2013 and is already a two-time All-Star. In four seasons, Fernandez has accumulated over 500 strikeouts. On top of all that, he’s one 23 years old. Fernandez hasn’t even entered the prime of his career yet. Put him in a rotation with Price, Porcello, Wright, and Eduardo Rodriguez, and you’d have a much stronger pitching staff.

Right now the best way for the Red Sox to pursue Fernandez is through a trade. The Red Sox minor league farm system is packed with both offensive and defensive talent. While I’d hate to see him go, Michael Kopech is a hot prospect in the Red Sox farm system. He can throw 105 MPH and has the potential to become an ace (If he can stay out of trouble). Yoan Moncada recently had his first multi-homer game with a total of seven in 21 games with AA Portland. He’s also a switch-hitter, a valuable skill any team would appreciate having. Offering both of these prospects to Miami would be a difficult deal to turn down.

Whatever happens, if the Red Sox pursue Jose Fernandez, they’d only be strengthening their own staff. Fernandez is a prime pitcher, and he’d make the team’s rotation a solid defensive powerhouse.

Yes, Ramirez Can Play First Base (For Now)

The 2016 season is still young but many in the Red Sox Nation are cautiously optimistic about Hanley Ramirez. Since moving to first base, Ramirez has shown consistency at the plate and in the field. As of April 22nd, Ramirez hasn’t committed an error. In fact, Ramirez is starting to re-establish himself as a superstar, one that fans in Boston may come to respect for years to come. So far, Ramirez can play first base!

“We have a player, I think, completely different than a year ago,” Red Sox manager FarrellRamirez can play first base told MLB.com’s Aaron Leibowitz. “He’s engaged, he’s having fun playing the game, [and] I think being back on the infield has been a big boost to that. He’s doing one heck of a job.” Ramirez had played third base and shortstop with the Miami Marlins, and Los Angeles Dodgers before signing a four-year $88 million contract with the Red Sox in November of 2014.

While Ramirez had a decent start to the 2015 season, his season went downhill after a May 4th game against the Tampa Bay Rays. In the top of the first inning, Ramirez crashed into the Green Monster trying to field a catch, spraining his left shoulder. By September, Ramirez was sporting the worst defensive rating in the league, leading then-interim manager Tory Lovullo to pull him from his outfield position (just another sign that Lovullo should replace Farrell sooner than later).

The Red Sox have been struggling recently, first against the Toronto Blue Jays, who managed to overcome setbacks in two of the four games between the two to split the series, and now with Tampa Bay, who took two wins out of three games in the series on April 21st. The Sox were held to one hit during the first of a three-game series against the Rays that started on April 19th, and lost in the 10th inning. The third game on April 21st saw Boston take an early lead before David Price gave up eight runs in 3 and 2/3 innings before Farrell yanked him from the game, which the Red Sox lost 8-5. While the Red Sox are starting to slip back into a familiar pattern from last season, one of the shining glimmers of hope the Red Sox Nation can look forward to is in Hanley Ramirez’s command of defending first base. He continues to show a strong and consistent ability to play first base, giving the Red Sox Nation something to pin their hopes on as the season progresses.

Latest on Dustin Pedroia

Amidst the Red Sox recent hot streak, one player is still conspicuously absent: de facto captain Dustin Pedroia. He’s eligible to return for this weekend’s series against the New York Yankees, but the question remains: Will he?

He was taking ground balls before Tuesday’s game against the Miami Marlins, and testingDustin Pedroia his hamstring with change-of-direction drills as well. That’s definitely a good sign, but I’m sure the Red Sox are thinking about not rushing him back with the All-Star Break coming up versus having him back in the lineup. Before he had gone on the DL, he had been hitting at .306 with 9 home runs, and had been swinging a pretty hot bat (.350 in the month of June until the injury).

So, what do they do? If it were me, I wouldn’t rush him—I would hold off until after the All Star Break, just to be sure. Yes, I want him back as well, but what if he comes back and does something else? He’s one of our most important pieces, and the last thing I want to see is him lost for 60 days, or the rest of the season. If the Red Sox aren’t teasing us, and this recent hot streak carries into the second half of the season, the last thing I want to see is the team captain injured for a long period while the Red Sox are trying to make a serious playoff push.

So, yes, I want him back in the lineup, but it could cost us a chance at the AL East title, or a Wild Card spot. In the meantime, I’m good with Brock Holt at second base for the time being. After all, he is an All Star. Take your time, Dustin. Personally, I would rather see you back at 100% before you make your return to the lineup.

Miami Marlins sign Michael Morse

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It looks like Allen Craig will not be taking his talents to South Beach anytime soon. The Miami Marlins were thought of as a team that might have been interested in Craig, but they got someone else for the job.
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In need of a versatile power bat, the Miami Marlins turned to free agent Michael Morse and agreed to terms with him on a two-year deal worth $16 million plus incentives.michael morse

Morse, who is set to turn 33 before opening day next season, plays both first base and left field and hit .279 with a .336 OBP in 131 games for the World Series champion San Francisco Giants this past season.
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What was really impressive about Morse last season was his power. Hitting 16 home runs in 131 games might not seem like a lot, but he also smacked 32 doubles and 3 triples, meaning that almost 42% of his hits were for extra bases.

With Christian Yelich projected to start in left field and Garret Jones projected to start at first base, expect Morse to see playing time at both positions (but primarily at first base) according to splits and performance.
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At first base especially, Garrett Jones does not face many left-handed pitchers because he struggles greatly against them.

In the outfield, it will be tougher for Morse to swing playing time, but he definitely will have his work cut out for him. In an outfield with Christian Yelich who posted a .361 OBP and swiped 21 bases this past season, Marcell Ozuna who smashed 23 home runs this past season and Giancarlo Stanton who might just be the best outfielder in all of baseball, Morse might just be the best fourth outfielder in all of baseball due to a lack of spots.
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Certainly Morse provides the Marlins with a great bat off the bench, and his signing shows that the Marlins plan to compete in the near future. He may not be serving a huge role until someone else is injured, but Morse is a big addition to the Marlins organization nonetheless.