Monday Triple Play: Bargains, Manny, HOF
1.The flood of post-Christmas bargain-touting e-mails from all the retailers whose goods I have purchased online in the past has finally slowed to a trickle. But pretty soon I half-expect to start getting the same e-mails from agents ("Bobby Abreu, now 75 percent off!... With FREE shipping!!!")
For those who haven't signed yet, the prices are still falling. I'll reiterate something Boz and I have both put forth here and elsewhere -- this is great for the Nationals. I talked to one executive last week who predicted second baseman Orlando Hudson, one of the free agents the Nationals have targeted, would wind up getting just a one-year guaranteed deal at a low base salary, with incentives and options that could push up the total value. At that price, or even a little steeper, it would be a terrific signing for the Nationals.
2. It seems clear at this point that agent Scott Boras has misplayed the market for Manny Ramirez, and there is little chance that Ramirez will wind up getting the $25 million AAV he was seeking. At this point, in fact, I'd be impressed if Boras managed to get him the $20 million salary for 2009 that Ramirez could have had if he had not engineered the trade out of Boston that voided his 2009 club option. Simply put, if Pat Burrell is worth $8 million annually, and Milton Bradley is worth $10 million, that means Ramirez is worth... what, $15 million? So I'm guessing this is what winds up getting it done for Ramirez: three years, $45 million guaranteed, with a mutual option for a fourth year. And I'm getting it's the Dodgers who wind up doing it.
3. The Post doesn't let its writers vote for the Hall of Fame, which is why I haven't done an extensive blog-post on my ballot. But I am on record as being an unabashed elitist when it comes to Cooperstown, and my criteria are simple: To get a check mark on my (hypothetical) ballot, a player must have been the dominant player (or one of the dominant players) of his era at his specific position or role, with the only exceptions granted in the cases of players whose counting stats (homers, hits, wins, strikeouts, etc.) overwhemlingly demonstrate sustained excellence of a long span of time.
With that in mind, here's how my 2009 ballot would have looked: Yes to Rickey Henderson, Bert Blyleven and Tim Raines. No to everyone else.
No explanation needed on Henderson, the greatest leadoff hitter of all time. Blyleven was one of the two of three most dominant right-handed starters of the 1970s and one of the top four or five in the1980s (for example, he ranked third in strikeouts in both decades), a long enough stretch of semi-dominance for me. Raines, meantime, might have been remembered as the dominant leadoff hitter of his era had he played in any other era than the one he did, which he shared with Henderson.
The announcement of the Cooperstown Class of '09 comes at 2 p.m. We'll have more here. But in the meantime, let's hear from you: What would your ballot have looked like?
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