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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?

By Dave Sheinin  |  January 12, 2009; 10:20 AM ET
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Agree on your HOF picks and since I have seen several of the writers who do vote advertising their logic, I must say I wish the Post allowed clearer heads to prevail.

As to the free agent market, I hope the post by Ladson does not signal that the Nationals are truly done pursuing big names in the off-season. This turn in the market presents an opportunity as you state. With Atlanta looking like it is going to become more aggressive, we need to act more like the Red Sox and react to what our competition is doing. If Atlanta signs Derek Lowe, then we need to make a move to offset that. We cannot spend another season getting beat up by every team in the NL East because the Lerners did not invest in the here-and-now. Despite your sanguine assessment of our status vis-a-vis what other NL East teams did in the off-season so far, we are still the weak sister of the division. We need some offensive punch and it is available in the marketplace. So go for it Stan, but without teeing it up for the other clubs.

Posted by: Juliasdad | January 12, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

If the prices for FA are so good, why sign someone like Hudson for just one year? If he's coming at below his typical costs, throw 2-3 years at him, and have that bargain locked up in future years.

Not all players would be willing to do that, of course, but if the prices are low, lock it in!

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | January 12, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Dave -- Didn't you have a post a few months back about how you wouldn't vote for Raines for the Hall? If so, what caused you to change your mind?

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | January 12, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Maybe Shiner saw this on Baseball Prospectus:

Basically it's a chart that is designed to show a player's Hall-worthiness as measured by the average of his peak WARP an career WARP. Raines comes in 6th all-time among left fielders, behind Barry Bonds, Rickey Henderson, Stan Musial, Ted Williams and, ahem, Pete Rose. That puts him ahead of a number of Hall members including Carl Yastrzemski, Willie Stargell, Billy Williams, Ralph Kiner and Lou Brock.

Posted by: BobLHead | January 12, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I agree with your picks but I would also include "The Hawk", Andre Dawson. He was one of the most feared hitters in the game for a number of years and a perennial all-star, and he played for some bad teams. He also was a power hitter with speed and could play a pretty mean defense. If he didn't spend his early years on that awful turf in Montreal, his career numbers could have been even better.
Tim Raines - absolutely.

Posted by: PhilliesPhan | January 12, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I don't think you're an 'unabashed elitist' at all -- instead, you're probably too soft. The HOF is for immortals -- and Ricky Henderson is the only immortal on this year's ballot (except possibly for McGuire, but there's a whole suite of other issues with him), and that includes Jim Rice, who was an excellent player, but not immortal.

Posted by: OutsideTheLaw | January 13, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

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