Tuesday Triple Play: M. Young, Rice, HOF '10
If you trade him, fans will expect a commensurate return, but there is almost no way to get that when you're talking about a 32-year-old shortstop with declining range who is owed around $59 million over the next five years, when there is every expectation he will show a serious decline in production during those years. (The extension Young signed with the Rangers was for $80 million, but because of signing bonuses and deferred money, his actual salaries from 2009-2013 total $59 million.)
Realistically, what you're left with, if you're the Rangers, is a search for a swap of bad contracts. Perhaps you can get the Tigers to take Young, if you're willing to take back Dontrelle Willis (who is owed $22 million over the next two years) and another player. Maybe the Cubs would swap Alfonso Soriano (six years, $106 million remaining -- plus a full no-trade clause) for Young. But both of those hypothetical deals would stick you with a bigger problem than Young.
The best guess here is the Rangers make a swift, serious effort to patch things up with Young.
2. I wouldn't normally commend, or recommend, a column that appears to ridicule baseball writers of my generation, but if you're curious as to how Jim Rice's Hall of Fame voting percentages could have gone from 29.8 percent in 1995 (when his playing days were freshest in voters' minds) to 76.4 percent yesterday, this is the best explanation I've seen yet.
3. A brief look at first-time additions to the HOF ballot in 2010, ranked (by me) in order of certitude for election:
*Robbie Alomar: Best second baseman of his generation. Should be a slam dunk.
*Barry Larkin: Twelve-time all-star. Eighth-highest OPS (.815) all-time among shortstops. I'm leaning towards a yes vote.
*Edgar Martinez: An interesting case for me. By my own stated litmus test (was he the dominant player at his position in his era?) he should get in. But other voters will have a harder time electing a pretty much full-time DH.
*Fred McGriff: Averaged 33 homers a year from 1988-96, when 30 homers still meant something. But was he a transcendent type of player?
*Andres Galarraga: His 399 homers will be devalued because of playing his prime years in Colorado and his later years during the era of exploding offense.
Where do you stand, at first impression, on the prospective Cooperstown Class of 2010?
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