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Tag:Reds
Posted on: January 10, 2012 10:58 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2012 1:43 pm
 

Reds to sign Madson to one-year contract



By Matt Snyder


Free agent closer Ryan Madson has agreed to sign a one-year, $8.5 million deal with the Cincinnati Reds, CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman has learned.

Madson, 31, was reportedly very close to signing a four-year deal worth over $40 million to stay in Philadelphia a few months ago and the deal apparently fell through, with the Phillies instead landing Jonathan Papelbon. Since then, the market for closers completely eroded to the point where a team like the Reds -- who didn't have much money at all to spend in free agency this season -- were able to jump into the bidding late and grab what appears to be a huge bargain.

Madson to Reds
Madson successfully converted 32 of his 34 save attempts in 2011 for the Phillies with a 2.37 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 62 strikeouts in 60 2/3 innings.

He most certainly moves into the closer role for the Reds, who will now allow free agent Francisco Cordero to walk via free agency. Newly-acquired left-hander Sean Marshall will serve as a setup man, along with Bill Bray and Nick Masset. The plan with hard-throwing Aroldis Chapman is reportedly to convert him into a starter. Still, with Marshall and Madson being added, the Reds appear to have a strong back-end.

The fallout for two free agent pitchers is very evident here. First of all, as alluded to above, Cordero is now not going to remain in Cincinnati, so he'll have to look elsewhere. Also, the Reds had been connected to Kerry Wood in rumors this week, but that is no longer an option. So Wood is down to the Phillies and Cubs, using past reports as a guide.

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Posted on: January 10, 2012 7:20 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 7:25 pm
 

Quick hits: Madson, Wood, Cubs, more

By Matt Snyder

It's been one of those "slow news days," but there have been a handful of minor moves and reports, so let's just grab a bunch and get them out in the open here.

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• First of all, this is far from minor, but my esteemed colleague Jon Heyman already blogged on it. Go check out his post on Ryan Madson and the Reds' interest -- along with several other teams still in the mix.

• It once seemed like a foregone conclusion that Kerry Wood would finish his MLB playing career with the Cubs after returning "home" last season, but it's at least a possibility that isn't necessarily the case now. From multiple different reports (MLBTradeRumors.com has them), the Phillies and Reds are also in on the bidding for Wood's services with the Cubs. The Reds would be out of the bidding if they sign either Madson or Francisco Cordero. Wood could serve as closer for the Reds with Sean Marshall setting up, while Wood would be a setup man in Philly for Jonathan Papelbon. Brad Lidge would be the other setup option for the Phillies, should they not sign Wood.

It's interesting that the Cubs want Wood back. Any other veteran is being allowed to walk via free agency or traded -- or at least being rumored to be on the trading block. Instead, general manager Jed Hoyer told XM Radio Tuesday that the Cubs have offered Wood a substantial raise to stay put. He is a special case, with his strong ties to Chicago and to the Cubs' organization. Cubs president Theo Epstein recently said Wood has the type of personality the Cubs hope will spread in the locker room. Wood will reportedly make a decision by Friday.

The situation seems to be one of those that is a catch-22 for Cubs fans. On one hand, Wood stands a much better chance of winning a World Series ring if he leaves -- considering the massive rebuild the Cubs are undertaking. On the other, he's a favorite son to fans of the franchise. If he does walk, I'd suggest Cubs fans hope he gets a ring in the next year or two much like Mark Grace got one with the Diamondbacks. If he does stay, that shows how strongly he feels like a Cub.

• Speaking of the Cubs, Alfonso Soriano is likely to open the season as the starting left fielder, reports CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman. Not for lack of trying, of course, it's just that with $54 million left on Soriano's colossal contract, the Cubs can't seem to find any takers willing to take on a decent portion of the remaining salary.

• The Red Sox signed starting pitcher Aaron Cook to a minor-league contract earlier this week. With injury woes in the rotation, this is merely an organizational depth signing and nothing more. There's no way it would preclude the Red Sox from making a trade for a starter or adding someone else -- like Hiroki Kuroda, who the Red Sox have reportedly discussed.

• Backup catcher Koyie Hill has signed a minor-league deal with the Cardinals, according to Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports.

Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez has avoided arbitration, signing a one-year deal worth about $2 million, reports Morosi.

• Relief pitcher Aaron Heilman has signed a minor-league contract with the Mariners, the team announced.

As for Prince Fielder, I've got nothing for you (that was done in my best Jeff Probst voice). I guess Prince has to sign with someone eventually, right?

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Posted on: January 9, 2012 3:19 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2012 4:34 pm
 

2012 Baseball Hall of Fame voting breakdown



By Matt Snyder


Barry Larkin was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame with 86.4 percent of the vote. The results of the BBWAA votes were revealed Monday afternoon, and Larkin was the only player garnering the required 75 percent of the vote for enshrinement.

There were 573 total ballots, but nine were left blank. Players may remain on the ballot for 15 years, unless they fall below the five percent barrier in voting. Those who get less than five percent of the vote will be removed from the ballot prior to next year's vote.

Here's a total breakdown of how the voting went for the other 26 candidates. First, these guys will remain on the ballot moving forward:

Jack Morris - 382 votes (66.7 percent)
Jeff Bagwell - 321 (56)
Lee Smith - 290 (50.6)
Tim Raines - 279 (48.7)
Edgar Martinez - 209 (36.5)
Alan Trammell - 211 (36.8)
Fred McGriff - 137 (23.9)
Larry Walker - 131 (22.9)
Mark McGwire - 112 (19.5)
Don Mattingly - 102 (17.8)
Dale Murphy - 83 (14.5)
Rafael Palmeiro - 72 (12.6)
Bernie Williams - 55 (9.6)

Hall of Fame ballot
Now, the following players will be removed from the ballot, as they didn't get five percent of the vote:

Juan Gonzalez - 23 votes (four percent)
Vinny Castilla - 6 (1)
Tim Salmon - 5 (0.9)
Bill Mueller - 4 (0.5)
Brad Radke - 2 (0.3)
Javy Lopez - 1 (0.2)
Eric Young - 1 (0.2)
Jeromy Burnitz - 0
Brian Jordan - 0
Terry Mulholland - 0
Phil Nevin - 0
Ruben Sierra - 0
Tony Womack - 0

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Posted on: January 9, 2012 2:59 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 12:16 pm
 

Barry Larkin elected into Hall of Fame



By Matt Snyder


Barry Larkin will join Ron Santo in the 2012 Baseball Hall of Fame induction class. The announcement was made by the Baseball Writers Association of America on Monday afternoon.

Larkin was the only man from the 27-player ballot who received the necessary 75 percent of the vote. Larkin got 86.4 percent of the vote (495 of 573). Votes can be cast by writers who have been members of the BBWAA for at least 10 years.

Complete breakdown of the 2012 Hall of Fame voting

Larkin, 47, played his entire 19-season career for the Cincinnati Reds. The 12-time All-Star shortstop hit .295 with an .815 OPS in his career. He added 1,329 runs, 2,340 hits, 441 doubles, 198 home runs and 379 stolen bases. Larkin won the 1995 NL MVP while also adding nine Silver Sluggers, three Gold Gloves and was the starting shortstop for the 1990 World Series champion Reds.

Hall of Fame coverage
Looking at Wins Above Replacement by Baseball-Reference.com, Larkin trails only the following shortstops (counting years as a shorstop only): Honus Wagner, George Davis, Cal Ripken, Arky Vaughan, Bill Dahlen, Derek Jeter and Luke Appling. All but Dahlen and Jeter are in the Hall of Fame and Jeter is headed to Cooperstown five years after his retirement. Also, in Bill James' Historical Baseball Abstract, which was updated in 1999, James ranked Larkin as the sixth best shortstop of all-time.

Larkin also netted two off-field accolades, as he won the 1993 Roberto Clemente Award (given to a player that "best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team") and the 1994 Lou Gehrig Award (given to a player that exhibits character and integrity both on and off the field).

"I never really thought about it as a player," Larkin told CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman Sunday. "I never thought about it until I saw some support was there. I had thought it was unattainable. My whole approach was, 'How I can better the team?' I remember guys telling me early, 'You're never going to make money hitting behind runners.' They really wanted me to be selfish. I think what they were saying is that I should turn on the ball. It's definitely something I could appreciate later. But the years I had success were the years I had great players around me."

This time around marked Larkin's third chance on the ballot. He received 51.6 percent of the vote in 2010 and 62.1 percent last year, so the trajectory -- in addition to a pretty weak first-year class -- made Larkin's induction this year likely. Still, it wasn't a sure thing by any stretch. The jump all the way to 86 percent was surprisingly large.

"The Cincinnati Reds organization and our entire city are thrilled with Barry's election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame," Reds president Bob Castellini said in a statement. "His extraordinary talent has earned him a permanent place in Cooperstown alongside Reds greats Sparky Anderson, Johnny Bench, Warren Giles, Ernie Lombardi, Bill McKechnie, Bid McPhee, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, Eppa Rixey and Edd Roush. Throughout his entire life both on and off the field, Barry has represented himself and our city with the class and professionalism consistent with the ideals of the Reds, Major League Baseball and the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. He continues to be one of our game's greatest ambassadors. We are very proud that his accomplishments have been validated at the highest level by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. We look forward to the induction ceremonies in July."

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Posted on: January 7, 2012 12:10 am
 

Under-30 players building Hall of Fame foundation



By Matt Snyder


T-minus two days until the Hall of Fame vote for the 2012 induction is unveiled, so we'll continue talking about the Hall of Fame in this relatively slow time of the year. This time around, we'll take a look at active players younger than 30 who have laid a foundation that makes a run to Cooperstown possible.

Now, make no mistake about it, none of these players are close to having completed their big-league careers nor are they currently close to being locks to the Hall of Fame. Still, some are well on their way and others have started a journey that may push them into the discussion in a decade or so.

Obviously things could change in just one season -- just take a look below at a certain catcher from Minnesota. Or think about how good it looked for Grady Sizemore three years ago at this time before injuries completely derailed him. And we have to understand that just a few seasons of being an elite player doesn't necessarily mean the longevity will be there -- take the cases of Fernando Valenzuela and Dwight Gooden, for example. For various reasons, careers can get off track. Still, it's fun to take a look at which young players have built a possible Hall-of-Fame foundation.

By no means is this an exhaustive list, but here are 20 under-30 guys who could be on the right track, in alphabetical order (age in parentheses):

Hall of Fame coverage
Miguel Cabrera (28) - The first name we list might well be the most impressive case on here. In eight full seasons (he appeared in 87 games as a rookie) Cabrera has been an All-Star six times and finished in the top five of MVP voting five times. He's hit .317/.395/.555, which is good for a 149 OPS-plus. Saying Cabrera is just about halfway through his career is probably reasonable and he already has 277 homers and 984 RBI.

Robinson Cano (29) - He wouldn't have appeared on this list until the past two seasons, but Cano has grown into one of the more dangerous hitters in baseball. He'd need to continue this pace for another six to eight years at least before being a Hall candidate, though.

Prince Fielder (27) - Six full seasons -- with 39 games in '05 -- have yielded 230 homers and 656 RBI. Fielder also has an impressive .390 on-base percentage and a whopping .929 OPS (143 OPS-plus). He's already finished in the top four of MVP voting three times. Can his robust body hold up long-term? If it does, he's probably headed to Cooperstown. Baseball-Reference.com's top similar statistical player through age 27 is Hall of Famer Eddie Murray.

Adrian Gonzalez (29) - Did he get started too late? Gonzalez didn't become a full-timer until '06 and wasn't a dominant force until '09. Still, four All-Star Games, three Gold Gloves and two Top 10 finishes in MVP voting. He also has a career .889 OPS (140 OPS-plus) and over 1,100 hits already.

Felix Hernandez (25) - We've seen so many pitchers flame out over the years after huge starts -- I mentioned two in the intro -- but King Felix basically only needs to stay healthy and keep his head on straight. He's already 85-67 with a 3.24 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 1,264 strikeouts. He has one Cy Young and also finished second once. And he could conceivably pitch 15 more seasons. Even conservatively -- assuming health -- you have to say he has 12 more in him.

Matt Kemp (27) - After a runner-up finish in MVP voting this past season, Kemp inked a huge contract with the Dodgers. He could be the face of the franchise for a decade. The power-speed combo (128 HR, 144 steals) along with a Gold Glove shows he can do it all.

Clayton Kershaw (23) - He went 21-5 with a 2.28 ERA, 248 strikeouts, an All-Star appearance and a Cy Young award last season. At 23. Enough said.

Tim Lincecum (27) - Two Cy Youngs, four All-Star appearances and a World Series ring so far. Not too shabby. Like Hernandez, Kershaw and all other great young pitchers, health and avoiding major off-field trouble are the biggest roadblocks. But there is serious foundation and talent here. I wouldn't bet against Lincecum. 

Evan Longoria (26) - He's going to be the face of the Rays for a long time and his arrival coincided with them shedding the laughingstock label. The 2008 AL Rookie of the Year has three All-Star appearances, two Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger. His 136 OPS-plus bodes well. But his average dropped 50 points last season. Harbinger or aberration? I'd guess the latter.

Joe Mauer (28) - Would've seemed a lot more firm here last year at this time. The disaster of a season doesn't erase the amazing good Mauer did through the first six-plus seasons in his career, but it raises health questions moving forward. His bat means a whole lot less if he's playing first base instead of catching.

Andrew McCutchen (25) - He already has 95 doubles, 19 triples, 51 homers and 78 stolen bases. He has an .822 OPS (123 OPS-plus). What if he gets even better and is the driving force behind a complete Pirates turnaround?

Dustin Pedroia (28) - The 2007 Rookie of the Year followed up that act with a 2008 MVP. He's hitting .305/.373/.463 in his six-year career, while he's also won a World Series ring, two Gold Gloves and been to the All-Star Game three times.

Hanley Ramirez (28) - He would've been one of the best bets two years ago, but he's now mired in a two-year decline. Goes to show how quickly things can change. Of course, there's plenty of time to get back to 2007-09 form.

Jose Reyes (28) - In six "full" seasons (we'll say at least 125 games played), Reyes has been among the best players in baseball. There's no questioning that. Can he stay on the diamond enough to make himself a viable Hall candidate? It doesn't look great, but the talent is there.

Troy Tulowitzki (27) - Tulowitzki brings in three straight top-eight finishes in MVP voting and is the premier defensive shortstop in the National League. He really only has four seasons worth counting toward a possible Hall induction so far, though, so he's gonna need about eight to 10 more.

Justin Upton (24) - The potential here is insane. He came in fourth in MVP voting last season and should only get better. Again, there are many ways for younger players to derail, but Upton has all the tools to one day hit Cooperstown. Consider me a believer.

Justin Verlander (28) - Yes, he's only 28. Verlander already has 107 wins, 1,215 strikeouts, four All-Star appearances (that is, he made the team, not pitched in the game), a Cy Young and, yes, an AL MVP. He was already one of the better aces in baseball, but then went into a new stratosphere last season. If that continues, he's a cinch to make the Hall. We'll see.

Joey Votto (28) - In just four full seasons, Votto has made a name for himself as a marquee slugger. He won the 2010 MVP and followed it up with a stellar 2011 campaign as well. His career .955 OPS (151 OPS-plus) is incredible and he added a Gold Glove last season, too.

Jered Weaver (29) - Weaver was quietly really good until last season, and you can now drop the "quietly." He was the All-Star Game starter and could have easily won the Cy Young Award, if Verlander didn't happen to be putting up a historic season in the same league. In six seasons, Weaver is 82-47 with a 3.31 ERA and 977 strikeouts. Considering his age, though, this is a pretty tall order. He'll need another eight years of dominance, I'd guess.

David Wright (29) - I think I would have felt pretty good about him after 2008, but he's fallen off a slight bit since then. Perhaps the change in the ballpark dimensions helps, in addition to some health -- for himself and teammates. Wright does already have five All-Star appearances and a .300/.380/.508 line with 183 homers and 151 steals.



I think my four best bets right now would be, in no particular order: Verlander, Cabrera, Hernandez and Upton. Could be a lot more, could be a lot less. All 20 of these guys have plenty of time to either build a resume or screw it up. History tells us there's no chance all 20 make the cut, and even guessing half of these guys getting to Cooperstown is a big stretch.

Feel free to add more names in the comments, as there definitely isn't a wrong answer in this department.

Coming Sunday: "Asterisk" guys with Hall-type resumes
Monday: 2012 Hall of Fame inductee(s) announced
Monday: Looking ahead at the 2013 first-year eligibles
Monday: Looking at the '14, '15 and '16 first-year eligibles

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Posted on: January 5, 2012 7:44 pm
 

Rangers hire Josh Hamilton's father-in-law

Josh HamiltonBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Josh Hamilton's father-in-law, Michael Dean Chadwick, has been hired by the Rangers to be Hamilton's "accountability partner." 

Johnny Narron had traveled with Hamilton, a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, since 2007 when Hamilton was a Rule 5 draft pick by the Reds. Narron stayed with Hamilton after the Reds fired manager Jerry Narron, Johnny's brother, during the 2007. Johnny Narron then went with Hamilton to Texas when he was traded after the season. Narron left the Rangers to become the Brewers' hitting coach last month.

Chadwick will not have any baseball-related duties, the team said. Chadwick had once served as the Washington Redskins' team chaplain and has also dealt with addiction problems himself.

"I think Josh is in a very different position today than when we acquired him in December, 2007," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels told the Dallas Morning News. "I think everyone agreed that when we traded for Josh, we thought Johnny was a real key hire. I think at that time, there was more unknown. We look at this as an important support position. … We've got such a unique clubhouse. Guys know Josh and respect Josh and they know what he has overcome. I think everybody who has been here has run across [Chadwick] and respects him, too. i don't anticipate this being an issue. Maybe if this was a less cohesive unit, but it is a very tight-knit group."

Hamilton having his own personal coach rubbed some members of the Reds the wrong way in 2007, but it apparently hasn't been as much of a problem in Texas.

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Posted on: January 5, 2012 5:54 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2012 6:49 pm
 

Seven active borderline Hall of Fame candidates



By C. Trent Rosecrans


It's Hall of Fame season, so instead of whining about how other people vote and hiding our ballot envy behind the safety of snark and namecalling, the Eye on Baseball team is looking ahead to future Hall of Fame classes. Yesterday, Matt Snyder looked at five sure-fire, no-doubt, if-their-career-ended-today active Hall of Fame players.
Hall of Fame coverage

Today, we'll look at what makes the Hall a little bit more fun -- the borderline guys. These are guys that if their career ended today would have an argument for the Hall of Fame and could get in or may not. What makes it a little more fun is that Matt and I couldn't even agree on the lists -- so here we go.

Vladimir Guerrero -- Guerrero's best years were in Montreal, where he was invisible to most baseball fans, like Tim Raines and Andre Dawson before him. Still, Guerrero has made nine All-Star teams and won the American League MVP in 2004, his first season outside of Montreal. Through 16 seasons, Guerrero has 2,590 hits and 449 home runs. At this point, it seems like he just doesn't have enough in the tank to get to 3,000 and 500 -- marks that would make his chances much better. Still, he's a career .318/.379/.553 hitter and has a career OPS+ of 140. He also has a career WAR of 59.2 (according to Baseball-Reference.com). 

If Guerrero's career ended now (which isn't a stretch, considering he's currently not under contract and is limited to DH), he'd be one of six players to finish their career with more than 400 home runs and a career batting average better than .315, joining Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig and Stan Musial. Guerrero had 12 seasons with a .300 average and more than 25 homers -- only Williams (14), Ruth (14) and Hank Aaron (13) have as many as Guerrero.

Todd Helton -- Like Guerrero, it appears that he'll fall just short of the magic numbers of 3,000 hits and 500 homers. Helton, 38, has 2,363 career hits and is coming off another .300 season, but needs another 637 hits to get to 3,000 -- and over the last five seasons he has 663 hits. While he's signed through the next two seasons and could play into his 40s, his recent back problems make it seem like he's unlikely to get there.

Helton's a career .323/.421/550 hitter -- with his .421 on-base percentage the highest among active players.  Helton made five straight All-Star teams from 2000-2004, finishing int he top 10 in MVP voting in three of those years. He also won four Silver Sluggers and three Gold Gloves, all during that same period.

The biggest strike against Helton, though, is where he played. All 15 of his seasons have been with the Rockies and he's certainly benefitted by playing half of his games in Colorado. His career splits are .354/.451/.620 at home and .291/.391/.478 on the road. It should be pointed out those are still pretty darn good numbers -- another Hall of Fame first baseman, Tony Perez, hit .279/.391/.463 in his career. Overall, Helton has a career OPS+ of 136. That number accounts for not only what other players are doing, but also includes park factors. Helton's career WAR, according to Baseball-Reference.com, is 59.9 -- better than Dave Winfield, Richie Ashburn, Willie Stargell and Hank Greenberg, among other Hall of Famers.

Andruw Jones -- The knee-jerk reaction to Andruw Jones and the Hall of Fame is of course not -- the thought just doesn't seem right. Instead, for many, Jones represents the squandering of talent, not the Hall of Fame. Jones came up at 19 and immediately made an impact in the 1996 World Series.

Jones is just a career .256/.339/.488 hitter and will need a couple more years in his current role of a fourth outfielder to get to 2,000 hits. He does have 420 homers, but hit just .256/.339/.448 in his first 16 seasons in the big leagues.

But then there's the defense. Jones is a 10-time Gold Glove winner in center field, but that only starts to tell how good Jones was defensively in his prime. In a Hall of Fame discussion, it may be best to compare Jones to Ozzie Smith -- another transcendent defensive player. Smith was a career .262/.337/.328 hitter, with Jones' power numbers more than making up for the difference in batting averages. While shortstop is unquestionably the most important defensive position on the field, center field is probably second. And at his prime, there's probably no center fielder as good as Jones.

Overall, Jones checks in with a 60.4 career WAR from Baseball-Reference, but FanGraphs.com's formula rates him even higher, at 71.7. Both numbers are inflated by defense, but few players were ever as good as Jones was defensively.

Jorge Posada -- Posada's always been lumped in with Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera as the trio came up with the Yankees at the same time in the mid-90s and were parts of not only the late-90s World Series dynasty, but also the team's run in the 2000s. While Posada isn't a slam-dunk like Jeter and Rivera, he has a case.

In his 17 seasons, all with the Yankees, Posada hit .273/.374/.474 with 275 home runs and 1,664 hits. He's not going to reach any of the magical numbers, but as a catcher, those are tough to achieve. Over his career, he has an OPS+ of 121 and a WAR of 44.7. His career OPS+ is better than Carlton Fisk and Gary Carter, the last two catchers inducted in Cooperstown.

While many can point to his participation in so many postseason games, he was hardly a great player during the fall, hitting .248/.358/.387 with 11 home runs and 42 RBI in 125 career postseason games. In 29 World Series games, Posada hit just .219/.333/.333 with two homers.

Defensively, Posada probably wasn't as bad as his reputation, but he was hardly Ivan Rodriguez, his contemporary -- and along with Johnny Bench one of the top two defensive catchers ever.

Scott Rolen -- Really. He's not the type that you think of when you think of Hall of Famers. Some people -- and I used to be one -- say you know a Hall of Famer when you see one. And Rolen never fit in that mold. He was always seen as good, but maybe not great. But when you look at his career as a whole, he certainly merits discussion and consideration.

While Rolen's counting stats of 2,005 career hits and 308 homers and the fact he'll be 37 in April mean he's unlikely to hit the big milestones, has a .282/.366/.494 career line with an OPS+ of 123. He has a Silver Slugger to his resume, was the 1997 Rookie of the Year and finished fourth in the 2004 MVP voting.

Third base is the most underrepresented position in the Hall of Fame, and Rolen may not be Mike Schmidt or George Brett, but he does rank up with the best to ever play the position. Of players who played more than 50 percent of their games at third base, only three third basemen have 2,000 hits, 300 home runs, 1,200 RBI and 500 doubles -- Brett, Chipper Jones and Rolen.

And then there's the case of defense -- Rolen has been an outstanding defensive third baseman his entire career, winning eight Gold Gloves. Only Brooks Robinson and Schmidt have more Gold Gloves at third than Rolen.

Ron Santo will get his well-deserved enshrinement in Cooperstown this summer, and the two have similar career numbers. Santo hit .277/.362/.464 with 2,254 career hits, 342 homers and five Gold Gloves. Santo's career OPS+ was 125.

Rolen's career WAR is 66.2 according to Baseball-Reference.com, tied with Craig Biggio and just behind Gary Carter (66.3) and Santo (66.4) and better than Willie McCovey (65.1) and Ernie Banks (64.4).

Ichiro Suzuki -- While I seem to think if the border is located in Brownsville, Ichiro is Houston -- and at the very least Corpus Christi. But Matt thought differently, so I guess that makes him ineligible for the "no doubt."

Leave aside for the moment Suzuki's accomplishments in Japan -- in just the United States, Suzuki has 2,428 hits, 423 stolen bases and a .326/.370/.421 line. He's also been named to 10 All-Star games, won two batting titles, won the MVP in 2001, the same year he won the Rookie of the Year, and has finished in the top 10 of MVP voting four times and in the top 20 eight times. He also has 10 Gold Gloves and three Silver Sluggers. He also had more than 200 hits in each of his first 10 seasons in the United States, leading the majors in that category seven times. 

Honestly, like I said, I'm not sure why he's on this list and not the "no doubt" list. Maybe his career WAR is a little low at 54.5 (according to BaseballReference.com), but remember that's just 11 years.

Suzuki is 38 and will likely play at the least two more years and with three, he's nearly a lock to get to 3,000 career hits in the United States. If he gets to 3,000 in the big leagues, he'll have 4,278 career hits combined between Japan and the United States.

Omar Vizquel -- Only Ozzie Smith has more Gold Gloves at shortstop than Vizquel's 11, and if any shortstop can be mentioned in the same breath as Smith defensively, it's Vizquel.

The two are also similar offensively. Vizquel's career line is .272/.337/.353 with an OPS+ of 82, picking up 2,841 hits, while stealing 401 bases. Smith was a career .262/.337/.328 hitter with an OPS+ of 87, accumulating 2,460 hits, while stealing 580 bases.

Vizquel has just one top 20 MVP finish, while Smith had four. Smith also had 15 All-Star nods to Vizquel's three, but Vizquel played in the post-Cal Ripken era when more was expected offensively out of shortstops.

Vizquel will be 45 in April and hopes to play another season, but it seems unlikely he'll be able to get the 159 hits he needs to get to 3,000 and make him an easier choice.

Wednesday: Surefire active Hall of Famers
Coming Friday: Players over 30 who have a shot of getting there with a few more good years
Saturday: Players under 30 building a good foundation
Sunday: Asterisk candidates -- on-field numbers good enough but PED issues cloud matters

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Posted on: January 5, 2012 1:11 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2012 1:12 pm
 

Angels GM says team 'unlikely' to sign Madson

Ryan Madson

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Where will Ryan Madson end up? Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto says it's probably not going to be Anaheim.

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Dipoto, the first-year Angels GM told the Los Angeles Times that it's "very, very unlikely" the Angels would add Madson or any closer.

"What I'll say with some degree of certainty is that our most dignificant acquisitions have already been made," Dipoto said.

"We're trying to add depth, and in a perfect world, we'd like to find another guy to join Jordan Walden, Scott Downs and LaTroy Hawkins to help with those last nine outs. But closer has never been a real priority."

Of course, this could also be posturing by Dipoto.  

Walden, 24, recorded 32 saves with a 2.98 ERA as a rookie in 2012. Walden made the All-Star team after starting the season with 20 saves and a 2.84 ERA in the first half. In the second half of the season, he had 12 saves and a 3.22 ERA. Walden struck out 10 batters per nine innings and 3.9 walks per nine. It had been rumored the team wanted to upgrade at the back of the bullpen.

And then there's Madson, who had 32 saves and a 2.37 ERA in his first season as the Phillies closer. Early in the offseason there was a report Madson had agreed to a deal with Philadelphia for four years and $44 million, but then the team signed Jonathan Papelbon instead.

There are few teams still looking for a closer, with the Reds being the team with the most glaring need. However, the Reds don't have the type of money to sign Madson to a huge deal. Cincinnati is currently in talks with incumbent reliever Francisco Cordero to bring him back on a one-year deal.

Madson could try to find a deal like the Yankees gave Rafael Soriano a year ago to be a high-priced set-up man -- even though that didn't exactly work out for the Yankees. Madson and Soriano are both represented by Scott Boras.

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