The Hall of Who?
The 2007 Hall of Fame candidate list is now out. Let's face it, Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr are pretty much guarantees. There are a lot of question marks out there for a lot of the other players on the list -- many of whom are close, but not quite HOF quality. The only one I feel somewhat strongly about is Rich Gossage -- it just seems wrong that last year they voted in the Bruce but not the Goose. Either way, this would be an opportune time to plug The Goose Is Loose, which was one of the funniest baseball books I've ever read. The other funny case on the list to me (besides Jay Buhner, heh heh) is Tommy John -- I don't actually think he should be in the HOF, but I do think he had a long and amazing career, and that he doesn't actually have to be in the HOF to be immortalized, since pretty much every pitcher from now on who blows out his elbow will think of the guy.
Who Wants To Pay A Millionaire?
This past week saw Gary Matthews sign a ridiculous 5/50 contract with the Angels, the Astros sign Carlos Lee to an even more ridiculous 6/100 contract (and Woody Williams for 2/12.5), and the Orioles signed Danys Baez to a ridiculous 3/19 contract. But it's not all completely ridiculous. Philly is signing Adam Eaton to a 3/24 contract, and David Dellucci is following the J-Mike path from the Phillies to Cleveland, signing a reported 3/12 contract. Former Pepperdine Wave Randy Wolf is supposedly returning to South California with the Dodgers, for a very reasonable 1/8 contract coming off TJ surgery. (So much for the Wolf Pack in Philly.)
Around the Blogs in 80 Seconds
Jeff at Lookout Landing neatly summed up the Mariners 2006 season in quotes, Derek at USSM wrote Winter Meetings: The Text Adventure, Dave forwarded an interesting article about the life of King Felix, Conor Glassey wrote a song parody called White 'n' Dirty about Willie Bloomquist, and Phillies Flow has a lot of good recent stuff on Chris Coste, including a link to an article about his career path, and an entry arguing why Coste should make the 2007 roster. Mike Berquist has finished his series on the 1950 "Whiz Kids" Phillies, posting the final entry today; links to the rest of the series are at the bottom of that entry. Last, but not least, MetsGrrl wonders how I omitted the latest GQ model Jose Reyes from my NL All-Cute Team; but in reality, seeing that hair, I have to consider DFA'ing David Wright, actually.
Welcome to Sapporo, Mr. Green
Hey, it appears that Andy Green is signing with the Fighters, which is rad. At 5'9" and 175 pounds, he's got about the right physique to fit in (he'll pretty much mimic Kensuke Tanaka), and if he can hit in Japan like he did in 2005 in the PCL (.343/.422/.587, voted league MVP), that'll be pretty sweet. Not quite an Ogasawara replacement, but I think he'd be a good righty to put between Kensuke and Inaba or Seguignol, what with Naoto Inada (another lefty batter) most likely stepping in to take over at either third or first.
In the natural cycle of gaijin, the Fighters are not offering Brad Thomas a contract for next year. The big left-hander was 4-1 with a 3.74 ERA, striking out 43 in 45.2 innings pitched. He'd be a good pickup for some other team in Japan, given the general musical chairs game going on right now.
I'm not Gary Garland, Nor Do I Play Him On TV
Without Gary out there reading all the Japanese newspapers and translating interesting tidbits into English, I guess I have to go try to make sense of what's going on. I'm not as thorough in reading the news, but here's a few things:
First, Julio Zuleta is a free agent, having come to a halt in contract talks with the Hawks, as he wanted a multiyear deal and they wouldn't budge on it. I wonder if another Japanese team will sign him or if he'll get any interest from MLB.
Zuleta's former team, the Cubs, seem more interested in Kei Igawa. I do wonder whether Igawa knows he's a "second-tier" pitcher.
I keep seeing articles about "Nippon Ham's Kaneko signs" referring to Youhei Kaneko, the drafted outfielder from Honda. Oops.
Bobby Valentine keeps going on these trips to Okinawa to talk with Yaeyama Shoko ace Yuta Ohmine, who originally said he wouldn't play for any team except the Hawks, but has since relented and signed with Lotte. They promised him uniform number 1, and on this trip to Ishigaki Bobby brought him a uniform.
In other "What's Bobby V Up To?" news, Bobby posted a link on his blog to a YouTube clip where he's leading a cha-cha dance on stage before a Marines game earlier this year.
Komadai Tomakomai high school ace Masahiro Tanaka, drafted onto the Rakuten Eagles a few months ago, has been told that he will start on the top-level team in spring camp, as the management has said that he's "just not a minor league player". Tanaka will wear uniform number 18, which has a connotation of being worn by ace pitchers.
There was a second tryout at Chiba Marine Stadium on Monday with representatives watching from all 12 teams. 36 players participated, including released players such as the Fighters' Tomochika Tsuboi, the Hawks' Katsuhiko Miyaji, and Seibu's Fumikazu Takanami. (It doesn't sound like Tsuboi did particularly well, unfortunately.)
Sounds like half of the Fighters don't want to go on their victory trip to New Zealand from December 14-26. Ogasawara's ducking out on account of switching teams, Shinjo retired, Yagi has a leave of absence, and Inaba and Hillman are only going for part of the trip, etc. Takes the fun out of it, doesn't it?
The Yakult Swallows are getting rid of Rick Guttormson. He wanted a 2-year, 700-million yen contract; they offered him a 1-year, 150-million yen contract; and alas, it appears they have agreed to disagree. Guttormson was 9-10 with a 2.58 ERA this year, and a no-hitter on May 25th against Rakuten.
Tomoaki Egawa has apparently been designated to be the Hawks' "post-Kokubo" third baseman, and as such is apparently assigned to train with him and absorb some "Kokuboism". Egawa's had a somewhat crazy few years, as he was a pitcher for Ujiyamada high school, pitched at Koshien, was drafted as a pitcher by the Hawks, but since he hit a lot of home runs and the Hawks are so pitching-heavy already he was converted to shortstop/third base, and then entirely played outfield for the Waikiki BeachBoys in the Hawaiian Winter League this year. He hit .274/.343/.483 on the Hawks' farm team in 2006; that's not too shabby for a 19-year-old kid.
Err, anyway. So on one final note, mostly bookmarked for myself: Nikkan Sports's contract signing news page with everything they know about contracts, which is pretty much everything I know about contracts.