Jan. 12 -- The Week Ahead: Hall of Fame and maybe a Derek Lowe decision?

8:06 AM

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The results of the annual BBWAA Hall of Fame voting will be announced this afternoon. Rickey Henderson's a sure thing, but the drama will revolve around Jim Rice and others on the cusp.

This is my fourth year as a Hall voter, and I voted for four players this year -- Henderson, Tim Raines, Bert Blyleven and Jack Morris. I explained this ballot in my final blog post for nj.com and The Star-Ledger some weeks ago, but the basics on Rice, for me, are these:

1. The numbers aren't good enough.

2. Fenway was an extreme hitter's park (especially a right-handed power hitter's park) during Rice's career, which means the numbers (which aren't good enough) are inflated.

3. Rice's case isn't demonstrably better than those of Andre Dawson, Dave Parker and Don Mattingly (did you know Parker had five top-five MVP finishes to Rice's six?), so if I voted for him I feel I'd have to vote for them, and I don't, because as great as they all were, they weren't great enough for this particular honor. In my opinion. Which is what this is -- a collection of the opinions of the people who have at least 10 years of membership in the BBWAA.

I consider my opinion very deeply every year, and reserve my right to change my mind on players from year to year. I still could be convinced to vote for Alan Trammell next year, or David Cone if he stays on the ballot. But I thought very hard about both of them, and all the other names on the ballot, and this year they didn't make my cut.

Anyway, I do think Rice will get in this year, and maybe Dawson and hopefully Blyleven (I still don't understand the case against him). But I'll check back on this, today after they're announced and tomorrow from the press conference in New York.

As for the locals, the Yankees are probably quiet this week unless Pettitte makes up his mind. I still say the Mike Cameron trade isn't dead -- especially if Pettitte goes elsewhere (where, though?) or if they can include Nick Swisher or Kei Igawa in the deal (which has been discussed). My best guess is that Pettitte signs in the coming weeks and they deal Xavier Nady sometime in spring training, but we'll see. Lots could still develop before pitchers and catchers report.

The Mets are waiting on Derek Lowe. Some reports suggest that the Braves have moved into front-runner status here, but I'm not sure it's that clear-cut. Even those reports say the Braves aren't expected to offer more than about $40 million or $42 million for three years. I've talked to people familiar with the Braves' thinking who say they're not eager to add a fourth year. And I've talked to people familiar with the Mets' thinking who say that $40-$42 million range is not out of the realm of possibility for them. (Their first offer, after all, was $36M for three years.)

The reports suggesting the Braves are front-runners seem to presuppose that Lowe would choose Atlanta over New York if all things were equal. But why would we assume that? Lowe liked pitching in Boston, in a big market and under perennial pennant race pressure, so he wouldn't steer away from New York for reasons that other small-market-minded players might. If the offers come in equal or similar, who's to say he wouldn't pick one from the Mets?

The Mets people I speak to are under the impression that their offer will end up being similar to Atlanta's and that they stand a good chance of having Lowe pick them. They believe they probably could get him by adding a fourth year to their offer, and of course they might. But right now they don't want to, and the main reason is that they don't see any other suitors for Oliver Perez, who's their second choice for the rotation if they don't get Lowe. They are confident they'll get Lowe OR Perez for a price they like, and either will be fine with them.

Obviously, Scott Boras' hope is that they crack, add the fourth year out of fear of him going to Atlanta, and then he can go out and drum up a market for Perez. But so far this winter, the Mets have proceeded at their pace and demanded that players meet their price. I've heard nothing yet to indicate that they're about to change that.

5 Responses to "Jan. 12 -- The Week Ahead: Hall of Fame and maybe a Derek Lowe decision?"

Kalel9 said :
January 12, 2009 at 12:30 PM

Glad I found this, thanks to Peter Abraham! I was bugged when I heard you were leaving but am glad you didn't go away. You have been a great resource for Yankee fans over the past several years and I wish you nothing but success going forward.


Kalel9 said :
January 12, 2009 at 12:34 PM
btw, agree with you about Rice and Dawson, they just weren't good enough. Also, doubt the Yanks ever mentioned Swisher in connection with Cameron. Likewise, I expect Nady to be traded and possibly sooner than ST.
January 12, 2009 at 1:43 PM

Good luck in this new chapter of your life. I'm glad that you will still be around giving us New Yorkers the baseball news we crave.

I didn't know Ed Price left until Peter Abraham mentioned it today. What a shame. Sometimes I wonder what I'm getting myself into, being a journalism student with only three semesters left.

Anyway, keep up the great work.

-Andrew Fletcher
Scott Proctor's Arm
January 12, 2009 at 3:17 PM
I didn't realize you or Ed Price left until i saw it on Peter Abrahams blog. Im sorry to hear this but glad you have your own blog going now. I have a blog on blogspot also. It is http://gmarchese.blogspot.com I hope you can add me to your blogroll, i will be adding you to mine and on my follower list on blogspot. Keep up the good work and good luck.
Gmarchese-Yanks and More
January 12, 2009 at 3:55 PM
Welcome to the world of "real" blogging.

Glad you're still around.

-Andrew Vazzano

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