Archive for the ‘MLB’ Category

 

Arizona Diamondbacks' starting pitcher Curt Schill

Curt Schilling’s Hall of Fame bid received backing from the President of the United States on Sunday.

Two days before the Class of 2019 is to be announced, President Donald Trump tweeted his support for Schilling’s candidacy.

Schilling’s Hall of Fame claim has been a story of his career numbers versus his off-field actions since retirement.

The 52-year-old was suspended by ESPN in 2015 after tweeting an image that compared Muslims to Nazis.

In 2016, he was fired as an analyst from ESPN when he shared a Facebook post that many viewed as transphobic.

As of Monday morning, Schilling has appeared on 71.6 percent of ballots, according to Ryan Thibodaux’s Hall of Fame tracker.

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Two of the most polarizing Hall of Fame candidates now have “Mr. October” in their corner.

During an appearance at the LPGA’s Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions tournament this week, Reggie Jackson – who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1993 – revealed that he now believes Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens deserve to be enshrined in Cooperstown.

“Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens should be in,” Jackson said, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. “It’s time.”

The endorsement of Bonds and Clemens – who have both dealt with allegations of steroid use for over a decade – represents a stark change in viewpoint for Jackson, who had previously said the pair will be the only ones at their own induction ceremony if they’re voted into Cooperstown due to their alleged steroid use.

Despite their sterling on-field resumes, the steroid controversies have held back the Hall of Fame candidacies of both Bonds – baseball’s all-time and single-season home-run leader – and Clemens – one of just four pitchers to record more than 4,000 strikeouts.

But the two players’ cases have slowly gained support in the years since they debuted on the ballot in 2013. Ahead of Tuesday’s election, Bonds has been named on 71.4 percent of this year’s publicly released ballots while Clemens has received 71.9 percent of the vote, as of Sunday morning.

While those numbers are likely to drop once the full vote is revealed, their current numbers leave Bonds and Clemens in position to potentially pass the 60-percent mark. That show of increased support would increase the likelihood of them eventually gaining the 75 percent required for induction.

Bonds and Clemens are both in their seventh year on the BBWAA ballot. If they aren’t elected to the Hall on Tuesday, they’ll each have another three years of eligibility remaining.

Jackson isn’t the first Hall of Famer to throw his support behind either controversial player. Legendary outfielder Willie Mays campaigned for Bonds this summer, calling him “deserving” of induction and urging writers to “vote this guy in.”

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Evan Longoria‘s tenure in the Bay Area might be short-lived.

A little over a year after acquiring him from the Tampa Bay Rays, the San Francisco Giants are gauging trade interest in the three-time All-Star, according to Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports.

In order to trade Longoria, rivals believe the Giants would need to pay “big bucks” to offset the $72.5 million left on his contract, Heyman adds.

The Giants might also have a hard time dealing the veteran once free agents Manny Machado and Mike Moustakas find homes after Longoria scuffled though the worst season of his career.

Longoria missed time with a fractured hand after he was hit by a pitch in June. He also recorded the lowest OPS (.694) of his career, which ranked 15th among 18 qualified third basemen, according to MLB.com.

The veteran infielder does offer some defensive value. He recorded a plus-seven in defensive runs saved at third for the Giants in 2018, although his UZR was -4.4, his fielding percentage was .950, and he made 15 errors.

Over the course of his career, Longoria has normally been more sturdy from a health and production perspective.

From 2013-2017, he averaged 160 games a year. He’s also just two years removed from hitting 36 homers and driving in 98 runs.

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The Cincinnati Reds and New York Yankees are getting closer to a trade involving right-hander Sonny Gray, according to Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports.

The Yankees are eyeing a pair of Reds prospects in the deal, with one of Shed Long or Tyler Stephenson expected to land in New York.

Though a deal is believed to be close, the San Francisco Giants, Atlanta Braves, and Milwaukee Brewers are all still alive in the discussions should the Reds and Yankees not align.

Gray has been on the trade block the entire offseason after Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said in the fall that the hope was to move on from the righty.

The Reds have been one of the most visibly interested parties since Gray was made available. He’d be the third starting pitcher acquired by Cincinnati after Tanner Roark and Alex Wood, as it aims to bolster its pitching staff.

Despite his struggles in pinstripes, Gray’s numbers are somewhat misleading. Over 15 games (11 starts) at home, he posted a 6.98 ERA and 1.90 WHIP while allowing 11 home runs in 59 1/3 innings.

Away from home, however, Gray went 7-5 with a 3.17 ERA and 1.16 WHIP while allowing only three long balls in 71 innings over 15 games (12 starts).

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Manny Machado‘s destination may not be a foregone conclusion, after all.

An unidentified club – one that apparently isn’t Machado’s desired spot – has apparently put forth the highest bid for the All-Star infielder, Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports reports.

Moreover, there are reportedly two mystery teams in on Machado, and he has met with at least one of them in recent days, according to Andy Martino of SNY.

This comes after the infielder’s father, Manuel Machado, said the Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, and New York Yankees had all extended offers at various points during the offseason. Now, it seems that field is expanding.

The slow offseason has resulted in some tension between those on either side of the open market. Machado’s agent complained about what he characterized as inaccurate reports of an offer from the White Sox.

What originally looked to be a narrow field of suitors for one of the most dynamic free agents in recent memory is appearing to expand as winter trudges on. Machado, 26, has played at least 156 games in five of the last six seasons and has a career slash line of .282/.335/.487 with 175 home runs in 926 contests.

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The 2018 World Series champions’ trip to the White House could become the next casualty of the United States government shutdown.

The Boston Red Sox are scheduled to celebrate their title by visiting president Donald Trump on Feb. 15, but the continued shutdown has left those plans up in the air, members of the team’s ownership said Friday.

“It’s something we’ll be watching,” principal owner John Henry said of the shutdown, according to Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. “It would be tough.”

Added chairman Tom Werner: “It’s our intention to go … But, as John said, it’s awkward if there’s a shutdown.”

Word of the Red Sox potentially reconsidering their trip to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue comes just a few days after manager Alex Cora hinted he’s considering skipping the visit. Cora, a native of Puerto Rico, has been a vocal critic of the Trump administration’s response to the hurricanes that have devastated his homeland since 2017.

“We’ll see what happens,” Cora said Thursday, according to The Associated Press. “If I go, I’ll represent Puerto Rico the right way.”

Both Henry and Kennedy said the Red Sox will allow individuals to decide whether or not they’ll attend the White House ceremony, in the event it happens. Although several players have publicly stated they’ll take part, a few unidentified members of the team are planning to skip the ceremony, Abraham reports.

Despite the ongoing shutdown, Trump hosted the NCAA football champion Clemson Tigers at the White House this week.

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For over a month, three teams have been front and center in the Manny Machadosweepstakes, but his former employer has also shown interest in a reunion, according to his father.

“Manny has received offers from different teams: (New York) Yankees, (Los Angeles) Dodgers, (Philadelphia) Phillies, now there’s a lot of interest from the (Chicago) White Sox,” Manuel Machado told Hector Gomez of Z101 Digital.

Despite what his dad says, the Dodgers haven’t made an offer to Machado this winter, reports Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports.

The interest in Machado from the Yankees, Phillies, and White Sox has been well-documented in recent weeks, but the Dodgers haven’t been mentioned in free-agent discussions since the superstar departed from the organization following the World Series.

Los Angeles acquired Machado from the Baltimore Orioles in July for five players as it prepared for a playoff run.

The 26-year-old wound up hitting .273/.338/.487 with 13 home runs and 42 RBIs in 66 regular-season games for the Dodgers, but only managed to put together a .227/.278/.394 slash line during the postseason.

He was also in the spotlight for some of the wrong reasons during his short time with the Dodgers. His comments regarding hustle, along with his questionable play in the National League Championship Series against the Milwaukee Brewers, didn’t go over well. It’s been reported his antics aren’t likely to affect his free-agent stock, however.

It’s unknown what the supposed Dodgers’ offer to Machado is, or when they submitted it.

The White Sox reportedly made a seven-year, $175-million offer, though a separate report claimed their proposal was for eight years and $250 million.

Meanwhile, the Yankees’ recent acquisitions of DJ LeMahieu and Troy Tulowitzki doesn’t leave a lot of room for Machado in New York, while the Phillies appear more focused on adding fellow free agent Bryce Harper.