Dec 1, 2012, 12:31 AM EDT
Jeff Bagwell gave the Hall of Fame voters an easy way out. Sure, his body of work leaves him qualified for Cooperstown based on the standards for first basemen, but he didn’t bat .300 for his career or hit 500 homers. His one MVP season came in strike-shortened 1994. That’s also the only year he led the league in a Triple Crown category.
Thus, a Hall of Fame voter can look at Bagwell’s record and say it’s not quite Hall of Fame worthy, all without getting into the messy steroid issue.
Will they be able to do the same for Mike Piazza? A career .308/.377/.545 hitter with 427 homers in 16 seasons, Piazza is pretty obviously the greatest offensive catcher the game has ever seen. His 143 OPS+ is well in front of any other player to catch at least 70 percent of his games. Joe Mauer is next at 135, and he’s yet to enter his decline phase. Mickey Cochrane is third at 129, followed by Bill Dickey and Johnny Bench.
Of course, Piazza’s defensive reputation was shaky at its best, dreadful at its worst. But that was mostly (almost entirely?) due to his arm. It doesn’t seem like he ever held back his his teams. Here are the NL ERA ranks from all of Piazza’s staffs in his years as a team’s primary catcher:
1993 Dodgers: 3rd
1994 Dodgers: 9th
1995 Dodgers: 2nd
1996 Dodgers: 1st
1997 Dodgers: 2nd
1998 Mets: 4th
1999 Mets: 5th
2000 Mets: 3rd
2001 Mets: 5th
2002 Mets: 5th
2005 Mets: 3rd
2006 Padres: 1st
So, how bad of a defensive catcher could he have been? In 12 years as a primary catcher, his pitchers finished in the top third of the league in ERA 11 times.
(And whether it’s worth pointing out or not, the 1994 Dodgers, the one odd ball on the list, had a 3.97 ERA with Piazza catching and a 5.28 ERA with Carlos Hernandez and Tom Prince behind the plate.)
All of this has been a long-winded way of saying there’s absolutely no way to justify leaving Piazza out of the Hall of Fame based on performance. We can argue whether Piazza is inner-circle or not, but he’s certainly a Hall of Famer according the numbers. Still, I’m guessing he’ll be left off 35-45 percent of the ballots when the votes are counted in January, despite never having failed a drug test.
And for that reason, I’m challenging Hall of Fame voters; if you don’t vote for him, call him out for using steroids. Say “I’m not voting for Piazza because I think he was a cheater.” Preferably present some evidence if you have it, but whether you do or not, make the reason clear. No wishy-washy stuff. There’s no excuse for leaving him off the ballot otherwise.
Jul 31, 2014, 2:21 PM EDT
A lefty masher is having a down year, but he can help out in Seattle.
Jul 31, 2014, 2:20 PM EDT
Recapping all of Thursday’s dealings in one spot.
Jul 31, 2014, 2:14 PM EDT
Parra’s offensive production has dropped off this season, falling about 50 points compared to his career norms, but he remains an excellent defensive corner outfielder capable of handling center field if needed.
Jul 31, 2014, 1:53 PM EDT
Tea leaves are fun.
Jul 31, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT
Not satisfied with adding Justin Masterson to the rotation yesterday, the Cardinals have added another veteran starter by acquiring John Lackey from the Red Sox. And, much like Boston’s deal to get Yoenis Cespedes from Oakland for Jon Lester, the Red Sox have prioritized the present by getting veterans Allen Craig and Joe Kelly in exchange.
Jul 31, 2014, 12:49 PM EDT
Seems that Gomes knows more about team chemistry than the people who hold him up as a paragon of good chemistry.
Jul 31, 2014, 12:38 PM EDT
Because the Dodgers can apparently never have too many current and former closers in the bullpen, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that they’re “trying hard” to acquire Joaquin Benoit from the Padres.
Jul 31, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT
It’s a win-win from where I’m sitting. In my basement studio. With shorts on beneath the suit jacket, even if I’m trying to look like I’m in an office.
Jul 31, 2014, 12:16 PM EDT
San Francisco released reliever Dan Runzler from Triple-A so that he can sign with the Orix Buffaloes in Japan, according to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com.
Jul 31, 2014, 11:50 AM EDT
Joe Saunders has been released from Triple-A by the Royals, who’re the fourth organization to cut bait on the veteran left-hander this season.
Jul 31, 2014, 11:32 AM EDT
I never understand the Royals.
Jul 31, 2014, 11:13 AM EDT
Tommy Milone was the odd man out in the A’s rotation before today, so there was really no place for him in Oakland following the Jon Lester trade.
Jul 31, 2014, 11:12 AM EDT
Because, if you haven’t noticed, they have not sewn up the AL West yet.
Jul 31, 2014, 10:47 AM EDT
Harvey was selected for the Futures Games as a 19-year-old and started 17 games at low Single-A with a 3.18 ERA and 106/33 K/BB ratio in 88 innings.
Jul 31, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT
The Sox did not get hosed here. Don’t believe that for a second.
Jul 31, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT
Emilio Bonifacio was available to the Cubs on a minor-league deal after being released by the Royals in February and now five months later they’re going to get something in return for the 29-year-old speedster.
Jul 31, 2014, 10:02 AM EDT
We didn’t see this coming!
Jul 31, 2014, 9:46 AM EDT
It just gets more complicated to make a trade after 4pm today.
Jul 31, 2014, 9:16 AM EDT
It was quite a tribute to Greg Maddux, actually.
Jul 31, 2014, 8:55 AM EDT
Trade rumors? Heck, he looks like he’s going to be a key piece for the Dodgers down the stretch.
- 2014 Trade Deadline Tracker 14
- Red Sox trade John Lackey to Cardinals for Allen Craig and Joe Kelly 64
- The Lester trade is a win-win 107
- BLOCKBUSTER: Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes heading to Oakland for Yoenis Cespedes 160
- The State of the Trade Deadline: Yesterday was pretty sleepy. Will general managers wake up today? 40
- Cardinals acquire Justin Masterson from Indians 49
- There’s a “very good chance” the Red Sox trade Lackey and Lester 53
- Hey, Rube: Phillies pay dearly for Amaro’s misguided loyalty 92
- Expert’s Corner: How to troll fans of all 30 teams (201)
- “Caucasians” t-shirts are hot sellers on Canadian Indian reservations (199)
- BLOCKBUSTER: Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes heading to Oakland for Yoenis Cespedes (160)
- Rangers’ retirement gifts for Derek Jeter: Yankees cowboy boots, signed George W. Bush photo (121)
- The Lester trade is a win-win (107)