Spare Parts: Freddy Garcia, Jon Garland make Hall of Fame ballot

Plus: The winter's first big trade, more catcher movement and another retirement

The Baseball Hall of Fame and the Baseball Writers Association of America released the newest Hall of Fame ballot, and while the year reads “2019,” it has a distinctly 2005 flavor.

Freddy Garcia is on there, and so is Jon Garland. On the other side, Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman make their debuts. This is to say that 2005 was a long time ago.

Travis Hafner also joins the fray to add some mid-2000s AL Central flair, and Kevin Youkilis and Juan Pierre give the list a couple more former Sox.

Mariano Rivera is the only lock among the new guys, but there are three  other players with compelling cases, but extraneous circumstances that make them difficult to compare:

*Roy Halladay, who was going to be a litmus test of sorts for the new era of starter, what with a win total that barely eclipsed 200. His untimely death makes him his own case, since it accelerated the appreciation cycle of his career.

*Todd Helton is a .316/.414/.539 career hitter with 2,519 hits, 369 homers and more walks than strikeouts, which puts him in the neighborhood of other Hall of Famers like Jeff Bagwell. Coors Field looms over everything, and he’ll be a better test of that environment than Larry Walker, whose support has been middling more because of all the injuries.

*Andy Pettitte, who happens to be a player some writers love. Except that he was caught up in the same PED scandal as Roger Clemens, whom some writers hate. Stock up on earplugs, because the cognitive dissonance could be deafening.

Edgar Martinez gets one year to gain 4.6 percent, but voters are usually kind to those who are going to fall off the ballot and have reached 70 percent. Mike Mussina is the only other incumbent to clear 60 (63.5 percent). Whether the backlog clears is more reliant on whether feelings about Pettitte help break the remaining ice for Clemens and Barry Bonds.

Spare Parts

The Yankees and Mariners struck the first major trade of the winter, with James Paxton heading to New York for a package headlined by Justus Sheffield. It’s not a dynamite return for a guy with overpowering stuff, but Paxton has just two years of control left, and he’s only reached 160 innings once, so there’s a chance both sides could be underwhelmed when the dust settles.

(The fact that Paxton has never threatened 200 innings means the label for “ace” is really getting stretched thin.)

Washington needed catching help like few other teams, but if the Marlins indeed have no interest in dealing J.T. Realmuto to a divisional rival, then they were going to have to look elsewhere. Enter Kurt Suzuki, who joined Tyler Flowers in Atlanta, and also joined Flowers in reversing career trends in Atlanta. He hit .276/.341/.485 in his two seasons with the Braves.

Tying up another loose thread, Jeff Mathis‘ deal with Texas is for two years and $6.25 million.

Carlos Rodon doesn’t have a lot of peers with his particular brand of shoulder surgery, so it’s more guesswork than normal in figuring out whether he can get all the way back after a healthy half-2018 and a full winter to recover and prepare. I like that James Fegan sneaked a Rodon question in for Scott Boras to break up what was a Bryce Harper– and Brodie Van Wagnenen-centric conference during the GM meetings.

And this just in:

Like Joe Mauer, Adrian Beltre didn’t seem to have any interest playing for anybody besides his current team, so a retirement announcement this winter isn’t surprising. Unlike Mauer, Beltre is going to cruise into Cooperstown, what with 3,166 hits and one of the greatest-ever gloves at third base.

Also unlike Mauer, his on-field sense of humor will be missed.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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That on deck circle stunt is so great. The ump should have given him a medal.

Josh Nelson

Something to monitor

Trooper Galactus

I don’t know what’s dumber, that Larry Walker isn’t already in the Hall or that one voter said he’d vote for Todd Helton before him.

As Cirensica

Both are equally dumb

Eagle Bones

I really hope Beltre is a no doubter for the hall, but is that really the thinking in the industry? Something tells me that the old guard is going to find something they don’t like about him (i.e. < 500 HR, a lot of his value from defense, etc.) and make it a little more borderline (at least on the first vote).


Frank Tanana Daiquiri? I did not expect to see him on this short list.

Trooper Galactus

If Musial were playing today, “Stat” would be a great nickname for him.


I’m still amazed how often Helton’s name shows up in the top 10 of various NCAA pitching stats.

lil jimmy

Stephens = this years Sally Fields


Clarkin claimed by the Cubs, can’t quite conjure an emotion other than, meh. 

Trooper Galactus

Well, the trick is them figuring out how to keep him on their roster for the season, which, given his injury history, might not actually be that hard.


They don’t have to keep him on the 25-man roster, as the White Sox tried to sneak him through waivers. The Cubs only have to keep him on the 40-man. Teams have to keep a player on the 25-man for the season if they select him in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft, which won’t happen until after the end of the December meetings.

Trooper Galactus

Oh, thanks for the clarification. Yeah, given how much they’ve emptied their farm system, I can’t imagine the Cubs would have any trouble holding him on their 25-man. Honestly, Clarkin had become a bit of an afterthought to me.

Trooper Galactus

*40-man, not 25-man.


It’s been a while since I posted something here, Still read some post, just didn’t really comment. (Sometime during or after the All-Star break) Good to be back.

If I’m not mistaken with Beltran retiring after the Astros won the World Series in 2017 and Beltre announcing his retirement, That leaves Bartolo Colon as the final remaining player that debuted in the 90’s that is still active which is kind of mind blowing seeing how he’s one of the last players you would expect to last this long and how much further away we are distancing ourselves from the 90’s.

As Cirensica

The only active former White Sox player before our WS win in 2005.

Still better pitcher than half of White Sox current rotation


One of the great joys of living in New York City was getting to see Colon’s HR live on TV. Gary Cohen’s call was more joyful than some pennant clinchers.

As for the pitcher rocked by Colon, I wish him well.


Suzuki link goes to his bref page, not the fangraphs article.