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Bagwell, Pudge, Raines Set For Cooperstown Induction

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Three MLB legends are set to receive the highest honor in baseball. Jeff Bagwell, Ivan Rodgriguez and Tim Raines will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame this afternoon in Cooperstown, NY.

This is one of the more interesting classes in Cooperstown history in terms of reaction. Though Tim Raines’  long, long wait is over, the elections of Bagwell and Pudge have engendered different responses. Jose Canseco, baseball’s favorite Twitter personality and admitted steroid user, left no uncertainty about his thoughts. While Raines’ name has not come up in this conversation, Canseco has stated that both Bagwell and Rodriguez were users of PEDs, though both have denied this.

Despite all the speculation and controversy, here is an in-depth look at the players of your 2017 National Baseball Hall of Fame class.

Jeffrey Robert Bagwell: Houston Astros, 1991-2005 (seventh ballot)

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MLB.

Career statistics: .297 AVG, 449 HR, 1,529 RBI

Career highlights: 4x All-Star, 1991 NL Rookie of the Year, 1994 NL MVP, 1994 Gold Glove Award, 3x Silver Slugger Award, MLB record six consecutive seasons with 30 HR, 100 RBI, 100 runs scored and 100 walks, Houston Astros #5 retired.

Alongside Craig Biggio and Lance Berkman, Jeff Bagwell was one third of the Houston Astros’ feared slugging outfield, nicknamed The Killers B’s. The trio was Houston’s core for years and carried the team with its hitting prowess, power and strong defense. Bagwell was the primary supplier in the power department. His 449 homers are the most in Astros history and were key in the team’s run to the 2005 Fall Classic.

Like Biggio, Bagwell spent his entire career in an Astro uniform and was present for the some of the best moments in the history of the franchise. It is unknown if Berkman will one day be elected as well, but Bagwell now joins Biggio as one of only two Houston players with the team’s cap on his plaque.

Ivan Rodriguez Torres: Texas Rangers, 1991-2011 (first ballot)

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USA Today.

Career statistics: .296 AVG, 311 HR, 1,332 RBI.

Career highlights: 14x All-Star, 2003 World Series champion, 1999 AL MVP, 2003 NLCS MVP, 13x Gold Glove Award, 7x Silver Slugger Award, Texas Rangers #7 to be retired.

The gold standard of excellence at catcher during his career, Pudge Rodriguez’ defensive abilities behind the plate could rival that of even Johnny Bench. An MLB record 13 time Gold Glove awardee at catcher, baserunners had to think twice before trying to steal on Rodriguez, and it didn’t work out very well for them even when they did. Mike Piazza, arguably the greatest power-hitting catcher in MLB history, was inducted last season. Now his defensive counterpart is as well.

Though many speculated that Rodriguez’ frequent steroid allegations would keep him out of Cooperstown, Pudge is the only first ballot inductee this year.

Timothy Raines, Sr, Montreal Expos, 1979-2002 (tenth ballot)

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Sports Illustrated.

Career statistics: .294 AVG, 2,605 Hits, 170 HR, 980 RBI.

Career highlights: 7x All-Star, 3x World Series champion, 1986 Silver Slugger, Montreal Expos #30 retired.

Everyone loves a story of a person’s patience and perseverance paying off, and that’s exactly what you have with Tim Raines. The Expos legend became eligible for induction in 2008, but had to sit back year after year and watch his contemporaries get elected as he sat at home. Finally, on his last chance, Raines got the call, becoming the fifth player in MLB history to be inducted on his last ballot appearance (Red Ruffing, Joe Medwick, Ralph Kiner and Jim Rice also).

Raines may have been called the best baserunner of his day had it not been for Rickey Henderson. The left fielder’s 808 career stolen bases are fifth on the MLB’s all-time list, he led the NL in that category four times.

You can’t help but tip your cap to Raines. He waited patiently for years and now gets to reap the rewards. He is the most deserving honoree this year in my opinion.

I'm glad to have the opportunity to be on this site. Buffalo Sabres and Boston Red Sox fan. I'll gladly discuss both Hockey and Baseball with you. I'm open to differences of opinion.

MLB

Yankees’ Preparing Record-Setting Contract Offer for Gerrit Cole

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Gerrit Cole

The New York Yankees are looking to make free agent front-line starter Gerrit Cole an offer he simply cannot refuse.

According to the New York Times’ Bob Klapisch, the Yankees are working on a making a record-setting seven-year, $245 million contract offer to Cole, which would set  anew mark for pitchers in terms of overall value as well as average annual value.

According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman and Mark Feinsand, while the Yankees have not officially made the offer to Cole, they are not far from doing so. Cole and his agent Scott Boras have requested interested teams to submit their initial offers.

Cole is expected to draw interest from the Los Angeles Dodges and and the Los Angeles Angels, who could throw their hat in the ring of what could be a fevered bidding war to land Cole, who is widely considered to be the cream of the free agent crop this year.

The Yankees have made it their priority to sign Cole this offseason, and appear to be taking a clear, and aggressive approach, to get that deal done as soon as possible.

 

 

 

 

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MLB

Rays’ Blake Snell Rips Tommy Pham Trade During Twitch Stream

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Blake Snell

Tampa Bay Rays’ ace pitcher Blake Snell wasn’t a big fan of the Rays recent trading of Tommy Pham to the San Diego Padres for veteran outfielder Hunter Renfroe and infield prospect Xavier Edwards, and aired his thoughts during a recent stream on Twitch.

Snell, who is one of many MLB players trying to battle it out as one of the best Twitch channels, was streaming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare on one of his Twitch streams when the news initially broke regarding the trade, and offered his raw, unfiltered reaction.

Snell gripes that “We gave Pham up for Renfroe and a damn slapd–k prospect?”. While Snell went on to talk more on the trade, and even later apologized on the stream and told the the Tampa Bay Times he was just frustrated over losing Pham.

Pham was a big part of the Rays postseason run last season.

“I apologized on [Twitch] just saying I’m sorry I’m just upset we’re losing a guy like Tommy who helped our team in so many ways!” Snell said in a text to the Tampa Bay Times. “Didn’t mean any disrespect to Edwards who I didn’t know who he was until after I said that. I was just sad to lose Tommy. … Pretty much we could’ve got [Nationals rookie Juan] Soto, I was just sad to lose Tommy. It’s tough losing someone you respect so much and enjoy being around.”

“He actually reached out to me earlier today and explained that he was a good friend of Pham’s and he kind of just reacted in that moment and said what he said, but that he didn’t mean any disrespect or any hard feelings,” Edwards said. “I’ve got to take him at his word, and just looking forward to getting after it.”

Despite the apology, it didn’t stop the incident from hitting the top of Twitch news, sports news, and even esports news over the weekend.

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Chicago Cubs

Cubs Non-Tender Addison Russell

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Addison Russell

While the Chicago Cubs tendered contracts to six arbitration-eligible players for the 2020 season, there was one notable name they decided to non-tender: Addison Russell.

According to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, Russell, 25, will now hit free agency following five years with the Cubs, the last two proving to be rough for the infielder.

The Cubs tendered Russell for 2019 after he was suspended for 40 games near the end of the 2018 season for violating the league’s domestic abuse policies, forcing him to miss the first 28 games of the 2019 season.

Russell, a National League All-Star in 2016, was later demoted to the minors, after he struggled on the field.

“We decided to non-tender Addison Russell today simply because the role we expected him to play for the 2020 Cubs was inconsistent with how he would have been treated in the salary arbitration process,” Cubs president Theo Epstein said in a statement. “In the year since we decided to tender Addison a contract last November, he has lived up to his promise to put in the important self-improvement work necessary off the field and has shown growth, as a person, as a partner, as a parent and as a citizen. We hope and believe that Addison’s work will continue, and we have offered our continued support of him and his family, including [ex-wife] Melisa [Reidy].

“In the last year, the organization has also put in the important work necessary to bolster our domestic violence prevention training for all employees, all major league players, all minor league players and all staff. We also offered healthy relationship workshops for the players’ partners and provided intensive, expert domestic violence prevention training for player-facing staff. This heightened training and our increased community involvement on the urgent issue of domestic violence prevention will continue indefinitely. We wish Addison and his family well.”

Russel was a key factor in the Cubs winning the World Series after a 108 year drought back in 2016, with a Grand Slam in Game 6 which catapulted the Cubs back from a 3-2 deficit in the series.

 

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