Los Angeles – The IBWAA released its 2015 Hall of Fame election ballot Tuesday, with the names listed below. Balloting will take place electronically betweenDecember 1 and December 31, 2014, with the results being released via Twitter on Tuesday, January 6, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. PST.

The IBWAA ballot compares identically to the BBWAA ballot, with the following exceptions:

  1. Craig Biggio’s name does not appear on the IBWAA ballot because he was elected by the group in 2014.
  2. Mike Piazza’s name does not appear on the IBWAA ballot because he was elected by the group in 2013.
  3. Barry Larkin’s name does appear on the ballot because he has not reached the 75% threshold in an IBWAA election.

Per a group decision in 2013, the IBWAA allows members to vote for 15 players, instead of the previous 10, beginning with this election. Players’ names link to their respective pages on Baseball-Reference.com.

Returning candidates: Jeff BagwellBarry BondsRoger ClemensJeff Kent , Barry Larkin (elected by BBWAA in 2012), Edgar MartinezDon MattinglyFred McGriffMark McGwireMike MussinaTim RainesCurt SchillingLee SmithSammy SosaAlan Trammell and Larry Walker.

First-time candidates: Rich AurilliaAaron BooneTony ClarkCarlos DelgadoJermaine DyeDarin ErstadCliff FloydNomar GarciaparraBrian GilesTom GordonEddie GuardadoRandy Johnson,Pedro MartinezTroy PercivalJason SchmidtGary SheffieldJohn Smoltz

Ballot tabulations by Brian Wittig & Associates.

The IBWAA was established July 4, 2009 to organize and promote the growing online baseball media, and to serve as a digital alternative to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA). Voting for full season awards takes place in September of each year, with selections being announced in November. The IBWAA also holds a Hall of Fame election in December of each year, with results being announced the following January.

In 2010, the IBWAA began voting in its own relief pitcher category, establishing the Rollie Fingers American League Relief Pitcher of the Year and the Hoyt Wilhelm National League Relief Pitcher of the Year Awards.
Among others, IBWAA members include Jim Bowden, Jim Caple, Mike Petriello, David Schoenfield, Mark A. Simon and Dan Szymborski, ESPN.com; Kevin Baxter Los Angeles Times; Tim Brown, Yahoo! Sports; Craig Calcaterra, NBC Sports Hardball Talk; Bill Chuck, GammonsDaily.com; Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch; King Kaufman, Bleacher Report; Kevin Kennedy, Kostya Kennedy, Sports Illustrated; Jonah Keri, Grantland; Vlae Kershner, SFGate.com; Chuck Culpepper and Will Leitch, Sports on Earth; Jill Painter Lopez, FoxSportsWest.com, Bruce Markusen, Hardball Times; Ross Newhan; Dayn Perry and Matt Snyder, CBSSports.com; Mark Purdy, San Jose Mercury News; Eno Sarris and Wendy Thurm, FanGraphs; Tom Hoffarth and J.P. Hoornstra Los Angeles Daily News; Pedro Moura, Orange County Register; Neil Payne, FiveThirtyEight.com, Tracy Ringolsby, MLB.com, Ken Rosenthal, FoxSports.com, Dan Schlossberg, USA Today and Jesse Spector, Sporting News.

Association membership is open to any and all Internet baseball writers, with a yearly fee of $20, or $35 lifetime. Discounts for groups and scholarships are available. Members must be 18 years of age to apply.

For more information please visit www.ibwaa.com.

MY IBWAA Awards ballot

While filling out my IBWAA awards ballot, I noticed something. The Mets had arguably the best class of rookies this year.
Certainly in terms of the National league, the Mets had a handful of reasonable quality players compared to the rest of the league.
First off is the guy who should be Rookie of the Year for the National League, Jacob deGrom.
deGrom has had a great season and the nation became aware of him after he tied a major league record with 8-straight strikeouts to start a game. It was immediately after that game that Howard Cole posted on @IBWAA that voters could not change their ballots. My guess? People voted for the wrong guy.
They should have voted for deGrom.

A dream that was the Mets

The dream:

Mets trade Dillon Gee, Jon Niese, Reuben Tejada and Matt den Dekker to Colorado for Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowiski.

Rotation: Matt Harvey, Zach Wheeler, Bartolo Colon, Jacob deGrom, Rafael Montero / Noah Syndergaard

Lineup: 1. Curtis Granderson RF, 2. Daniel Murphy 2B, 3. Troy Tulowitski SS, 4. David Wright 3B, 5. Carlos Gonzalez LF, 6. Lucas Duda 1B, 7. Travis d’Arnaud C, 8. Juan Lagares CF, 9. Pitcher

Flip CarGo and Grandy if you want, but in this dream scenario the Mets fill all their biggest needs in one big trade. The problem Mets fans refuse to acknowledge is that the Rockies may not want to trade their stars to the Mets. They may actually want to keep all-star quality players. I know they won’t move them for the package I posited. “But Gee and Niese are quality pitchers and den Dekker would help track down balls that don’t go over the fence.” Even if I added a Brandon Nimmo or Dominic Smith, I still wouldn’t trade both Gonzalez and Tulowitski for that package. I might not even trade one of them for that package. Keep dreaming. Don’t overvalue Niese. Apparently the league don’t see him as a very valuable asset. http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2014/08/curtis-granderson-jon-niese-clear-revocable-waivers.html

The optimistic realist:

Mets trade deGrom, Montero, Tejada, den Dekker and Matt Reynolds for Troy Tulowitski.

Mets sign OF Nick Markakis to a 3-year $45 million deal

Rotation: Harvey, Niese, Wheeler, Colon, Gee / Syndergaard

Lineup: 1. Curtis Granderson RF, 2. Daniel Murphy 2B, 3. Troy Tulowitski SS, 4. David Wright 3B, 5. Markakis LF, 6. Lucas Duda 1B, 7. Travis d’Arnaud C, 8. Juan Lagares CF, 9. Pitcher

In this scenario, the Rockies go after everyone they were purported to have scouted in this report.

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2014/08/east-notes-mets-red-sox-robertson.html They may not want both Tejada and Reynolds (and will ask for another prospect) or they may see one as a second baseman. Either way, I think the Rockies will not be likely to move Tulo. If they wanted Niese they would have claimed him. Markakis has a $17.5 million club option which may be too rich for Baltimore, especially with Chris Davis and Matt Weiters needing contracts soon. And while that deal can also maybe go to Alex Rios instead, Markakis is the best power bat possibly available. We lose upside on our rotation, but it still looks like a contender.


The realist realist:

Mets trade Niese, deGrom or Montero, and Kevin Plawecki or an outfield prospect (Somewhere between Nimmo and Cesar Puello) to the Cubs for Starlin Castro (Or maybe CarGo)

Mets sign Rios or Asdrubal Cabrerra to three year deal (depending on who they get for trade)

Rotation: Harvey, Wheeler, Colon, Gee, deGrom or Montero/Syndergaard

Lineup: 1. Castro/Cabrera RF, 2. Daniel Murphy 2B, 3. David Wright 3B, 4. Granderson LF, 5. Rios/Gonzalez LF 6. Lucas Duda 1B, 7. Travis d’Arnaud C, 8. Juan Lagares CF, 9. Pitcher

Flip Rios/CarGo and Duda if you’d like. I feel like Castro and GarGo are the second tier of trade candidates. Thus I feel Niese can be a part of those deals. We’ll still need to give up serious prospects though. Listen we can’t just get Castro for Neise, Gee and Tejada. As Mets fans we have inflated values attached to our players. This isn’t the ideal solution, but I think it’s the one the Mets can most realistically pull off.

The pessimistic realist:

The Mets trade Colon and Reynolds/Plawecki for Andre Ethier and cash.

Rotation: Harvey, Niese, Wheeler, Gee, deGrom/Montero/Syndergaard

Lineup: 1. Grandy RF, 2. Daniel Murphy 2B, 3. David Wright 3B, 4. Ethier LF, 5. Lucas Duda 1B, 6. Travis d’Arnaud C, 7. Wilmer Flores SS, 8. Juan Lagares CF, 9. Pitcher

Flip Lagares, Flores or the pitcher if you want. Here’s what the cynic looks at. We rid ourselves of Colon’s money, and move a prospect to keep some of Ethier’s money away (it would have to be a good prospect). Surprise here’s the first Flores sighting. Why hasn’t he shown up before? http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/baseballinsider/notes-ny-mets-syndergaard-montero-flores-herrera-plawecki-blog-entry-1.1900447 Mets people say, “Flores is not a shortstop.” But he is cost effective for the spot and maybe works out like Murphy, a below average fielder who rises to average with time at the position while also adding enough hitting. As for Ethier, he hits harder than den Dekker or Kirk Nieuwenhuis and would be an upgrade power wise. But I am not expressly for Ethier. If it were Matt Kemp I’d take a chance that he returns to MVP quality.


The fan’s nightmare:

The Mets trade Daniel Murphy and Bartolo Colon for prospects.

Rotation: Harvey, Niese, Wheeler, Gee, deGrom/Montero/Syndergaard

Lineup: 1. Tejada SS 2. Grandy RF, 3. David Wright 3B, 5. Lucas Duda 1B, 6. Travis d’Arnaud C, 7. Flores 2B, 8. Juan Lagares CF, 9. Pitcher

Fan favorites moved for prospects and Tejada is still the shortstop.


The real nightmare:

The Mets sign Nelson Cruz to a four year deal.

The Mets sign Jed Lowrie or Mike Aviles or maybe Stephen Drew. Or worse, JJ Hardy.

Really these guys are not upgrades, but the clamor of fans to just sign people could be placated by some of these signings. These signings will mean negligible improvements with much more salary piled on. I don’t think the Mets will do this, but it really would just doom us to be a team with great pitching and just enough hitting to be a .500 team. We wouldn’t have enough to win a World Series, and we’d finish out of the protected picks.

Standing room only at Mets opening day 2014.

Bought me some tix to opening day, expect some vids and posts soon.

A possible batting order

I was driving around this morning (I do my best thinking while driving) and I had a thought about how I’d set up the batting order. The most interesting thing is also the first thing.

Bullpen rankings

This weekend I’ll start my bi-weekly bullpen rankings.

Later this week and next week, I’ll sound off on replay, the qualifying offer and the Met’s fifth starter.

Bullpen help

The Mets recently signed a pair of bullpen options to minor league deals. Both are past their prime but could potentially be lighting in a bottle snags.
Jose Valverde is the one who was most recently a closer, however, he didn’t find a job at all last year until well after pitchers and catchers reported . He was good for a short string of starts and then unraveled again and was not heard from the rest of the season. The potential quality is more tantalizing than Kyle Farnsworth. Farnsworth is a hard-thrower. He always has been. It makes him very good when he gets the ball past people, but he doesn’t consistently get the ball past people.
Both could make the roster out of camp or both may be cut or assigned to the minors. Both are former closers and could step in is Bobby Parnell isn’t 100 percent heading into the seasons. The bright side is that last year we brought in a guy in LaTroy Hawkins who may have had even less upside than these two. Now Hawkins is closing for Colorado. So you never know. I’s always felt it’s best to bring in a bunch of cheap gambles in the bullpen and mix in farm system guys. You’ll find that last year’s failure can be this year’s stud and vice versa when it come to the bullpen. He’s hoping we have more studs than failures.

Why John Lannan is a great signing

The Mets are done with major signings, but there is still some space to fill out with smaller signings. For instance, the Mets shored up the bench by bringing back Omar Quintanilla. That’s not the piece that will win the World Series for the Mets, but it at lest makes them as good as they were last year. There is also some talk about adding some names to the bullpen mix, such as former Cardinals closer Mitchell Boggs.

But the best small ticket item the Mets brought in is John Lannan. (more…)

Hall of Fame Fallout-IBWAA

In 48 hours since the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America announced their Hall of Fame elections, they have already made a change in advance of their 2014 vote for the class of 2015.

First off, however, congrats to Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas and Craig Biggio. I only voted for one of those players, but wholeheartedly support each of their inductions.

The reason I didn’t vote for Maddux, Thomas, and Biggio was I was certain they would get in without my vote (I was wrong to worry about Glavine getting in and also Jeff Kent staying on the ballot). Since, I only had 10 votes to get people in, I felt justified, if saddened, to leave those players off the ballot to give chances to others.

However, that issue has been addressed. In 24 hours, the IBWAA reached consensus on expanding the vote to a maximum of 15 players per ballot next year. I can only tell you that greatly helps the situation.

The final vote was 56-48. There was a vote shortly before the latest round of balloting for the vote upcoming in 2014, but IBWAA founder Howard Cole said that there was limited response to that vote. Now with only a few less than the casted Hall of Fame votes (104 ballot expansion votes vs 113 hof votes), the group has made a decision.

In contrast, the BBWAA created a committee to review whether to bring the question of expansion to 15 to the Hall of Fame last month. The jury is still out.

Lifetime member

I was one of the 56 in favor of expanding the vote. Just as with the 10 person limit, you don’t have to fill in 15 total names. If you don’t think there are 15 hall of famers on the list, you don’t have to use all 15 slots. However, times change and the current unload of very talented players on the last few ballots, and the next few, may require some wiggle room.

This is the good thing about the IBWAA. They are willing to approach change. They are willing to enact change. I understand trying to keep our voting process similar to that of the Cooperstown Hall of Fame. It was a close vote on whether or not to increase. Adding more slots could lead to more players getting elected, which could lead to watering down the honor. I get that. But I don’t think weathering the storm or muscling through the backlog is the right idea. The IBWAA will now never be able to debate Don Mattingly as a player, he fell off the ballot this time through, only catching 4.42% of the ballot. If I had 15 slots, I might have voted for him (out of a pool of Kent, Tim Raines and Alan Trammell). That one vote would have kept him on to debate another year.

The IBWAA currently uses the same formula to induct players into our hall of fame as the BBWAA uses to induct players into the Cooperstown Hall of Fame. 75% of the vote gets you in, 5% keeps you on. I was in favor of either increasing the number of names that could go on the ballot, or decreasing the threshold where a player falls off the ballot to 1%. I think the ballot increase was the better option.

Now for the next part of this article, we’ll need the results from the IBWAA election.


Complete 2014 voting results are as follows:

Player Name, Votes, Percentage

Greg Maddux, 111, 98.23%, Tom Glavine, 100, 88.50%, Frank Thomas, 95, 84.07%,Craig Biggio, 89, 78.76%

Jeff Bagwell, 78, 69.03%, Barry Bonds, 65, 57.52%, Roger Clemens, 64, 56.64%, Barry Larkin, 57, 50.44%, Tim Raines, 56, 49.56%, Curt Schilling, 42, 37.17%, Jack Morris, 36, 31.86%, Mike Mussina, 36, 31.86%, Edgar Martinez, 33, 29.20%, Jeff Kent, 27, 23.89%, Lee Smith, 26, 23.01%, Alan Trammell, 25, 22.12%, Mark McGwire, 16, 14.16%, Fred McGriff, 13, 11.50%, Larry Walker, 13, 11.50%, Sammy Sosa, 8, 7.08%, Rafael Palmeiro, 6, 5.31%

Don Mattingly, 5, 4.42%, Moises Alou, 2, 1.77%, Eric Gagne, 1, 0.88%, Luis Gonzalez, 1, 0.88%, Mike Timlin, 1, 0.88%, Armando Benitez, 0, 0.00%, Sean Casey, 0, 0.00%, Ray Durham, 0, 0.00%, Jacques Jones, 0, 0.00%, Todd Jones, 0, 0.00%, Paul Lo Duca, 0, 0.00%, Hideo Nomo, 0, 0.00%, Kenny Rogers, 0, 0.00%, Richie Sexson, 0, 0.00%, J.T. Snow, 0, 0.00%

This article was going to be about the dire straits that I would need to navigate to fit the list of deserving candidate down to 10. With the recent decision up that to 15, it actually makes the process bearable.

First here are the guys where we go, “Oh that’s cute, he got a vote.” For some it’s a capital offense to waste a vote, but I don’t mind someone substituting a marginal hall of famer for Mike Timlin. There’s a case to be made for everyone else who got a vote. Some are better than others, but there are cases to be made just the same.

Jack Morris failed to be elected in his 15th and final year of eligibility. Now it’s up to the veterans committee, of which the IBWAA currently has no analog, to vote in Morris.

That leaves 16 players on the ballot, with seven guys who may require votes hitting the list next year; Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Gary Sheffield, Brian Giles, Nomar Garciaparra, and Carlos Delgado.

That’s 23 potential names, but at least I won’t have 22 to cut down to 10 as I did this year. I’m not going to debate all the entries at this point; that can wait until December. But I won’t be voting for Sosa or Palmeiro next time around. Since both of those players were disciplined for performance enhancing transgressions (Sosa’s corked bat and Palmeiro’s failed drug test) they fall to the bottom of the list. I think they’re hall of famers, but they’re not getting my vote until I clear the ballot of other quality athletes.

Next year, I will vote for the front runners. I feel Randy Johnson should be the first unanimous inductee. If I had had 15 votes this year, I would have bestowed that honor to Maddux, but as possibly the best left-handed pitcher ever, I can’t think of anyone else better for the honor than Johnson. Since the only reason Maddux didn’t go in with 100% of the vote was the 10 vote limit, I have all the faith in the world Johnson is going to hit that mark. Unless there’s a bird lover who withholds his vote.

Not Encouraging

Tomorrow we find out if Mike Piazza makes it into the hall of fame or not. But if he does, what hat does he wear?

It’s not a decision to be made today, and the Cooperstown Hall of Fame has the final say.

But this is what’s on the Hall’s webpage. It’s not encouraging for Mets fan.

LA state of mind?

Piazza in a Dodgers hat?

A Dodger’s hat.

I feel like he’s said he wants to go in as a Met. And he should, he got the World Series berth as a Met and his career defining homerun record as a Met. Hall, please give Tom Seaver some company.

Also Craig Biggio‘s plague should either have that flower thing on it, or he should be depicted in a pine tar smeared batting helmet.

And if John Olerud had made the Hall he should have a batting helmet on his plaque, because of course.


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