Saturday, November 30, 2019

Roberto Alomar's Two Big Contracts: Were They Worth It? 11/30/19

Hey baseball fans!

With the Winter Meetings fast approaching, let's again dive into some of baseball's most famous free agency moves to see their outcomes. Reggie Jackson was the topic of my last post, but now we're going to another Hall of Famer, this time a slick infielder: Roberto Alomar!

Roberto Alomar is one of the greatest second basemen in baseball history. In 17 big league seasons, he amassed over 2,700 hits and batted .300 on the dot. He began his career with the Padres in 1988, made his first All Star Game in 1990, then got traded with Joe Carter to the Blue Jays prior to the 1991 season. I could do an entire post about that trade alone, but it would be too simple to say that the Blue Jays killed the Friars in the deal. Toronto won both the 1992 and 1993 World Series, thanks largely in part to Carter's playoff heroics (particularly in Game Six of '93) and Alomar's skillful play in the regular season. In his career with the Blue Jays from 1991-1995, Alomar made five All Star Games, won five Gold Gloves, and averaged 166 hits a season.

This post will be a double-feature because Alomar signed two big free agency deals during his career. The first came in December of 1995, when he signed a three-year contract with the Orioles. The O's hadn't won a World Series or been to the playoffs since 1983 and were looking to make a push for the AL pennant in '96. Alomar had a great three years in Charm City, winning two more Gold Gloves, making three more All Star Games, and averaging 165 hits a season. He was more injury-prone during his time with the Orioles, but they still managed playoff berths in 1996 and 1997. Nonetheless, the Orioles couldn't make it to the World Series in either year and still own the longest active World Series appearance drought among AL teams that have made the World Series (sorry, Mariners).

Alomar was again granted free agency after the 1998 season and signed with the Indians. He ended up getting traded from Cleveland in 2001, so this stint was also three years. The Indians needed a boost after losing the World Series in both 1995 and 1997, keeping their World Series championship drought alive (which is still active, lasting since 1948). So they needed someone to put them over the AL giants like the Yankees, who were in the midst of a dynasty. Alomar put together arguably the best three years of his career while in Cleveland. In '99 and '01, he placed within the top five in MVP voting and set career highs in home runs, RBIs, and runs scored. However, the Indians didn't win anything with Alomar, so Roberto's only career World Series rings come from north of the US border.

It's quite tough to say, but I don't think Alomar's contracts were worth it in both Baltimore or Cleveland. Don't get me wrong: Roberto Alomar is one of the few faces of baseball in the 1990s, but the Orioles and Indians didn't win, despite Alomar's help. But what if he signed with the Braves, Mets, or back with the Padres after his time in Toronto? Would he have led those teams to championships? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Jackson to the Yankees: Was It Worth It? 11/19/19

Hey baseball fans!

We are officially in the baseball offseason! In honor of this, the next couple of posts are going to be about some of the biggest free agent signings in MLB history and if they were worth it or not. In this first post, let's focus our attention on Mr. October himself, Reggie Jackson!

Jackson was one of the best sluggers in baseball in the late 1960s and early 1970s, mostly with the Oakland A's. In his time with the A's (and Orioles in 1976), excluding 1967, he averaged 31 homers and 91 RBIs a season. He was a member of Oakland's back-to-back-to-back championship rosters from 1972-1974 and was a particular help in '73, when he took home regular season and World Series MVP honors. But after his 1976 season, Jackson was granted free agency. Looking to make an impact and boost his already-big ego, he made lots of noise by signing with the New York Yankees in one of the first big free agency signings in MLB up to that point. The Yankees had been pretty putrid for most of the decade and thought that Jackson would bring them back to the Fall Classic. Spoiler alert: he sure did.

Jackson's time in New York from 1977-1981 was on par with what he did on the West Coast, for sure. As a Yankee, he averaged 29 homers and 92 RBIs a year, along with a .281 batting average. He came in second in the MVP voting in 1980, hitting .300 with 41 homers and 111 RBIs, all highs for his time in the Bronx. The Yankees, themselves, also benefited from Jackson's five-year stint. They won the AL East every year, except 1979, and even made the World Series in 1977, 1978, and 1981. Although they lost the World Series in '81, 1977 and 1978 were the Yanks' 21st and 22nd franchise championships, milestones that only the Yankees and Montreal Canadiens have tasted in American professional sports. Jackson made his presence known in the '77 Series against the Dodgers, hitting three homers on three consecutive swings in the clinching Game Six, giving him MVP honors for the Series, making him the first player in baseball to win the World Series MVP on two different teams.

Although Jackson is the all-time leader in strikeouts by a hitter, he still showed an insane amount of power during his 21-year career. He was so great, in fact, that he is in the Hall of Fame. And guess what logo is on his plaque in Cooperstown? That's right, the Yankees' "NY." So, yeah, I think this signing was worth it for the Yanks, even if former manager Billy Martin might say otherwise. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Who's In, Who's Out: The 2020 Modern Baseball Era Hall of Fame Ballot 11/7/19

Hey baseball fans!

The MLB just released its 2020 Modern Baseball Era Hall of Fame ballot, which consists of players who played their careers from 1970-1987. Naturally, I have to give my predictions and opinions on who's getting into the Hall on the ballot, so that's what this post is about!

Most Likely to Get In: Steve Garvey
Why? The ten-time All Star is the National League's Lou Gehrig, playing in an NL-record 1,207 consecutive games. A legend in the Dodgers and Padres organizations, Garvey helped his teams to five pennants, establishing himself as one of the best contact-hitting first basemen in baseball history. Out of everyone on the Modern Era ballot, he's got the best shot at induction.

The Yankees Who Have a Shot: Don Mattingly, Tommy John, and Thurman Munson
Why? Three Yankee legends are on the fence regarding the Hall. Mattingly had a great seven years, so his JAWS is fantastic, but wasn't himself for the latter half of his career due to back problems. Munson was one of the best catchers of the 1970s, but a fatal plane crash in 1979 cut his career short. John, in my opinion, has the best shot of getting in out of these three. His 288 wins rank 26th on the all-time list and is 3.34 career ERA is totally HoF-worthy, especially considering he pitched for 26 years.

Others Who Deserve a Look: Dave Parker and Ted Simmons
Why? Parker had an extraordinary swing that terrorized pitchers for years and is one of the tougher decisions on the Modern Era ballot this year because of his versatility. He batted .290 lifetime with 339 career homers and 1,493 career RBIs. Simmons is an interesting case, too. He was essentially Thurman Munson's NL counterpart, batting .285 lifetime and collecting 2,472 career hits, both excellent stats for a catcher.

The Others: Lou Whitaker, Dwight Evans, and Dale Murphy
Why? Sorry, Braves fans, but I'm not a big Dale Murphy fan. He had a great start to his career, but completely fizzled out by the time he retired. Whitaker put up good stats in Detroit alongside my Hall of Fame birthday buddy, Alan Trammell, but the class is too stacked with guys who deserve induction much more. Lastly, Evans has the Gold Gloves, but unless you're Ozzie Smith, you don't get inducted into the Hall of Fame on just your fielding skills.

So, my prediction for who gets in is as follows: Garvey, John, and Simmons. Do you agree or disagree? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."