• ESPN’s Jayson Stark wrote an excellent piece on Thursday in which he states that Carlos Delgado is the best player not to receive enough votes to make it past his first year on the National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot. Delgado, whose resume boasts 473 homers and ten consecutive 30-home run campaigns, was named on just 3.8 per cent of baseball writers’ ballots. A candidate must be named on at least five per cent to stay on the ballot for another year. The long-time Blue Jay was a victim of a stacked ballot and a system that limits writers to voting for 10 players. I’m sure Delgado is a bigger person than I am, but if I’m him, I’m still cursing Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod edged out Delgado for the American League MVP Award in 2003, a season in which Rodriquez has since has confessed to using steroids in. Would an MVP Award have helped Delgado reach the five per cent that he needed to stay on the ballot for another year? Who knows? But it certainly would’ve helped his case.
• In case you missed it, Langley, B.C., native Jordan Lennerton re-signed a minor league deal with the Detroit Tigers on New Year’s Eve. After belting 17 homers and posting a .382 on-base percentage (OBP) in triple-A for the Tigers in 2013, the 6-foot-2, 230-pound first baseman slumped to 10 homers in 2014 but still managed a solid .362 OBP.
• Sympathies go out to long-time Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Pat Hentgen, whose father Pat Sr., passed away last Sunday at the age of 71. Hentgen, who was the Blue Jays bullpen coach in 2013, took the 2014 campaign off to spend time with his ailing father. You can read the senior Hentgen’s obituary and leave condolences here.
• So how did newly elected National Baseball Hall of Famer Randy Johnson get the nickname “The Big Unit”? Well, it turns out that Montreal Expos great and Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer Tim Raines is responsible. The story goes that, in 1988, the 6-foot-10 Johnson, then a rookie with the Expos, was shagging fly balls during batting practice when he collided with Raines, prompting Raines to exclaim, “You’re a big unit!” The nickname has stuck.
• Kiley McDaniel of FanGraphs tweeted on Tuesday that the Toronto Blue Jays will ink 16-year-old Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. to a contract that includes a $3.2-million signing bonus when this year’s international signing period begins on July 2. McDaniel writes that the younger Guerrero’s bat speed and raw power are his biggest assets, though he doesn’t have the arm strength of his father.
• Stu Miller, who won 16 games for the St. Louis Cardinals’ Class-D PONY League affiliate in Hamilton, Ont., in 1950, passed away on January 4 at the age of 87 in Cameron Park, Calif., after a brief illness. Miller also pitched in parts of 16 big league seasons with the Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies, New York/San Francisco Giants, Baltimore Orioles and Atlanta Braves between 1952 and 1968. But he is, perhaps, best remembered for the balk he committed during the 1961 all-star game when a gust of wind blew him off the mound at Candlestick Park. In all, Miller won 105 games and posted a 3.24 ERA in 704 major league appearances. He’s survived by his wife, Jayne, two daughters, four sons and five grandchildren.
• Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reported on Friday that the Diamondbacks have talked with the Blue Jays about catcher Dioner Navarro. The D-Backs are in the market for a catcher after dealing Miguel Montero to the Chicago Cubs on December 9. Navarro requested a trade after the Blue Jays signed Canadian backstop Russell Martin to a five-year, $82-million contract on November 18.
• Canadian reliever John Axford (Port Dover, Ont.) confirmed to reporters prior to last night’s Baseball Canada banquet in Toronto that the Blue Jays are one of the teams that has expressed an interest in him this off-season. The 6-foot-5 right-hander split 2014 between the Cleveland Indians and Pittsburgh Pirates and posted a 3.95 ERA in 62 appearances. Axford was one of the National League’s best closers from 2010 to 2012 with the Milwaukee Brewers.
• This week’s trivia question: With Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez being elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, there are now five inductees – Johnson, Martinez, Tony Perez, Gary Carter and Andre Dawson – that played for the Montreal Expos. But there are also three Hall of Famers that have managed or coached for the Expos. Can you name them? Please provide your answer in the “Comments” section below. The first person with the correct answer will win a 1988 Fleer John Smoltz rookie card, 1989 Topps Randy Johnson rookie card, 1989 Topps Craig Biggio rookie card and a 1992 Upper Deck Pedro Martinez rookie card.
Frank Robinson, Dick Williams and Duke Snider and Larry Doby managed or coached in Montreal
Nice work, Brent. I wasn’t counting Snider, but I thought I would stump people on Doby. Thanks again. I will mail the cards out to you tomorrow.
I never would of thought of Doby but recently I saw a photo of him Coaching for Montreal. To be honest I was surprised to find out that he did Coach in Montreal.
The article Stark wrote was a great one about Delgado
Axford to Toronto is interesting. Could be a good move.
Thanks for the comment, Devon. Yes, I wrote about Axford being a potential target of the Blue Jays a couple of months ago. My guess is that it will happen. The question will then become, what role will he have in the Jays pen?
wow..packed with info Kevin. Great job.
With Cabrera having surgery, maybe Jordan will get a better look in spring training.
Thanks for the comment, Scott. Yes, maybe Lennerton will see some big league time with Cabrera potentially out.