My heart and mind have departed the shell of my body as the longing for warmer weather and batted ball became too much for them to bear. Rumor season has its perks, but I prefer the substance of games played over the theory of how those games will play out. That's just me though, and there are some fun loose ends to tie up.
There are reports of reports out there indicating that Tanaka will not be allowed to leave the Rakuten Eagles for Major League Baseball. I'm fairly skeptical of all that noise and will continue to treat reports with a healthy dose of skepticism until actual news is broken by Rakuten's management. The Eagles are poised to make Tanaka the highest paid Japanese player in history (8MM AAV) but this feels like a story that's just hitting the slow climb to the apex.
Balfour was signed by the Orioles but a medical issue arose and the deal is at an impasse. It's likely that even with the failed medical the Orioles will offer another more team friendly contract ala what the Boston Red Sox did with Mike Napoli but...he's an interesting name for the Cubs to consider. The Cubs have retooled their bullpen a bit and while the have a capital C Closer in Jose Veras a few more security blankets wouldn't hurt. Odds are good that a few of the 'pen arms will be flipped at the deadline so why not take a stab at getting another commodity?
On the Hall of Fame
I have a funny relationship with baseball. I find the historical landscape of the game fascinating beyond measure. Before I fell in love with anything the game had to offer I fell in love with its history. I still care about the Hall of Fame. I haven't been yet but I do want to make my journey when Frank Thomas gets in (as an aside, Thomas was my first baseball hero. I grew up in the southwest side during the 90's, it was inevitable). Logic and statistical output states that he should be in, but the context runs counter of both stats and logic here. There are a lot of terrific ideas on how to fix the Hall. One guy is even turning in a ballot with 11 votes because he thinks 11 guys deserve to get in. I wish baseball would listen to us on this one. As a guy with a fetish for baseball history I desperately want to see this get fixed.
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