The Baseball Hall of Fame ballot for 2019 is out. This is the first year of eligibility for Derek Jeter. If he does not get on this induction cycle, they should drug test everyone who voted against him. I wonder if Jeter’s candidacy has what the politicos call “coattails”. Jeter was the Yankees’ captain from 2003 to 2014. Can his momentum getting into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot inspire folks on the Veterans’ Committee to elect a former Yankees’ captain – – Don Mattingly – – to the Hall as well?
For the record, five former Yankees’ captains are already in the Hall of Fame
- Clark Griffith
- Wee Willie Keeler
- Frank Chance
- Babe Ruth
- Lou Gehrig
The other player on the ballot I think should get in – – but likely will not – – is Curt Schilling. He started 19 post-season games over his 20-year career and his record in those games was 11-2. In those games he pitched 133.1 innings with an ERA of 2.23; he struck out 120 batters and only walked 25. Personally, that looks dominant enough for me…
Switching gears… Often, I – and other sports commentators – speak of coaches or managers who are “on the hot seat”. In fact, it is an annual feature in my NFL preview rants here. However, there should be the same level of scrutiny attached to that group of players who have drawn attention to themselves in one way or another and who may not have lived up to the standards implied by the attention drawn by themselves.
Note, I am also talking here about players who get overly inflated contracts from teams that decided to overpay them and about players who were drafted much sooner than they should have been. In those cases, the player is on a hot seat as a result of the actions of others. But that seems fair because coaches are on a hot seat because of the actions/failures of others too.
As a first pass at this idea, let me limit my musings to NFL players for the moment. If this idea is inspiring in some way, I may extend it to baseball and basketball sometime down the road. In alphabetical order:
- Odell Beckham, Jr.: He brought attention to himself in myriad ways during his days with the Giants and then convinced the Browns to pay him big bucks – reported to be $95M with $65M guaranteed. So far, in 13 games for the Browns, he has caught 48 passes for 692 yards and 1 TD. Those are pedestrian numbers…
- Le’Veon Bell: After sitting out all of the 2018 season, engaging in a public spitting match with the Pittsburgh Steelers over a new long-term contract, and producing/releasing his first rap album, he signed on with the Jets as a free agent for 4-years and $52.5M with $25M fully guaranteed. So far, in 10 games for the Jets, he has carried the ball 161 times for 508 yards. He has also caught 46 passes for an additional 309 yards. His 3.2 yards per rushing attempt is less than his season average at any time in his career AND his 6.7 yards per reception is also lower than his season average at any time in his career. Those are not the numbers one might have expected…
- Jared Goff: His performance has regressed from last season to this one after the Rams signed him to a contract extension of 4 years and $134M with $110M guaranteed. In 10 games for the Rams in 2019, the following stats are down from the previous two seasons – – completion percentage, touchdown percentage, yards per pass attempt, yards per completion, QB Rating. In those same 10 games for the Rams in 2019, the following stat is up from the previous 2 seasons – – interception percentage. That cannot be the level of performance envisioned by the Rams when they signed that contract extension…
- Marcus Mariota: He is in the final year of his rookie contract after being drafted #2 overall in 2015. He was to earn $20.2M this season and he has already been replaced as the starter by Ryan Tannehill – a QB I refer to as a Lake Woebegone QB because he is slightly above average. Because he was so highly regarded coming into the NFL, he is likely to get a contract with someone during the NFL’s free agency period – – but it will not be anything near the 9-figure deals that are being handed out to top-shelf QBs these days. The next time he gets a chance to start, he needs to shine – – lest the sun set on his career.
- Mitchell Trubisky: He is only in his third year in the NFL and my inclination is to avoid judgements on player development so early in a career. However, in 2019, Mitchell Trubisky has been certifiably awful. He has only averaged 5.6 yards per pass attempt and only 9.0 yards per catch; those are substandard numbers for a starting NFL QB. In 10 games this season, the Bears have only scored more than 20 points twice – – and one of those times was against a woeful Washington team. Trubisky is not yet any sort of “salary cap burden” for the Bears – – but he is an on-field burden that the defense must carry.
- Jameis Winston: He is in the final year of his rookie contract after being drafted #1 overall in 2015. He was to earn $20.9M this season and the Bucs need to decide if they are going to sign him as their long-term franchise QB soon. From the time he entered the NFL, Winston has shown signs of brilliance – – and signs of dysfunction. Going into last week’s game against the Saints, Winston had thrown a league-leading 14 INTs; he proceeded to throw 4 more last week. He augments his interception numbers with fumbles; he has committed 11 of those in 2019. Having been the overall #1 pick in the draft, he will find employment in the NFL – – but his last 5 games in 2019 will need to be eye-popping if he hopes to get any contract offers that might make splashy headlines.
Finally, here is a cogent observation from Brad Rock, formerly with the Deseret News:
“A Puerto Rican doubles bowling team has been stripped of its gold medal at the Pan Am Games for a doping violation.
“How that would help pick up a 7-10 split is anyone’s guess.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………