The fact of the matter is Ohtani doesn’t want to come to New York. He doesn’t want the media attention and responsibility that comes along with New York.
Certainly, Ohtani has spent his entire life in the limelight. He gets more attention than just about any baseball player. He understands the responsibilities that comes with being the best player in the game.
And yet, he’s being a bit short-sighted here, and thus, is making a mistake.
Frankly, the Mets history is replete with players who didn’t want to deal with New York. Even worse, it’s full of players who just don’t want the Mets.
However, for the most part, when they come here, they love it here.
The classic example was Keith Hernandez. He was devastated about the trade to the Mets. He was persuaded to stay, and it led to his being a beloved player with his number retired.
Time and again, Darryl Strawberry has said he regrets leaving the Mets. Players like Cliff Floyd and Billy Wagner were at one point skeptical of being a Met only to sign in free agents and cherish being a part of this team.
Mike Piazza was shockingly traded to the Mets. Even more of a shock, he’d get booed by the fans. Despite that, he signed a deal on the eve of free agency, became one of the most beloved players, and dons a Mets cap on his Hall of Fame plaque.
There was Curtis Granderson who came to the Mets in free agency after his New York Yankees tenure. He talked about how he heard Mets fans were real fans and later said Mets fans were louder.
Even a player like Carlos Beltran keeps finding his way back to the Mets. He didn’t initially want to come. The Wilpons made him want to leave, and yet he’s returned twice.
Point is there’s something special about being a Met. Even the most reluctant end up loving the experience and want to forever be a part of the franchise.
Ohtani is passing on that partially because he doesn’t want the New York media scrutiny and attention. Being fair here, that’s about to follow him anywhere he goes.
He’s also missing out on a city that would allow him to live somewhat in obscurity. After all, this is a city where Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino live. Harry Potter lives there. Hell, Spike Lee not only lives there, but he’s at every New York Knicks game.
New York comes with attention, but it also allows for a somewhat normal life. Being fair, Ohtani gets the same with Los Angeles.
With the Mets, Ohtani would get Steve Cohen who is not afraid to spend. He’s also an owner who wants his players to feel welcome and be like family.
There’s an adoring fanbase desperate to embrace him.
That’s not to say the Mets are the best fit for Ohtani. In the end, only Ohtani can figure that out for himself. To some degree, he has and is nearing a decision.
It’s just unfortunate he’s ruling out a team that could change his life for the better. Yes, the Mets need Ohtani, and he doesn’t need the Mets. That still doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be a great experience for him.
In the end, Ohtani should’ve given it more of a chance, and that is mostly why he’s making a mistake.
Back in 1998, Nelson Doubleday went down the hall and told Fred Wilpon the New York Mets were going to go out and get Mike Piazza. When Wilpon brought up the injured Todd Hundley (lost for most of that year), Doubleday said they were getting Piazza.
That was the way it was with Doubleday. He made sure the Mets went out and got the best players. He was in charge when they got Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter. Sure, it led to disaster with Bobby Bonilla, Vince Coleman, Eddie Murray, and Bret Saberhagen, but the team was always trying to bring in the best players.
Being fair to the Wilpons here, they did learn their lesson after they let Mike Hampton walk in free agency, and the team refused to go out and get Alex Rodriguez. When that 2000 pennant winner blew up with those decisions, they went out and got Omar Minaya and pivoted.
When Carlos Beltran and Pedro Martinez were free agents, Minaya made sure they were Mets. Then, the Madoff scandal happened, and the Mets would not bet the Mets again until Steve Cohen took over the franchise.
When the Wilpons were faced with having to sell, they hired Brodie Van Wagenen to completely mortgage the future and try to win one last World Series before they had to hand the franchise to someone else. Their big move and big salary they took on was Robinson Cano.
That was partially because Cano wanted to come back to New York, and Van Wagenen was doing a favor to his former client. It also helped the Seattle Mariners were eating money on the contract regardless of whether or not Cano was eligible to play.
That same offseason, Bryce Harper was a free agent. Harper was a player who belonged on the biggest stage. Harper loved the Mets pitching and was highly complimentary of them during the 2018 All-Star Game:
For a player that wanted to win, the Mets would have been in the conversation if the team pursued him. Instead, the Mets were set with Cano, and then they tried to sell us having no $30 million players is the same thing as having two.
With that, Harper went to the Philadelphia Phillies with him really having no other realistic suitors. Since that time, he has won the 2021 NL MVP and 2022 NLCS MVP. He has completely altered the trajectory of the Phillies franchise who is in consecutive NLCSs.
Helping Harper and the Phillies get there is Zack Wheeler. Van Wagenen tried to sell us they replaced Wheeler in the rotation with Marcus Stroman despite both pitching in the same rotation in 2019. He then went on to tell everyone Wheeler was only good for two halves of his entire career despite his being the best free agent starter on the market.
Wheeler asked the Mets to stay after he was almost traded to the Milwaukee Brewers. He asked to stay for less when he hit free agency. He didn’t want to uproot his New Jersey family making it between the Mets and Phillies for him. The Mets didn’t want him. Instead, we got Rick Porcello.
Wheeler has been a Cy Young caliber pitcher with the Phillies. He has been a postseason ace. With Harper, he has the Phillies back in the NLCS.
This never should have happened. This was Wilpon and Van Wagenen incompetence. Fortunately now, the Mets have an owner that is not going to let this type of nonsense happen again.
Earlier in the season, there was a debate amongst New York Mets fans on Mark Vientos. One camp said he’s done nothing in his 2-3 stints in the majors, and as a result, he probably isn’t going to be in the Mets future plans, and/or he’s not going to be a quality Major League player.
The other camp pointed to the sporadic playing time from Buck Showalter serving as an impediment to his being able to have success. At a minimum, the argument was he has to get an extended run to see what he could be. Well, with the Mets being out of it, and Showalter finally acquiescing, Vientos has gotten that extended look, and he has taken off:
Since August 29, Vientos is hitting .307/.349/.581 with a triple, five homers, and nine RBI. On the season, he is averaging an exit velocity of 93.6 MPH. Among players with 100 balls batted in play, Vientos leads the Mets, and he is fifth overall in the majors. (Anthony DiComo, mlb.com).
Keep in mind, his strikeout rate has stabilized to a more manageable 27% over this stretch. As Vientos has shown throughout his professional career, he can lower that number with more experience and adjustments.
With Vientos hitting the ball this hard and with this much power, he is earning a spot on the Mets 2024 roster.
For sure, there are going to be some complications. Pete Alonso blocks him at first. The Mets may go get Shohei Ohtani, who could be their DH as they await his return to the mound post Tommy John surgery. That leaves third base for him.
Admittedly, Vientos is the weakest defensive option there, but he has shown progress this season. His -1 OAA is a step in the right direction even if it is a very small sample size. Of note, this is a team with Eric Chavez as a coach, which would have you think he has the perfect mentor to get him up to speed at the position.
Part of the challenge there is Brett Baty is better regarded, but he has done nothing this season to prove he is ready. Moreover, he has been outplayed by Vientos all year.
The next challenge is Ronny Mauricio. With Mauricio, he too is proving he should be part of the Mets 2024 Opening Day roster.
Mauricio has played 16 games, and he is hitting .300/.354/.400 with three doubles, a homer, and seven RBI. He is also a perfect 6/6 in stolen base attempts. Overall, he is showing he is ready for the majors, and he needs to play everyday next season.
Where he plays is up for some debate. He is blocked at short by Francisco Lindor. That leaves second and third. While Jeff McNeil has been the team’s second baseman, he has the versatility to move to the outfield to allow Mauricio to man second.
Of course, there is a thought Mauricio was always best suited for third. That said, Mauricio has looked quite good at second base since the promotion.
He combined with McNeil on a cut off to cut down Jazz Chisholm Jr.trying to stretch a single into a double. He would also impress Keith Hernandez by his standing his ground and releasing a strong throw to turn a double play.
To some degree, it is not so much a matter of preference for where you want Mauricio to play. It is more what is best for the Mets. If Mauricio is playing second well and hitting, they should allow third base to be open for one of Baty or Vientos to play there. At the moment, Vientos has won that job, and he has a whole offseason to improve there.
In the end, Vientos and Mauricio have gotten the opportunity they have pushed for all season. Both are thriving, and they are leading the Mets to play the role of spoilers. They need to be rewarded for it by being penciled in as 2024 Opening Day starters.
As usual, the New York Mets went to Milwaukee and forgot how to play baseball. It always happens:
1. Since 2016, the Mets are 3-18 at whatever they’re calling Miller Park now. It’s at the point where the 1986 Mets in their prime couldn’t beat a Milwaukee t-ball team if it is played in that ballpark.
2. The Mets lost a game 10-0 and the next one 9-0. That’s something the 1962 or 1993 Mets did. That should tell you how bad the series was.
4. Carrasco getting a pitch clock violation before he threw a pitch tells you how well he’s adapting to it.
5. Showalter saving Adam Ottavino for the Brewers best left-handed hitters and burning David Robertson before that is simply incompetent managing. Robertson is great against left-handed batters, and Ottavino got hit hard by them last year.
6. With all that is going on with the Mets are the present, Showalter cannot afford these unforced errors. More to the point, the whole premise for hiring him was he doesn’t make these egregious mistakes because he knows more than us all.
7. If the issue for Pete Alonso was the bat handle, the Mets shouldn’t let him near anything other than the axe handle again.
8. It was a real positive to see Brandon Nimmo, Francisco Lindor, and Jeff McNeil get three hit games. All three have been struggling in their own right, and they all need to break out of their early season slumps.
9. Whatever is going on with Max Scherzer, he needs to figure it out. It’s not just the three homers on three pitches. He is becoming susceptible to the big inning, and the strikeout numbers are down. If he’s not an ace, the Mets are in trouble.
10. Luis Guillorme does what he does. He had a good game at the plate, and he was very good defensively. He also stepped up and pitched a scoreless inning when the Mets really needed to save the bullpen. He is much better than people want to give him credit.
11. Mark Canha had one big game in Miami. Aside from that, he has been terrible at the plate, and we know he hasn’t been great in the outfield. His days as a starter should be numbered.
12. Of all the issues we see with Eduardo Escobar, perhaps the most troubling is his sprint speed is way down. Perhaps, that is because he hasn’t had any reason to sprint this season.
15. If not for the Brett Baty thumb injury, you have to imagine he would have been here this weekend. The Mets already need him. You can say the same for Mark Vientos, but there’s no obvious spot on the roster for him right now.
16. After all we saw in Milwaukee, the Mets were smart to delay the season opener a day. The team was in shambles and needed a rest. It sucks for the fans, but we are more interested in wins than anything else . . . or at least we should be.
17. Flat out, the Mets did not look good in this series. They were completely outplayed by a mediocre Brewers squad. The hope is that it is just that ballpark.
18. After the home opening series against the Miami Marlins, things get more difficult for the Mets. If they continue playing this way, changes will need to come sooner rather than later.
19. This id David Peterson’s chance. He can’t blow it like he did in this series.
20. That final game of the series is what gives you hope. As we saw last year, when Lindor and Alonso are hitting, everything is fine. You’d like to believe after last season, Billy Eppler would’ve tried harder to ease Lindor’s and Alonso’s burden.
The New York Mets played their opening series of the season, and they took 3/4 games. All-in-all, not a bad start to the season:
1. The Mets defense was exceptional to start the season. Jeff McNeil and Francisco Lindor appear on their way to having Gold Glove caliber years, and Starling Marte might’ve made the most important play of all.
2. Kodai Senga‘s ghost splitter was all; the more impressive in game action recording all eight strikeouts on the pitch. It’s also a good thing it really took him just one inning to fully acclimate.
3. It took Lindor three games last season before he started hitting, and he would have a great year. Nothing to be concerned about his slow start to the season.
4. Brandon Nimmo is back to walking a lot, which means his OBP should be through the roof this season.
7. If Baty is not called up within the next week, the Mets are going to forfeit the chance to get an extra first round pick and international bonus pool money. This seems like a dubious decision to say the least.
8. Mark Canha‘s and Tommy Pham‘s bat looked very slow to start the season, but they turned it on the last two games. At least with Sandy Alcantara and Jesus Luzardo, you still have to wonder if velocity will be an issue for Canha, but for now, he seems like he will be productive.
10. Way too much was made by some people over Max Scherzer allowing three runs. He was completely dominant over the first five innings, and he had one bad inning. He will be fine and pitch like an ace again this season.
11. It seems like something that only happens to the Mets, but somehow poor defenders like Garrett Cooper and Jorge Soler looked like Keith Hernandez and Roberto Clemente in the field this past series.
12. Jeff McNeil hit a lot of balls hard right at someone. Not what you expected to see with the elimination of the shift.
13. The games did move much faster, but there is still going to be some issues to be ironed out. For example, McNeil getting assessed a strike because of Pete Alonso at first base. After the game, MLB admitted a strike should not have been assessed against McNeil.
14. Any Mets fans rejoicing in Jacob deGrom and Chris Bassitt struggling is an outright fool. First, they did nothing to the Mets. Second, it meant you enjoyed the Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals offense going off. Nothing says I’m a Mets fan more than rooting for the Phillies and Cardinals.
15. We knew the bases being closer together meant not only more stolen bases but more opportunities to take an extra base. We didn’t know that meant Daniel Vogelbach going first to third and scoring on shallow sacrifice flies.
16. Jazz Chisholm Jr.was not good at all in center for the Miami Marlins. That is going to be an issue for that team all season.
17. Omar Narváez. has looked PHENOMENAL in all aspects of the game so far. If he is going to be this good, the Mets are a different level team than originally anticipated.
18. Dennis Santana might’ve been a find for the Mets.
19. Alonso was safe at first base.
20. This was a good start for the Mets. They took three out of four, and their best players haven’t quite gotten going just yet. Hopefully, this is a sign we are in for a special 2023.
For the New York Mets 60th season, I made 60 bold predictions heading into the season. The concept is to really go for it instead of being meek and saying Francisco Lindor will play the most games at short, or Pete Alonso will lead the team in homers. It was to be daring. Some hit, and some did not. In any event, here are 61 for this year as this is the 61st season:
1. The New York Mets will win the 2023 World Series.
2. The Mets will be the third best team in the division during the regular season.
3. David Peterson will have more starts this season than any other Mets starter.
4. Kodai Senga will be an All-Star.
6. By the middle of June, Brett Baty will be called up, and he will overtake the Mets third base job for the next decade.
7. The Mets will have more blown saves by the All-Star Break than Edwin Díaz had all of last season.
8. The Mets are going to find a way to get Alexis Díaz this season. When they get him, Steve Cohen will speak about just how important family is and how that was a motivating factor in getting Díaz.
9. Part of the Díaz deal will be Joey Votto going to the Mets. The lifelong Red will be excited because he is getting a chance to win, and the Reds will be excited because it clears a massive chunk of payroll. Votto will take over as the Mets DH.
10. Ronny Mauricio is going to be moved this year as the big prospect to get a big piece or two at the trade deadline.
12. We will see Álvarez get called up multiple times, but he is not going to stick on the roster until September.
13. The Mets will not need a closer at the trade deadline, but they will need an outfielder. They will still get at least one reliever at the deadline.
16. The Mets will announce a date where they are going to retire Carlos Beltrán‘s number 15.
17. The pitch clock is going to be a hit with the fans, but we are going to see multiple issues early in the season where games are swung on its implementation leading to player and that fanbase’s frustration.
19. The Mets are going to have a tough first half with many wondering if the team was too old or if this is a reincarnation of the 1992 Worst Team Money Could Buy. The Mets will shut everyone up with a great second half.
20. The rule changes will rejuvenate Keith Hernandez, who will come to enjoy the modern game more than any particular fan.
21. Brandon Nimmo will be a first time All-Star. He will be joined there by Lindor, McNeil, Senga, and Verlander.
22. Pete Alonso returns to the Home Run Derby, and he wins it again.
24. Eduardo Escobar loses his starting third base job, but he will still serve as an important semi-regular on the roster.
25. Lindor will be the only Mets player to win a Gold Glove this season. Guillorme and McNeil will be finalists.
26. Starling Marte will play fewer than 100 games, but he will be healthy for the postseason and will be one of the best Mets in the postseason.
27. Dylan Bundy will be added to the Major League roster at some point during the season, and he will stick in the bullpen at some point.
28. McNeil and Lindor will each finish in the top five in MVP voting with McNeil winning the award.
29. J.D. Davis will get out to a good start leading for Mets fans to further complain about the Darin Ruf trade, but Davis will cool off considerably thereafter with no one saying much of anything past May.
30. This will be Eric Chávez‘s last season as a coach with the Mets as he will be the hot candidate for managerial jobs in the offseason.
31. Meet Joey Meneses, who will be the newest Mets killer.
32. Scherzer is going to have a better season than Verlander.
33. Verlander will have zero issues adjusting to New York.
34. Lindor is going to play in every single Mets game this season.
35. The Mets will aggressively pursue David Bednar and Bryan Reynolds, but the stingy Pittsburgh Pirates owner will not make a deal with Steve Cohen on principle based on this spending the last offseason.
36. When he returns from the IL, Mets fans are going to fall in love with Bryce Montes de Oca, and we will see him get at least a down ballot Rookie of the Year vote.
37. Shohei Ohtani will not be traded this year no matter how hard the Mets try to get him. Part of the reason will be the Los Angeles Angels contending for the last Wild Card spot.
38. Noah Syndergaard will actually start against the Mets when the Los Angeles Dodgers visit Citi Field in April. He will get a loud ovation as he takes the mound.
40. Alonso will appear in more games at DH than any other right-handed batter as Buck Showalter tries to keep him fresher than he did last season.
41. While there will be calls for a closer-by-committee approach, Showalter is going to go with David Robertson as the closer to begin the season, and he will carry the role at least through the All-Star Break.
42. Buck Showalter will not be the NL Manager of the Year, and he will not finish in the top five in voting.
44. Jose Butto will be up-and-down a few times this season being designated at that prospect who comes up one week for a spot start and another week to hang out in the bullpen. He is going to struggle, and there will be more people calling him a non-prospect.
45. While it will be an exhausting story line, Verlander will win a World Series start, and he will be dominant.
46. Despite his World Baseball Classic success, no team will sign Matt Harvey this season with his pending suspension being part of the reason.
48. Pride Night is scheduled for June 16. The Mets will force Raley to wear whatever gear is mandated that day by Major League Baseball.
49. Lindor is and will continue to be the best shortstop in baseball. Yes, that means he will have a better season than Trea Turner.
50. We will see Mark Vientos at some point this season but only for a limited time as the Mets are going to struggle to find spots for him even with Vientos having a monster year with Syracuse.
51. This will be the last season the 1962 Mets have the record for most losses in a season. The bottom feeders of baseball are just that bad this season.
52. Nimmo wins his first Silver Slugger this season.
53. The Mets will have a day honoring the New York Rangers after the Rangers win the Stanley Cup with Mets fan Adam Fox throwing out the first pitch.
55. Kevin Parada will play in Double-A this season, and we will start to hear some wonder if it is him or Álvarez as the Mets catcher of the future.
56. Nimmo is going to steal 20+ bases this season.
57. Escobar will continue his streak of 20+ home run seasons.
58. One development from the pitch clock is Citi Field will begin to have all of their concession stands handle pre-order and pick up as fans are not going to have as many delays and will not want to miss game action.
59. There will be some celebration at Citi Field this season for the 40th anniversary of the 1973 pennant winning team. It will likely be tied into Old Timers’ Day.
60. The Mets will have multiple events throughout the year giving rewards to Mets fans for wearing their caps out in public as a continued attempt to get them more attention than the Yankees.
61. This will be the first time New York holds a Stanley Cup and World Series title since 1928.
For Hernandez, it was the trade, his becoming the first captain, and the 1986 World Series. Now, it’s for his broadcasting.
In terms of McCarver, it was purely the broadcasting. Like Hernandez, he arrived in 1983. He would then build what was proven to be a Hall of Fame broadcasting career.
At the end of his time with Fox Sports calling the postseason, people were exhausted and exasperated with him. That was unfortunate because he was revolutionary and one of the greatest to ever do it.
For Mets fans, McCarver will forever be linked to Dwight Gooden. While most curveballs are dubbed Uncle Charlie, McCarver thought Gooden’s was far too good. Because he found it so regal and majestic, he referred to it as Lord Charles.
It was more than that, but it was indicative of what McCarver brought to the broadcast. He did it all with his 15 years with the Mets.
He did play-by-play. He was Keith before Keith. He was as insightful as they came. He had great stories from his playing days which mostly featured Bob Gibson.
He gave the biggest gift a fan could receive – honesty. McCarver didn’t hold back with his analysis, which might’ve cost him his job.
He educated an entire generation of Mets fans. He espoused the importance of the first pitch strike and the hazards of the lead-off walk. Back in the 1980s, it came across as genius because it really was. Much of what he shared was just that.
He was smart and fun. He made Mets broadcasts great. That’s because he was smart and fun. He was great.
Sadly, he’s passed away, and now, the Mets can’t give him the day at Citi Field and the rightful honor of being inducted into the Mets’ Hall of Fame. Hopefully, that day will come.
Tim McCarver was a true Mets legend. May he rest in peace.
Since taking over the New York Mets, Steve Cohen has set out to celebrate Mets history. That hasn’t just included things like Old Timers’ Day and retiring the numbers of Keith Hernandez and Willie Mays. It has been welcoming those players back to the organization.
In this latest effort, the Mets have welcomed back Carlos Beltran to the organization.
Earlier in the offseason, the Mets tried to bring back Beltran to work as a coach for Buck Showalter. After those efforts failed, the Mets were able to hire Beltran in an unnamed front office role.
This comes three years after Beltran was hired and fired as manager for the Mets. That came on the heels of the Houston Astros sign stealing scandal coming to light. Rather than stick by Beltran, the Wilpons fired him.
In many ways, Queens is where Beltran belongs. To this day, he remains the best free agent signing the team ever made. More than that, Beltran is the best center fielder in team history.
The Mets needed this partially because to this day they only have Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza in the Hall of Fame. Absent the Astros sign stealing scandal, Beltran would have been a first ballot Hall of Famer. Before the scandal, the only question was which hat was going to be on his plaque.
Beltran spent seven years with the Mets and Kansas City Royals. He also had notable stops with the Houston Astros and New York Yankees. You could see him wearing a Royals cap or even opting to go the route Greg Maddux, Roy Halladay (family), and Mike Mussina recently opted with a a blank cap.
However, with Beltran back with the Mets, you can see him wearing a Mets cap on his plaque when he is eventually inducted. You can also anticipate the Mets are going to do everything they can to ensure he is enshrined like he should be. We can also expect his 15 to be retired like it should be.
Overall, like in 2005, the Mets and Beltran needed one another. They’re back together, and we should see great things ensue.
With Steve Cohen, things have changed so much for the better. Just look at this offseason, So far, the Mets have given record deals to keep Edwin Díaz and Brandon Nimmo. They have also brought in Justin Verlander, Kodai Senga, Omar Narváez, José Quintana, and David Robertson. In the past, it would take the Wilpons more than a decade to bring in all of these players, and of that group, we’d never be able to consider a Verlander coming to Queens.
However, even with the Wilpons gone, they still find ways to mess with New York Mets fans. Of course, it comes with them being cheap and not realizing the value of franchise greats.
There is still a gap between SNY and Keith Hernandez in contract talks. Hernandez was offered a new deal, rejected it, and counter-offered. SNY has not yet responded with another offer.
— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) February 1, 2023
SNY (read, the Wilpons) always seems to do this with Keith Hernandez. They make the contract negotiations more prolonged than they need to be. In many ways, they don’t realize his value to the franchise and their broadcasts. Keep in mind, Hernandez and his commentary keeps fans tuned in during blowouts because fans want to hear Keith in those situations. That’s not hyperbole.
Actually, maybe the Mets do realize Hernandez’s value. It may be much more likely they really just don’t care. Based upon their ownership of the Mets, we can safely assume that is the case.
That is what actually makes this worse. They already have their billions from the sale of the franchise. They were financially made whole from the Madoff Ponzi Scheme scandal. Now, they’re just making money off the Mets like they always do.
There is going to come a point in time where Keith steps aside, and we are no longer going to have Gary, Keith, and Ron. However, that has to come on GKR’s terms. They’re Mets legends, and they earned that right as they are about to surpass Lindsey Nelson, Bob Murphy, and Ralph Kiner as the longest serving Mets announcing trio.
The Wilpons cannot mess this up. They’ve already messed up too much, and for all they have done, this would be a step too far. We shouldn’t put it past them. All we can do is hope they finally do the right thing by the fans.
Scott Rolen was finally inducted into the Hall of Fame on his sixth year on the ballot. It took way to too long for one of the best third basemen ever, but he’s where he belongs.
For some bizarre reason, people were unwilling to accept it even though Rolen is a top nine third baseman by WAR. However, it is more than just WAR.
When you’ve done something only Mike Schmidt has done, you’re a Hall of Famer. That’s now officially true of Rolen.
Rolen’s induction is a testament that defense matters. More than that, great defense can make you a Hall of Famer. That’s why his WAR was so high.
That what got lost on people as they made laughable cases for players like Don Mattingly. There were also arguments made for Dale Murphy or Keith Hernandez (who actually should be in the Hall of Fame).
Here’s the thing, Rolen was a third baseman, and they’re not. First baseman and center fielders should be used for those players.
That said, Rolen’s induction should serve as a bellwether for another third baseman. Rolen’s induction should prompt the Veteran’s Committee to induct Graig Nettles.
Like Rolen, Nettles was a great defensive player who won two Gold Gloves. He would’ve won more if not for Brooks Robinson.
Nettles has the third and fifth best defensive seasons by a third baseman. He’s fifth all-time in defensive WAR, one spot ahead of Rolen.
In his career, Nettles had a 68.0 WAR, which is just 2.1 behind Rolen and 0.4 behind the average Hall of Fame third baseman. Nettles is also just behind Rolen in WAR7 and JAWS while he’s ahead of the average Hall of Fame third baseman.
Nettles also won two World Series titles and was the 1981 ALCS MVP. Overall, he was a great player worthy of enshrinement.
Despite that, he fell off the ballot in three years. That’s a reflection of the arcane standards of yore, but we know better now.
This is why there’s a Veteran’s Committee. It’s to induct players like Nettles who should’ve been inducted over a decade ago. Like Rolen, Nettles (and Hernandez) belong in the Hall of Fame.