The M’s were busy Wednesday, following their meeting with Shohei Ohtani and his representatives on Tuesday. They traded minor league catcher David Banuelos to Minnesota for a international bonus money, a cool million dollars, to further sweeten the pot to entice the Japanese star to sign in the Emerald City. We’ll see if that works. Banuelos was rated 10th on the M’s prospect list, which is comparatively weak.
Ohtani has now met with all seven of the finalists he is considering signing with. Now it will simply come down to decision-making and an announcement. The Mariners have emerged as a favorite to sign Ohtani, so the collective breath of Mariners fans is held until something happens.
Meanwhile, ballots are beginning to trickle in to Ryan Thibodeaux’s Hall of Fame Tracker. There are currently 27 public ballots and one anonymous ballot, so 28 or 6.6% of the votes likely to be cast.
The good news is that Edgar Martinez has 21 of those votes, or 78.6% of this very small sample. Last year Thibodeaux was able to share 314 of the ballots or 71% of the vote. Remember that Edgar’s vote in the public ballots was about five percent higher than that not shared. In any case, there is a long way to go.
Breaking down this vote, even though it is early is interesting. Here are a few things I’ve observed:
- A pretty persistent criticism in the voting is that writers don’t vote for enough hall-worthy candidates. In the early count, the number of votes per ballot is 8.93 (though Jim Livingston just submitted a ballot with only two votes.) This represents a significant increase from last year’s 8.43, and 2016’s 8.23. That’s a good thing–unless there are more Bill Livingstons out there. Note–Livingston only checked Jim Thome and Omar Vizquel. An Indian lover and someone who needn’t have a vote in the future. He left his contact information blank. Pity
- Though the numbers have subsided recently, there definitely seems to be an uptick toward Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. Clemens was all of the first 21 ballots. He hasn’t been on one since and sits at 75%. Bonds has 19 votes and 67.9%. Again, early in the process, but will be interesting to see if this pattern continues.
- The big winner so far is Jim Thome with 100% on the ballots thus far. Chipper Jones is at 92.9%, Vladimir Guerrero is 89.3% and Trevor Hoffman is at 78.6%. Together with Edgar and Clemens, they are the only nominees that are at the qualifying mark.
- Mike Mussina has 64.3%, Curt Schilling is at 57.1%, and Vizquel is at 53.6%. They are the only other candidates above 50%. For both Mussina and Schilling, the early votes represent an increase in support over 2017.
- Johnny Damon and Johan Santana are currently being shut out with zero votes.
More to come, I’m sure, as the votes trickle in and Ohtani continues his big tease.