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There has never been a Hall-of-Fame eligible pitcher who retired with 100 or more victories than losses and didn't make it in. Will Mike Mussina become the exception? He is walking away with a 270-153 career record. Is it a good idea for Pedro Martinez to continue to look for work, and adding to those 214 career wins, even though he has only suffered 99 losses?

Yes, Jeff Kent has hit more home runs -- 377 -- than any second baseman in history, but is that enough at a position where defense has figured so heavily in the past? Does Kent's disruptive personality work against him? The Dodgers' surge to the NL West last year didn't start with the arrival of Manny Ramirez, but rather the departure of Kent, whose final game before a season-ending knee injury was the final loss in an eight-game losing streak.

While Frank Thomas has hit 521 home runs and has a career .301 batting average, does the fact he has been a DH in 1,311 games in his career while playing first base in only 971 games become a handicap? Paul Molitor is considered the first DH to be enshrined, but was he? While he did DH in 1,174 games he also played in the field in 1,495. He just spread his talent around the field, playing 791 games at third base, 400 at second, 197 at first base, 57 at shortstop and 50 in the outfield.

There are, however, a half-dozen current players either ready to retire or getting close who should be sure things.

That Atlanta pitching trio of Greg Maddox (355 wins), Tom Glavine (305 wins) and John Smoltz (210 wins and 154 saves) would seem first-ballot locks, and could go in together, depending on the healing abilities of Glavine and Smoltz. Maddux already indicated his plans to retire. After surgery last season, Glavine is uncertain, but Smoltz is adamant he will at least try to pitch one more season.

Randy Johnson is looking to reach the coveted 300-win plateau but is Hall worthy with his current 295 wins and five Cy Young awards, an endorsement of how dominating he was. The fire, however, still burns for Johnson, who feels jilted by Arizona, where he it was suggested his $15 million salary of 2008 should be cut to around $4 million. He could be the key free-agent pitcher on the market this winter, a competitive arm that a team can sign without a long-term commitment.

Trevor Hoffman has the all-time record 554 saves that should make him the first reliever to get first-ballot induction, and he is intent on adding to that total despite what he perceived as a slap in the face from the Padres, who have jerked their $4 million offer off the table.

And while Ken Griffey Jr. didn't break Hank Aaron's career home run record, his 611 home runs are still an impressive piece of his Hall of Fame worthiness.

Say What?

A.J. Burnett has become a hot commodity on the free-agent market. After opting out of the final two years and $24 million of his contract in Toronto, not only do the Jays want to re-sign him, but the big spenders, Boston and the Yankees, are making a move, along with Baltimore, Atlanta and Philadelphia.

Buyer beware.

Burnett was 18-10 with a 4.07 ERA for the Jays last year, and led the AL with 34 starts and 231 strikeouts. It was, however, the first time in his career he won more than 12 games in a season, and only the second time he has started as many as 30 games in a season. His other was 2005 with Florida when he was 12-12 with a 3.44 ERA, and just like this year, Burnett showed durability in a season that led to free agency.

Infield Chatter

  • The Mets have targeted Seattle closer J.J. Putz as their priority in filling the need for a closer. He is signed for 2009 at $5 million with an option for 2010 at $8.6 million or a $1 million buyout, which is a lot less than the expectations of prime free-agent closers such as Francisco Rodriguez and Brian Fuentes.

  • Newly hired Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu shared catching duties his senior year at Hayward (Ca.) High School in 1981 with Jack Del Rio, the coach of the NFL Jacksonville Jaguars. Del Rio was drafted by Toronto out of high school, but opted to play football at USC and then in the NFL before becoming a coach. Wakamatsu went to Arizona State and signed with Cincinnati as an 11th round pick in 1985.

  • Rockies manager Clint Hurdle has talked over the years about the impact that original Rockies manager Don Baylor has had on his career. In the last six months, Hurdle has made that obvious. First he spent three months creating a way for Baylor to be an honorary coach on his staff at the All-Star Game, and last week, Hurdle brought Baylor back to the Rockies as the team's hitting coach, a role Hurdle filled for Baylor. The fact that Hurdle, who is headed into the final year of his contract, added Baylor and former big-league manager Jim Tracy (bench coach) to his staff is a strong indication that he isn't scared of his shadow.

    Author:Fox Sports
    Author's Website:
    Added: November 27, 2008

  • Seattle Mariners News

    News » Do the numbers still add up for Hall?

    Do the numbers still add up for Hall?

    Do the numbers still add up for Hall?
    There are stats that ensure a players' Hall of Fame future.

    Or do they?

    Have the numbers been blurred in recent years to the point where what once were standards no longer provide guarantees for enshrinement?

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