We're still a week away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training, and other than Mitch Moreland and the Rangers coming to an agreement to avoid arbitration -- a streak that runs since 2000 -- there's not a whole lot out there.
In light of that, I've been thinking about current and former Rangers players and the Hall of Fame. Regardless of how long the player played in a Texas uniform, I wanted to look at potential Hall of Famers and see what kind of case they might have for induction (or exclusion). So, with that said, here goes.
- Ivan Rodriguez -
As you may remember, we talked about Pudge back in January. ESPN had published a preliminary vote which, if official, would have left Pudge on the outside looking in. Of course, according to JAWS over at Baseball-Reference, it would appear to be a pretty open-and-shut case, especially considering Mike Piazza was just inducted. It would be an insult to the game to leave one of the game's greatest catchers out, but it may happen if only because of some suspicion of PED use.
- Rafael Palmeiro -
Palmeiro spent half of his career in a Texas uniform, and throughout his playing days, proved to be a protoypical power-hitting 1st baseman. He hit 569 career home runs and put up a career WAR of 71.6, well above the "cutoff" of 60 that usually gets players into the Hall of Fame conversation. Unfortunately, Palmeiro tested positive for PED use after wagging his finger at the government. Based on stats alone, he should be in, but it can't happen because he's already fallen off the ballot in 2014.
- Adrian Beltre -
83.8 career WAR. 5th in JAWS for 3B, which could likely be higher by the time he's done playing. One of the best defensive 3B to ever play the game. This is about as open-and-shut as it gets. 1st ballot, and anything else would be a shame. Adrian Beltre should be in, or there's no such thing as a Hall of Fame player.
Vladimir Guerrero -
Vlad only spent one year in a Texas uniform -- on the 2010 World Series team -- but his impact was certainly felt. By that point in his career, he was mostly a DH-only player, but he made much more of an impact prior to arriving in Texas.
As Tommy Dutch notes regarding Vlad's first time on the ballot in 2017:
"Next year’s vote will be interesting because of the players who will be eligible for the first time. Vladimir Guerrero, Manny Ramirez, and Ivan (Pudge) Rodriguez will make their initial appearance on the ballot. Each of the former sluggers has career numbers which are clearly Hall of Fame worthy."
Vlad's 59.3 career WAR sits him right on the precipice of that unofficial cutoff line for consideration. He was a likable player who was fun to watch because he could hit almost any pitch, and there's at least a decent chance that he'll get some serious consideration, even if he doesn't end up getting in.
Omar Vizquel -
Another player who only spent a year in a Texas uniform, Vizquel split time with Elvis Andrus during Andrus's rookie season. He was long regarded as a great defensive SS, but he was such a light hitter that he only put together a career WAR of 45.3. Although some will claim that he had a Hall of Fame career, I find it highly unlikely that his defensive skills alone will be enough to get him in.
Sammy Sosa -
On numbers alone, Sammy is close. A 58.4 career WAR -- a figure that would have been higher if not for playing perhaps two years too long -- has him close. However, PED allegations have Sosa likely on the outside looking in. He just wasn't valuable enough without home runs -- and potential PED use -- to merit serious consideration.
Mark Teixeira -
Now, hear me out on this one. He's only put up a career 52.4 WAR to this point, but he's 35. When healthy, he still provides value for the Yankees, and could find himself in consideration by the time he's done. How serious that conversation is remains to be seen, but he seems to think he can play five more seasons and be productive.
Alex Rodriguez -
This is a big one. A 118.9 career WAR would seemingly be enough on the surface to get Rodriguez in, and that's even with missing a full season due to a PED suspension. That PED suspension -- and the admissions/suspicions of prior use through the entirety of his career -- will likely keep him out, barring a change of heart among the BBWAA voters.
So, there you have it. The comments section is open for your thoughts.