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MLB’s next big thing — Ranking the Today’s Game Era Hall of Fame ballot

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When the baseball industry makes its way to Las Vegas this weekend for the winter meetings, among the early arrivals will be the members of the 16-person “Hall of Fame-appointed electorate,” which is charged with evaluating the candidacies of the 10 names on the Today’s Game Era ballot for possible enshrinement in Cooperstown.

Before the deliberations even begin, the electorate’s outcome is preordained to be disappointing. That’s because the ballot they will be evaluating is incomplete. Here are the names under consideration:

Harold Baines, player
Albert Belle, player
Joe Carter, player
Will Clark, player
Orel Hershiser, player
Lee Smith, player
Davey Johnson, player and manager
Charlie Manuel, manager
Lou Piniella, player and manager
George Steinbrenner, owner

Here is a name that is not under consideration: Mark McGwire, player.

The last time the Hall examined this era was in 2016. The 10 names that ended up on that ballot were: Baines, Belle, Clark, Hershiser, Johnson, McGwire, Piniella, John Schuerholz, Bud Selig and Steinbrenner.

Selig and Schuerholz made it; the others did not. The new names on the ballot are Smith, Carter and Manuel. McGwire is the only one who dropped off without being elected. In case you’re wondering, the veteran sportswriters who prepared the ballot this time were the exact same ones who did it last time. I’m not going call out these people, as I have deep respect for all of them, but this is just wrong.

I’ll be honest with you: I’m pretty sick of the self-righteous moralizing that surrounds the PED issue and even more sick of the assumptions that continue to be made about the topic in general. It’s an issue too deep to dispatch with in a paragraph, so I’ll leave it at that. Maybe I’ll write a book about it afterward.

In any event, trying to pretend that Mark McGwire never existed is not the way to go. Clearly some fresh perspectives on these committees is needed.

With that out of the way, let me order the candidates from most deserving to the least-most deserving. (I don’t really want to call any of these accomplished individuals “least deserving,” but I guess that’s the nature of any kind of ranking.)

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Yonder Alonso of Cleveland Indians traded to Chicago White Sox

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The Chicago White Sox have acquired first baseman Yonder Alonso in a trade with the Cleveland Indians, according to multiple reports.

It wasn’t immediately known whom the Indians would receive in the trade.

Alonso, 31, hit .250 with 23 home runs and 83 RBIs last season for the Indians. A nine-year veteran, Alonso was an All-Star in 2017, when he hit 28 home runs and 67 RBIs for the Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners.

The White Sox have also expressed interest this offseason in slugger Manny Machado. Alonso is the brother-in-law of Machado.

News of Alonso’s trade was first reported by Stadium.

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Matt Chapman of Oakland A’s has left shoulder surgery

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OAKLAND, Calif. — Athletics third baseman Matt Chapman had surgery Friday on his left shoulder, his second operation this offseason.

Dr. William Workman performed a distal clavicle resection procedure on Chapman’s shoulder, the team said Friday. Chapman is expected to begin swinging a bat in six weeks.

The team said Chapman felt discomfort in the shoulder during offseason workouts. Chapman also had surgery on his right thumb Oct. 16 and was expected to recover fully from that operation by spring training.

Chapman batted .278 with 24 home runs in a breakout season. He won his first Gold Glove and finished seventh in American League MVP voting.

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Brandon Hyde hired Baltimore Orioles new manager from Chicago Cubs

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BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles hired Brandon Hyde to be their new manager Friday, hoping his experience as Cubs bench coach will help the team move forward while in rebuilding mode.

Hyde takes over for Buck Showalter, who was fired after Baltimore finished 47-115 — the worst record in the majors. This will be Hyde’s first stint as a major league manager.

Hyde, 45, was selected by general manager Mike Elias, who began an extensive search for Showalter’s replacement after being hired last month to replace Dan Duquette.

“I believe that we have found the ideal leader for the next era of Orioles baseball,” Elias said of Hyde.

Hyde worked as Chicago’s bench coach this year under manager Joe Maddon. He was in the second of three seasons as Cubs first-base coach when the team won the World Series in 2016.

Before that, Hyde served as Rick Renteria’s bench coach in Chicago in 2014. He previously served as Chicago’s director of player development from August 2012 through 2013 after joining the Cubs in December 2011 as their minor league field coordinator.

Prior to joining the Cubs, Hyde spent nine seasons in the Miami Marlins organization. He was Miami’s bench coach from June 2010 through the end of the 2011 season.

“Brandon’s deep background in player development and major league coaching — most recently helping to shape the Cubs into a world champion — has thoroughly prepared him for this job and distinguished him throughout our interview process,” Elias said.

Elias and Hyde will seek to develop a team that shifted into rebuild mode last July under Duquette, who traded away many of the team’s stars — most notably Manny Machado, Zach Britton, Jonathan Schoop and Kevin Gausman — for 15 prospects and international bonus pool money in moves that cut payroll from $151 million to $136 million.

On the day he was introduced by Baltimore, Elias spoke about the significance of landing the right manager to shape the Orioles into a team that can be competitive in the AL East.

“This is an important hire,” Elias said on Nov. 19. “… It’s not something you rush. We want to get the right person for this time.”

Hyde will be formally introduced as the 20th manager in Orioles history on Monday.

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