Mussina’s possible call to the Hall and more Machado trade talk

In his fifth year of eligibility, is this the year for former Orioles and Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina to make the Hall of Fame? According to this Hall of Fame tracker, he is at 73.7 percent of the votes that are known and 75 percent is needed for election.

In his first year of eligibility in 2014, he got just 20.3 percent of the vote. But that has gone up to 24.6 in 2015, 43.0 in 2016 and to 51.8 percent last year. He keeps looking better to the voters, I guess, without throwing a single additional pitch.

My opinion on Mussina has not changed - I see him as a Hall of Famer. His career stats compare favorably to Orioles Hall of Famer Jim Palmer, and Mussina pitched in the so-called “steroid era” where offense ruled the day:

* Palmer: 268-152 with 2.86 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 5.0 strikeouts/nine innings pitched, 125 ERA+
* Mussina: 270-153 with 3.68 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 7.1 strikeouts/nine innings pitched, 123 ERA+

Mussina never won a Cy Young Award, but finished in the top six of the voting nine times (Palmer did so eight times). Of course, Palmer has three Cy Youngs and eight 20-win seasons and Mussina has none and one. Palmer also had the benefit of pitching in four-man rotations and got more starts per year.

Mussina pitched better over his 10 seasons as an Oriole when you compare that to his eight seasons in New York. His time in Baltimore produced a lower ERA (3.53 to 3.88), better winning percentage (.645 to .631), lower WHIP (1.175 to 1.212) and better ERA+ (130 to 114). He also had many more complete games (45 to 12) and shutouts (15 to 8) as an Oriole. According to Baseball-Reference.com, he averaged 4.76 WAR per season as an Oriole and 4.38 as a Yankee. Of course, Mussina was older when he pitched in the Bronx, starting there with his age 32 season.

mussina-throwing-sidebar.jpgIf Mussina does get into the Hall, which team he will represent, Baltimore or New York?

For this story several years ago, Brad Horne of the Hall of Fame told me the Hall makes that call.

“For anyone that is elected, the decision of which logo appears on his Hall of Fame plaque is the decision of the museum and not the player,” Horne said. “Our role, as a historical institution, is to preserve the integrity of the team that is most representative from an individual’s career.

“If someone’s career is split between two or three franchises, numbers alone do not necessarily tell the story of where the greatest impact was made. The process is once an indivdual is elected, and only at that time, does the Hall of Fame begin the process of which team is represented on the plaque. The individual is elected in January, but not inducted until July.”

Machado to New York talk: Another report said the Yankees and Orioles talked this week about Manny Machado. We don’t know if the talks are advanced at all or if this falls under a team doing “due diligence.” We don’t know if the Orioles would actually pull the trigger on a deal with the Yankees.

Whether you feel the Orioles should talk trade with the Yankees about Machado or not, they do seem a good match for a deal in that six of their top 10 prospects are pitchers according to Baseball America.

Their No. 3 ranked prospect is 21-year-old lefty Justus Sheffield, who went 7-6 with a 3.18 ERA in the Double-A Eastern League last season with Trenton. His fastball has touched 98 mph, he’s been a two-time top 100 prospect and was ranked No. 73 at mid-season in 2017 by Baseball America.

New York’s No. 4 prospect, who was No. 56 at mid-year 2017, is 23-year-old right-hander Chance Adams. Between Double-A and Triple-A last season, he went 15-5 with a 2.45 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. His fastball has topped at 97 mph and both pitchers have plus sliders.

I think the Orioles should take the best offer for Machado and do it soon, no matter which team makes such offer. They can only control where Machado plays in 2018, if they choose to, and why take a lesser offer to do that? The Orioles are not on the Yankees’ level right now with Machado. Why not take away from New York’s future pitching depth? Take the best offer, headed up by young pitching and move on to the next topic.

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