Here come the rest of the newcomers to the Hall of Fame ballot. Unless there are sentimental reasons or particular individual perversities at play, I can think of only one or two, maybe three, who aren’t likely to be one-and-done ballot entrants, even if they’ll never be Hall of Famers.
Clay Buchholz, Phillies pitcher, recuperating from surgery to repair a small tear in his flexor pronator mass, showed up at Citizens Bank Park Wednesday to see the Phillies tangle with the Marlins. MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, a sober reporter, reported Buchholz apologised to general manager Matt Klentak “and others.”
Apologised, mind you.
Another sober reporter, NBC’s Bill Baer, says Buchholz was out of line. Not in the way you usually think when you see that phrase. “It’s saddening to me, and indicative of the general anti-labor culture in sports, that a player feels obligated to apologize for getting injured on the job,” Baer writes.
Sometimes the gesture seems futile, sometimes not. The least the Yankees could have done for one of their best-liked and most productive players was to sign him for a day and let him retire as a ‘Striper. Which is exactly what they did with Hideki Matsui Saturday—on a day his old teammate and friend Derek Jeter returned from the disabled list with a Matsui-like bang, hitting the first major league pitch he’s seen all season over the right field fence.
Cole Hamels isn’t going anywhere. Not by the non-waiver trade deadline, not as a free agent after the season, not for six years. Just as reported widely enough the last few days, the Phillies landed the lefthander for a six-year, $144 million contract extension which includes a 2019 vesting option and a limited no-trade clause.
The deal makes Hamel the proud owner of the second-most lucrative deal for a pitcher in the Show, just ahead of Johan Santana (Mets) and behind CC Sabathia (Yankees). But the bottom line really came down to Hamels wanting to stay where he knew a fan base loved him and to emulate his boyhood hero, Tony Gwynn, and play his entire career for the same club if he could.