HOF Ballot: Heartbreakers among the newcomers

Carpenter---Hall of Fame talent whose body told him where to shove it . . .

Carpenter—Hall of Fame talent whose body told him where to shove it . . .

The rest of the newcomers to the Hall of Fame ballot—Chipper Jones and Jim Thome should be first-ballot inductees—have a few heartbreakers among them. Men you could have sworn were on the Cooperstown trail but got derailed for one or another reason. For that reason I’ll take these heartbreakers alphabetically.

CHRIS CARPENTER—Tell me you didn’t think this guy was on the way to the Hall of Fame once upon a time. Now, tell me how stinko it was that Carpenter had:

Jeter opts in, Red Sox make qualifiers, and other stove bolts . . .

Derek Jeter will earn $2.5 million more than the 2014 player option he could have picked up would have paid him. ESPN’s Andrew Marchand reports the Yankees have signed Jeter to a one-year, $12 million deal for 2014.

The Captain returns . . .

The Captain returns . . .

A source with knowledge of the negotiations told ESPN New York that the talks were largely held between Jeter and team owner Hal Steinbrenner, who both live in Tampa. Jeter’s agent, Casey Close, handled the details of the contract.

Santana, down for the count, maybe the career

"We have guys that can step up and get the job done on the field. That’s not the concern. For me, what the concern is: I feel for Johan. You do something for so long, you are so successful at it, to have a setback like this, it hits everyone hard."---David Wright (right), on Johan Santana (left)

We have guys that can step up and get the job done on the field. That’s not the concern. For me, what the concern is: I feel for Johan. You do something for so long, you are so successful at it, to have a setback like this, it hits everyone hard.—David Wright (right), on Johan Santana (left)

Some people thought New York Mets manager Terry Collins was somewhere between nuts and flakes to let Johan Santana try to finish what turned out to be the first no-hitter in club history last June. Wasn’t Santana on the comeback trail after missing nineteen months including all of the 2011 season recuperating from surgery to repair a torn left shoulder anterior capsule.

Deja Vu, All Over Again—Colon Drydocked For Synthetic Testosterone

Fifty games out for Tortilla Fats . . .

That’ll be a fifty game siddown-and-shaddap against Oakland Athletics pitcher Bartolo Colon.

Tortilla Fats got bagged for synthetic testosterone, the same actual or alleged performance-enhancing substance for which Melky Cabrera of the San Francisco Giants got nailed last week. Except that nobody yet suspects Colon’s buds tried hoisting a phony Website hawking a phony product their man could say he bought without knowing what was really inside.

"Yeah, Baby! Believe It!"

As I suspect was the case for numerous Met fans—since the day they were born or otherwise—it took me over a week to process that what seemed so long impossible finally happened. It took a mere 8,119 games before a Met threw a no-hitter. And it couldn’t have been thrown by a nicer guy except, maybe, for Tom Seaver. Who just so happens to have lost one of the seemingly infinite Met no-hit bids when Jimmy Qualls, bearing no other reason for fame, broke up his bid in 1969.

Class in Session, and Other Spring Sprigs . . .

The Mets camp visits by Sandy Koufax---who still loves to teach---remain big spring days . . .

Sandy Koufax has made annuals visits to the New York Mets’ spring training camp in Port St. Lucie for several years. His longtime friendship with beleaguered owner Fred Wilpon is one reason; his longtime friendship with manager Terry Collins has become another. This time, his first spring visit focused on two young Mets pitchers, Bobby Parnell and Matt Harvey. The Hall of Famer talked mechanics with Parnell and confidence with Harvey, who said he was “blown away” by Koufax’s visit.

It Might As Well Be Spring . . .

To hell with the calendar. Every real American knows spring begins in that blessed spell when pitchers and catchers report and the position players aren’t all that far behind.

Walking the plank to Pittsburgh . . .

* A.J. PIRATE?—It’s looking more and more as though the Empire Emeritus and the Pittsburgh Pirates have a deal to send A.J. Burnett to Pittsburgh in exchange for a pair of minor leaguers. Ridding the Yankees of a talented headache on the mound, though from most reports a good guy in the clubhouse.