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The Major League Baseball Hall of Fame class of 2021 is slated to be announced on Jan. 26. While there is a lot of talent on the ballot, there are no strong newcomers arriving.

In the last few years, players such as Derek Jeter, Ken Griffey Jr. and Mariano Rivera headlined the voting. Each of these players were proverbial “slam dunks” for Cooperstown.

However, this year’s ballot lacks any first-year eligible players such as this.

Because of this, it could be a big year for the players that have inched closer towards being inducted over the last few years. This includes players such as Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.

In this article, we will take a look at the Hall of Fame ballot and make our 10 votes for players who should be ushered in.

The Ballot

When looking at the ballot, it becomes clear; this is the year that players from the steroid era finally get their recognition. With the lack of strong newcomers to the ballot, it would be difficult for most voters to leave steroid users off of their ballot.

There are also other players who may be toeing the borderline that will get more votes this year. You can check out the full list of eligible players here.

With all of these players in mind, it will be interesting to see how the eligible voters approach this induction. Who will make up the next class to be ushered into Cooperstown?

Here are where our 10 votes ended up:

  1. Barry Bonds

This is the year for the infamous slugger. The MLB’s career home run leader and face of the steroid era finally gets his call to Cooperstown this year. For Bonds, it is a deserving honor to arguably the greatest player in baseball history, steroids or not.

2. Roger Clemens

Just like Bonds, this is the year that Clemens overcomes the steroid scandals and makes it into the Hall of Fame. With 354 wins, a 3.12 ERA and 4,672 strikeouts, he is more than deserving of that spot.

3. Andruw Jones

Jones is on his fourth year on the ballot and has not received very much of the vote over this time. While he wasn’t necessarily the best hitter, he was one of the best defensive center fielders of all-time. All-time, he ranks 22nd in career defensive wins above replacement. This alone should give him a spot in the Hall of Fame, as he certainly deserves it.

4. Omar Vizquel

Similar to Jones, Vizquel’s value comes defensively. In fact, he ranks ninth all-time in defensive wins above replacement. On top of this, he totaled 2,877 hits over 24 seasons. However, it is worth noting that Vizquel is currently being investigated for domestic abuse allegations. If he is found guilty, that would change this vote.

5. Todd Helton

Typically, Colorado Rockies players are looked down upon due to playing in a hitting friendly environment. However, Larry Walker’s induction last year may greatly benefit Helton as the “anti-Coors Field” bias may go away. In his career, Helton hit .316 with 2,519 hits and 369 home runs.

6. Billy Wagner

Wagner has the sixth-most saves in MLB history, and the second-most by a left-handed pitcher. Over 16 seasons, he collected 422 saves with a 2.31 ERA and 1,196 strikeouts. The hard thrower deserves his spot in Cooperstown because of this.

7. Gary Sheffield

Sheffield is another player who has been linked to steroids. However, he was one of the best hitters in the MLB during his career. With his signature bat-waggle at the plate, he struck fear into opposing pitchers. He finished his career with 509 home runs, a .292 batting average and 2,689 hits.

8. Jeff Kent

Kent was not the prototypical second baseman. Instead, he brought power and slugging to the position that hadn’t really been seen before. Because of this, he had 2,461 hits, 377 home runs and a .290 average over his career. These offensive numbers stand out at the position and make a good case for Cooperstown.

9. Sammy Sosa

Another face of the steroid era, Sosa had 609 career home runs, good for ninth all-time. He was also one half of the 1998 home run race with Mark McGwire, hitting the second-most home runs ever in a single season with 66. He is the only player to ever have three 60 home run seasons.

10. Scott Rolen

Rolen has become a dark horse candidate recently. While his traditional stats aren’t amazing, his career wins above replacement easily makes him a Hall of Famer. His career WAR of 70.1 is good for ninth ever among third baseman, giving him a deserving case for the Hall of Fame. He also is tied for the third-most Gold Gloves at third base with eight.

As some may have noticed, Curt Schilling was excluded from this list. This was done because of a few reasons that hurt his Hall of Fame case. Statistically, Schilling deserves a spot among some of the better pitchers in the game. Over the steroid era he pitched in, he became one of the most decorated arms.

However, he has hurt his case since retiring. The 53-year-old has become known for hateful and dangerous rhetoric on his social media accounts, calling into question his character. He becomes an interesting case of how writers consider a player’s “off-field” character, even after his retirement. Because of this, he doesn’t get a spot on our ballot.

However you look at it, this will be an interesting year for the Hall of Fame voting. A storm of events featuring a lack of newcomers is creating a situation where players who have been on the ballot for a while have a chance of finally making it in.

On Wednesday, Major League Baseball announced the official recognition of the Negro Leagues statistics and records. The decision corrects one of the sport’s worst racial flaws of the past, after failing to formally recognize over 3,400 players and their accomplishments from 1920 to 1948.

For players that played in both the Major Leagues and the Negro Leagues, there will be some changes to statistics. A thorough review by the Elias Sports Bureau will determine official changes, and they will be reflected in the history books.

Willie Mays, though a minor change, is one example for this. He will be credited with 17 more hits because of his time with the Birmingham Black Barons in 1948.

There will also be a change to the highest single season batting average. In 1943, Josh Gibson hit .441, breaking Hugh Duffy’s .440 mark from 1894.

It would also become the most recent .400 season, ahead of Ted Williams in 1941.

Within the Major League record books, there will finally be representation for some of the greatest players of all time.

A Segregated History

On May 1, 1884, Moses Fleetwood Walker was the opening day catcher for the Toledo Blue Stockings in the American Association. He became the first African American to play in baseball’s Major League. His brother, Weldy, also joined the team later in the season.

He later joined the Newark Little Giants, an International League team and formed a battery with George Stovey, creating the first African American pitcher-catcher duo in baseball history.

However, upon his release in 1889, he became the last black baseball player in the Major Leagues for 60 years. It was that same year when Major League Baseball fell in line with the Jim Crow laws, prohibiting African American players from playing in the league.

Major League Baseball remained segregated until 1947, when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Prohibited from playing in the MLB, black players and owners formed their own league beginning in 1920.

For the next 27 years, black players would be forced to play separate from white players, traveling across America, drawing large crowds with over 30 teams. They would play in stadiums rented from Major League teams, sometimes outdrawing their counterparts.

During the 1930s, the East-West all-star game even outdrew the Major League all-star game a few different times.

However, over this time, some of the most talented players in baseball history never got the chance to have their name next to the Major Leaguers’.

In reality, they were equivalent and, in some ways, better than the white players.

Greatness in the Negro Leagues

Over the years, Negro League and Major League teams faced off in various exhibitions. Of the 194 recorded meetings, their record was 96-98 against their white counterparts.

Joe DiMaggio even called legend Satchel Paige the greatest pitcher he ever faced. The two matched up when DiMaggio was just 21 years old in 1936. He went 1-4 off Paige and it was seen as a sign of DiMaggio’s greatness.

“DiMaggio everything we’d hoped he’d be: Hit Satch one for four,” a Yankees scout at the game wrote in a telegram after the game. It shows how revered Paige was.

The San Francisco Chronicle later wrote: “If Satchel Paige had a white skin, he would be worth $100,000 to any big league club that could afford to lay out the money.”

There is also the legend of Josh Gibson, reportedly the greatest home run hitter ever. By some accounts, he supposedly hit over 800 home runs during his career. Unfortunately, inconsistencies in statistics don’t show this many home runs.

Over his career, he won 12 home run titles and is known to have been the only player to ever hit the ball completely out of Yankee Stadium. He always dreamed of playing in the Major Leagues but died of a stroke just three months before Jackie Robinson’s debut. He was only 35.

The MLB’s decision to recognize the Negro League as a Major League, though much overdue, will finally bring players like this into the sport’s official scorebook.

It is a long time coming for this move, but it is a step towards rectifying the sport’s past injustices. Now, the Major Leagues will welcome thousands of new players into the history book, further diversifying and including a major piece of baseball’s history.

The COVID-19 pandemic changed many of the norms we have become accustomed to in the sport of baseball. For Major League organizations, this became even more apparent as they suffered major financial hits.

Franchises had to struggle with having no fan attendance to make up a large portion of their revenue. Because of this, there were a variety of other financial impacts that followed shortly thereafter.

The most obvious was the prorated salaries that the league’s players took. This was a controversial topic for the first few months of the pandemic due to the players’ and owners’ disagreements.

Because they were unable to reach any kind of agreement for some time, there was worry that a lockout would ensue.

Eventually, the two sides opted for a prorated pay option that gave players’ their salary based on how many games were played. This was one of the biggest reasons for a 60-game season.

Of course, nobody likes to talk about the financial aspect of the sport, especially in a time where many people are struggling. However, now that the season is over, we are able to reflect upon the decisions made and the impacts they had.

Decreasing Payroll

The decision resulted in a collective $2.47 billion drop in MLB payrolls during 2020, with many sharp decreases from different organizations.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees are two examples of teams that typically lead the league in payroll, always being above $200 million. However, this season they just had $98.6 million and $86.3 million payrolls respectively.

In a year when MLB organizations were not able to benefit from in-person finances, this payroll cut should aid in keeping themselves afloat. Many early projections had each MLB club losing $640,000 per game on ticket sales alone.

As a whole, MLB lost $3.1 billion as a result of the pandemic, resulting in about $100 million per team.

These losses were expected, however.

How will this impact decisions teams make moving forward?

Revenue Loss Impact

Because of the major loss of revenue, there may be some cuts that teams making moving forward. One such that we have already seen was the furloughing of employees.

Many of these happened back in May, and a large portion of these employees were unable to return to work later in the year. On top of this, many scouts and player development employees were let go to save costs.

Minor League players were also the target of some of these pay cuts, as some organizations didn’t pay them after August. For most of these players, they already make below minimum wage as a Minor Leaguer.

Major League Baseball has also announced the intentions of shuttering well over 100 Minor League affiliates and severing their ties to the organizations. In some cases, they are opting to convert these into collegiate summer leagues.

However, this is still a measure that hopes to cut costs.

This season will also be difficult for MLB organizations as they deal with more impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fans will probably be able to see this in free agent signings this offseason.

Pandemic Impacts on 2021 Free Agency

With the financial hit that the franchises endured, player contracts will likely be impacted greatly. While players like Trevor Bauer and George Springer would normally command large, long-term contracts, it is likely that these will be greatly reduced.

However, the interesting thing is the difference in ownership groups. For example, teams like the Toronto Blue Jays, who are owned by a telecommunications giant, have not been as impacted by the pandemic. As a result, they have more to spend this free agency.

Regardless, it is expected that contracts across the board will be lower.

There is a fear among agents, such as Scott Boras, that MLB owners will use these losses as an excuse to not pay the players what they deserve. If this does happen, expect there to be backlash from the players’ union.

From here, it will be interest to see how this shifts the conversations players and owners will have as they prepare for a 2021 season.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted many of the fundamental things that we have taken for granted. One of the most noticeable over the summer was the absence or modification of Little League baseball.

Summers can typically be charted by the Little League schedule. The start coincides with the beginning of the summer, while a dog pile in Williamsport, PA. marks the season coming to a close.

Little League baseball is the time for kids to fall in love with the sport and start making friends that they will play with for the next 10 years.

Unfortunately, all of that was cut short last year when many regions had to shut down due to COVID-19. We weren’t able to cheer on the local teams or see them perform on a national stage.

Pike County Little League in Illinois was one example of many that had to cancel their season to comply with state mandates, shutting the league down for the first time in 65-plus years.

Others tried playing and had to cancel once a member of the league became infected with the virus.

Now, with rising cases across the country and the fear that a vaccine will not be distributed quick enough, there are worries about the freedom to play the sport in the spring.

The Importance of Little League

For many 11- and 12-year-olds around the country, Little League can be a transformative time. It can set the foundation for an addiction and love for the sport that lasts a lifetime. For most of these kids, it is also their first taste of actual, competitive baseball.

Even in a time when a pandemic has changed the way we approach sports, Little League is still important.

At some point, almost everyone watches the Little League World Series on TV and sees the atmosphere of Williamsport. It is a highlight of the beauty of summers as a kid, with the ultimate enjoyments of youthful excitement.

This inspires many to dream of making it to that point, with the beginning of every season feeling like there is a chance it will come true. It gives kids and their friends something to rally around, making the summer games an act of unity and closeness.

After all, everyone who ever played Little League remembers running around with friends after the game, eating a hot dog as you watch friends on other teams play.

In a time where the youth participation and interaction with the sport are increasing, it is an even more important time to continue welcoming kids into baseball.

Playing Baseball in a Pandemic

The biggest problem with everything amidst the pandemic is the unknown; we do not know what it will look like this coming April.

The baseball may end up looking a little different, but it will still be same-old America’s Pastime. Little League will, of course, have to follow with whatever mandates are out at the time. This may result in masks being worn, social distancing in the dugouts, or other types of preventative measures.

However, it will all be for the best if local kids are able to play baseball. With so many people waiting for some type of re-normalization, Little League would be the best way to reintroduce it.

This upcoming baseball season is important for a variety of reasons.

For a lot of places, it may be the first time they are able to do the things that they have been deprived of for a year. This could make baseball fields the prime source of getting together and enjoying the pure sounds of baseball that we have had to give up this last year.

The hope is that we will be able to see teams compete once again, with the end goal of Williamsport in mind. In a time where is feels like we’ve had to isolate ourselves from the world, having teams from each continent meet on a baseball field would be such a welcomed moment.

While it may not seem significant, it is something that we really need now more than ever.

All across the country, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a curveball for athletes. Every level of baseball has been affected in some way.

Whether it be Little League, high school, or professionally; nobody has been immune to the changes that have been forced upon the sport.

For high school baseball players, there is a lot of pressure to perform and be looked at by college recruiters. Most of the time, this happens during a player’s sophomore or junior season.

Unfortunately, a lot of these prospective college athletes had their seasons torn from them due to the pandemic.

Now, many players are in a point of limbo where they have had the odds stacked against them.

The Loss of a Spring Season

The 2020 high school baseball season was completely lost for nearly every player in the United States. This was a devastating blow for these athletes, as this is usually an opportunity to showcase talent and have coaches see in-game action.

On top of this, all in-person college baseball recruiting has been suspended through January 1, 2021.

While the class of 2020 was nearly finished with the recruiting process, the classes of 2021 and 2022 are the most impacted.

“The big losers in all of this are the next two high school classes,” Milburn High School (NJ) head coach Brian Chapman said.

Where the class of 2020 will struggle is their acclimation with college teams. They will be brought into situations where rosters are overloaded due to the NCAA granting an additional year of eligibility.

Now, incoming freshman will have no senior season to go off of and will instantly be at a disadvantage.

“This year’s high school seniors are going to show up on college campuses and discover they came to replace players who haven’t left yet,” Middle Tennessee State University coach Jim Toman said.

Now, after many college fall seasons were either heavily altered or shortened, there is even more uncertainty for these players as they head into their first collegiate season.

Summer Baseball Finds a Way

While high school seasons were cancelled, summer ball was able to be played in different areas across the country.

Local leagues were formed in all kinds of formats, from a Sandlot style to organized games with umpires. Along with this, major showcases were still held to get players in front of college coaches.

Prep Baseball Report (PBR), for example, offered showcases where players could go against each other and show off their best tools. These were all equipped to stream the events for college coaches to virtually attend.

Some of these events had over 100 college coaches viewing the showcase.

Perfect Game was able to hold their National Showcase, where hundreds of the top high school prospects competed to earn a spot in the All-America game.

These show the willingness of these companies to adapt and offer players the chance to still play in front of college coaches.

It is clear that this generation of baseball players will be shaped by this pandemic. It has forced the sport to adapt in ways it hasn’t before.

With a vaccination on the horizon, the path to normal life may be forming.

However, there is a chance that this is yet another spring full of worry and fear of the unknown for high school players.

What is known now, though, is that COVID-19 will have a long-lasting impact on baseball. For prospective collegiate players, the pandemic has made changes to recruiting that will be seen for the next few years.

Major League Baseball has announced a plan to form a new MLB Draft League. This will be a new summer league that will allow the best collegiate players across the country an opportunity to get scouted ahead of the draft.

The MLB Draft League will feature a 68-game season starting next year. There are five founding teams, all of whom are former minor league affiliates: the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, the State College Spikes, the Trenton Thunder, the West Virginia Black Bears and the Williamsport Crosscutters.

The league will begin in early June and go into August. For college level players looking to get drafted, it is an excellent opportunity to get looked at by professional scouts.

It will be sponsored by Prep Baseball Report, one of the largest showcase companies for high school players.

This follows a September announcement that the former single-A Appalachian League will convert to a summer collegiate league as well. The plan is for them to play a 54-game season.

More moves like this are likely to happen moving forward. As MLB tries to reduce the number of minor league affiliate teams, plans are in place to convert leagues into summer opportunities.

Being sponsored by the MLB, the league will get benefits that others don’t. It will be a very accessible league for scouts, and MLB organizations will likely be able to work closely with the league’s players.

On top of this, “state-of-the-art scouting technology” will be available to scouts, allowing them to evaluate players at a higher level.

The Importance of Summer Leagues

For college baseball players, summer leagues are one of the most critical times for development and scouting. This is where most players will begin getting looked at by professional teams.

Summer leagues place the best players from across the country, regardless of what school they go to, against each other. For example, the best players from the division three level are able to play against players at major division one schools. For scouts, this is where a player’s true talent becomes clear.

The MLB summer leagues will be coming into a landscape that is already dominated by a variety of leagues.

The Cape Cod League is the most notable, known as the premier spot for collegiate baseball. During the past draft, the CCBL had 13 selections in the first round, with nine being in the top 29.

Besides the Cape, notable leagues include: the New England Collegiate League, Futures Collegiate Baseball League, California Collegiate League, Coastal Plains League, Northwoods League and Alaskan League.

There are many more beyond just those, and MLB is planning to add to that.

Though more details are yet to be known, it is thought that players who get drafted will be able to play the rest of their summer on that team. This would replace “rookie ball,” the level of the minors that most new draftees enter right away.

Replacing Minor League Organizations

At its core, this move serves as a replacement for the minor league teams that the MLB is planning on cutting. The proposal from the league removes 120-160 minor league affiliates, changing the landscape of MiLB.

By opening these various summer leagues, the former affiliated organizations are still able to get revenue from baseball operations. They are still able to give local fans the baseball that they ate used to and will still have some funding from the MLB.

There is hope that the move will also encourage franchise owners to pay their minor leagues more. In most cases, minor leagues are paid less than minimum wage.

By cutting the affiliated teams, the total number of players in the minor league system is dramatically reduced. This will hopefully lead to higher wages for the players.

Though this move has been met with a lot of criticism, the MLB’s view is that it will ultimately benefit every side impacted.

While this remains to be seen, the formation of these leagues potentially allows for many more talented collegiate players to get seen by professional scouts.

During 2020, it was obvious that the Los Angeles Dodgers were the best team in the MLB. However, they are clearly not content with staying put and going into next season with virtually the same roster.

The Dodgers have reportedly expressed interest in bringing superstar third baseman Nolan Arenado to LA.

Arenado, a five-time All-Star, has been a cornerstone for the Colorado Rockies over the past eight seasons. The 29-year-old is MLB’s premier third baseman, being the perfect blend of a devastating hitter and adept fielder.

Besides the COVID-shortened 2020 season, Arenado has hit at least 37 home runs in five of the last six years. He has also won the Gold Glove Award each season he’s been in the league

(8 seasons).

His eight Gold Gloves already tie him with Scott Rolen for the third most all-time among third baseman.

Before the 2019 season, Arenado signed an eight-year contract extension with the Rockies worth $260 million. He will be under contract through 2027.

However, the contract extension hasn’t dispelled any trade rumors on the market. Rumors were sparked last January when he reportedly said that he wanted out of Colorado. While no move was made, the rumors are once again firing up this offseason.

With these rumors, the Dodgers have risen as the primary suitors.

The franchise has shown a willingness to go out and get superstars to bolster their lineup. Last season, the Dodgers traded for right fielder Mookie Betts, subsequently signing him to a 12-year extension.

This move was a major reason the franchise won their first World Series title since 1988, giving them an added weapon on both sides of the ball.

A move for Arenado this winter would net the Dodgers a similar presence on the field.

Adding Arenado to the Dodgers

Any move involving Arenado will require a large package of Dodgers players. This would likely involve at least Dustin May or Gavin Lux, both of which have been proven as some of the league’s best young players.

Along with them, the team would have to part ways with a few players on their top prospects list. Right-handed pitcher Josiah Gray, their top prospect, was acquired in the Yasiel Puig trade with the Reds in 2018.

Shortstop Jeter Downs was too, but the Dodgers flipped him in the Betts deal. If history repeats itself, expect a package for Arenado to include Gray.

While this would be a lot to give up for the Dodgers, they would have to be willing to part ways with talented players to land the league’s best third baseman.

With the dependable Justin Turner heading to the free agent market, a spot at the hot corner has opened up for the Dodgers. While Turner is one MLB’s best third baseman, Arenado is on another level. He would bring a perennial 40 home run threat and certified Gold Glove defense to the team.

It all seems like a perfect storm for an Arenado trade.

A League of Their Own

As it stands now, the Dodgers are the league’s World Series favorites. The addition of Arenado would take them to another level.

season, the Dodgers’ offense was ranked at the top of the MLB in home runs, runs and slugging percentage. On top of that, the team’s pitching was first in ERA and WHIP. Adding Arenado would make their team seem even more unstoppable.

For the rest of the league, the Dodgers would clearly be in a league of their own. On paper, there would be few other teams that could matchup with their roster.

Arenado could give this team a modern-day “Murderers’ Row” lineup.

During 2020, it was obvious that the Los Angeles Dodgers were the best team in the MLB. However, they are clearly not content with staying put and going into next season with virtually the same roster.

The Dodgers have reportedly expressed interest in bringing superstar third baseman Nolan Arenado to LA.

Arenado, a five-time All-Star, has been a cornerstone for the Colorado Rockies over the past eight seasons. The 29-year-old is MLB’s premier third baseman, being the perfect blend of a devastating hitter and adept fielder.

Besides the COVID-shortened 2020 season, Arenado has hit at least 37 home runs in five of the last six years. He has also won the Gold Glove Award each season he’s been in the league

(8 seasons).

His eight Gold Gloves already tie him with Scott Rolen for the third most all-time among third baseman.

Before the 2019 season, Arenado signed an eight-year contract extension with the Rockies worth $260 million. He will be under contract through 2027.

However, the contract extension hasn’t dispelled any trade rumors on the market. Rumors were sparked last January when he reportedly said that he wanted out of Colorado. While no move was made, the rumors are once again firing up this offseason.

With these rumors, the Dodgers have risen as the primary suitors.

The franchise has shown a willingness to go out and get superstars to bolster their lineup. Last season, the Dodgers traded for right fielder Mookie Betts, subsequently signing him to a 12-year extension.

This move was a major reason the franchise won their first World Series title since 1988, giving them an added weapon on both sides of the ball.

A move for Arenado this winter would net the Dodgers a similar presence on the field.

Adding Arenado to the Dodgers

Any move involving Arenado will require a large package of Dodgers players. This would likely involve at least Dustin May or Gavin Lux, both of which have been proven as some of the league’s best young players.

Along with them, the team would have to part ways with a few players on their top prospects list. Right-handed pitcher Josiah Gray, their top prospect, was acquired in the Yasiel Puig trade with the Reds in 2018.

Shortstop Jeter Downs was too, but the Dodgers flipped him in the Betts deal. If history repeats itself, expect a package for Arenado to include Gray.

While this would be a lot to give up for the Dodgers, they would have to be willing to part ways with talented players to land the league’s best third baseman.

With the dependable Justin Turner heading to the free agent market, a spot at the hot corner has opened up for the Dodgers. While Turner is one MLB’s best third baseman, Arenado is on another level. He would bring a perennial 40 home run threat and certified Gold Glove defense to the team.

It all seems like a perfect storm for an Arenado trade.

A League of Their Own

As it stands now, the Dodgers are the league’s World Series favorites. The addition of Arenado would take them to another level.

Last season, the Dodgers’ offense was ranked at the top of the MLB in home runs, runs and slugging percentage. On top of that, the team’s pitching was first in ERA and WHIP. Adding Arenado would make their team seem even more unstoppable.

For the rest of the league, the Dodgers would clearly be in a league of their own. On paper, there would be few other teams that could matchup with their roster.

Arenado could give this team a modern-day “Murderers’ Row” lineup.

Text Box: Photo by Logan Weaver, UnsplashWhile these are still just rumors, the Dodgers have proven a willingness to go out and make a big move. Expect them to keep looking to add Arenado this offseason.

While these are still just rumors, the Dodgers have proven a willingness to go out and make a big move. Expect them to keep looking to add Arenado this offseason.

The New York Mets have made a decision in their multi-year owner search, culminating in the team’s purchase by billionaire businessman Steve Cohen. Cohen purchased the team for a record setting $2.475 billion, the most ever spent on an American sports team.

Cohen beat an offer put together by former MLB star Alex Rodriguez, entering into an exclusive negotiation for the organization in August.

This culminated into a final sale, which the other MLB owners and New York City officials approved of.

“On behalf of Major League Baseball, I congratulate Mr. Cohen on receiving approval from the Major League Clubs,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement on October 30.

The sale ends the 34-year tumultuous ownership by the Wilpon family. In recent years, former owner Fred Wilpon was considered to be one of baseball’s worst.

Over the past 17 seasons, the Mets have only made the playoffs three times. Much of this was due to Wilpon’s refusal to rebuild the club, with fears of what their crosstown rivals the New York Yankees were doing.

Wilpon was also the source of a variety of front office drama and mistakes. For example, instead of accepting blame for the franchise’s recent failures, Wilpon accused former General Manager Sandy Alderson.

This was widely considered to be a bad look for the franchise.

With Cohen’s hiring, a new era of baseball in Flushing has dawned. For Mets fans everywhere, he represents the first step in the right direction for the franchise.

He wasted no time interacting with the fan base, taking to Twitter on November 1.

“I would love to hear your ideas to make YOUR Mets experience better,” Cohen posted on Twitter. The post received thousands of interactions, with Mets fans pitching all kinds of ideas from free agency signings to improving stadium concessions.

In his short time as the Mets’ owner, he has already proven the desire to connect with fans and improve the organization.

Mets’ Outlook for 2021

In a shortened 2020 MLB season, the Mets finished tied for last in the NL East. However, the roster does have talented building blocks, including 2019 Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso and rising star Michael Conforto.

Going into the 2020 offseason, it is anticipated that the Mets will be buyers for some of the market’s biggest free agents.

With former star Robinson Cano being suspended for the 2021 season without pay due to his second steroid violation, Cohen and the Mets now have an additional $24 million of payroll.

They also have an opening in the infield.

Cohen did not waste any time explaining what he will do with the money.

“Spend it on players,” Cohen said. For a team that was already planning on being liberal with their money this offseason, the additional $24 million makes them a bigger player.

 

Offseason Moves for The Mets

Heading into the offseason, the Mets were expected to make a strong move for former Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto. They have also been linked with Astros’ outfielder George Springer.

With Cano’s suspension, expect the Mets to try and lure AL batting title winner D.J. LeMahieu away from the Yankees.

Pitcher Trevor Bauer also could be added to an already devastating starting rotation when healthy.

On the trade market, the Mets could also be active. Superstars Nolan Arenado and Francisco Lindor could both be looked at as potential fits.

For baseball players everywhere, there has been experience with the difficulties of handling protective equipment. Often slow and annoying to manage, one can say it is quite cumbersome.

Whether this be on the Little League level or in the Majors, players know just how long and tiresome it can take to get this gear on or off.

If you've ever been a catcher you the dread of making the last out of an inning and having to hustle back to the dugout. Though they would greatly appreciate an extra second of rest, they are forced to hurry and change into their batting gear. This leads to confusion, misplaced straps, fatigue and general discomfort.

Quick Shield offers a new, superior alternative to cut down on the time it takes fussing with protective gear.

While traditional gear uses straps to hold it in place, Quick Shield makes use of powerful magnets.

This is made possible by the Quick Connect technology, allowing players to quickly and easily handle their protective gear. It accomplishes this with magnets on the guard connecting to ones inside the pants, creating a tight connection that holds the equipment to the player while providing enhanced protection from potential injury.

This allows catchers to simply place their leg guards on, allowing the magnetic force to do the work of snapping the equipment into place. After this, a single strap at the top of the leg is attached to create a snug fit for the athlete.

As a result of this breakthrough technology, it takes about a fourth of the time to put-on and take-off the shin guards, saving catchers the valuable time and stress that comes between innings.

This also speeds the game up, getting catchers on the field quicker between innings. Furthermore, it affords pitchers more time to warm up with their catcher, building comfort and continuity going into the next inning.

For pitchers, especially at higher levels, this can be the decisive difference between a successful inning and a disastrous one.

REMOVING QUICK SHIELD TECHNOLOGY

They are also easy to remove, coming off by just grabbing, twisting, and pulling, providing catchers the luxury of going quickly from defense back to offense.

Quick Shield is not limited to just catchers, however.

With the rising popularity of protective equipment for hitters, Quick Shield makes use of their technology to give batters an easier way to manage their protective batting equipment. With the Quick Connect magnets, players are able to just snap their guards into place with ease.

For hitters leading-off an inning, it allows them to get their gear on quicker and have more time warming up in the batters circle.

Beyond just the elbow and shin guards seen throughout the MLB, Quick Shield offers even more protection for hitters. Because of the magnets, guards can be put on to cover the batter’s shoulder, ribs, and hip, all vulnerable areas at the plate.

For example, All-Star Outfielder Andrew McCutchen suffered a fractured rib after being hit by a pitch in 2014. Quick Shield allows hitters to protect these parts of their body without hindering their swing. If McCutchen was able to wear one of these rib guards, he may have avoided hurting himself altogether.

CHANGING THE GAME

Quick Shield opens the door for hitters to have more protection than ever had before, allowing them to stand confidently at the plate without fear of a fastball getting away from the pitcher.

This works both offensively and defensively, with Quick Shield protective gear letting players manage their equipment quicker and with more freedom.

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