What Scott Rolen’s induction means for other HOF hopefuls, plus American Tommy Paul reaches Aussie Open semis
Good morning to everyone but especially to…
The wait is over and the meteoric rise is complete for Scott Rolen. He is heading to the Baseball Hall of Fame after his sixth year on the ballot. He’ll join Fred McGriff, who was voted in by the Contemporary Era Committee in December, in the two-man 2023 class.
Over his 17-year career with the Phillies, Cardinals, Blue Jays and Reds, Rolen racked up seven All-Star Game nods, eight Gold Gloves, the 1997 NL Rookie of the Year and the 2001 Silver Slugger. He also won the 2006 World Series with St. Louis.Rolen’s 70.1 career WAR is 10th all-time among third basemen.Rolen received just 10.2% of the vote his first year on the ballot, lowest ever by a player eventually voted to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He received 76.3 percent this time around, five votes above the 75 percent threshold.
Rolen is unsure whether he’ll choose a Phillies or Cardinals hat for his plaque… or if he’ll have no logo at all. With 10 years eligibility available to players, it’s not all about who makes it. Gaining votes is a huge storyline, too — as evident by Rolen’s story — and several notable names did well there:
Todd Helton — 72.2 percent (11 votes shy of induction) in fifth yearBilly Wagner — 68.1 percent in eighth yearAndruw Jones — 58.1 percent in sixth year
Carlos Beltrán garnered 46.5 percent of the vote in his first year on the ballot, normally a solid number but, in this case, one complicated by his role in the Astros‘ cheating scandal. Where Beltrán’s vote share goes from here will be one of the biggest stories of the 2024 ballot, and our Matt Snyder examined what that ballot will look like here.
As for active players with Hall-of-Fame potential, Matt took a look at more than 50 names and noted seven locks, including Mike Trout. Here are all of Matt’s takeaways from this year’s vote.
Honorable mentionsNot so honorable mentions
Bill O’Brien is Patriots’ new OC, leaving Alabama with another huge hole 🏈
Bill O’Brien is heading back to the NFL, filling a big need for one of the league’s premier franchises and leaving giant shoes to fill at one of college football’s premier programs. On Tuesday, O’Brien agreed to become the Patriots‘ offensive coordinator, the same role he had filled for Alabama over the past two seasons.
This was a crucial hire for New England, and O’Brien’s track record — especially with Bill Belichick — speaks for itself.
O’Brien spent 2007-11 with the Patriots, working his way up from offensive assistant to offensive coordinator. The Patriots went 64-16 during those five seasons and ranked first in scoring offense and second in total offense.O’Brien then spent two years as Penn State‘s head coach before returning to the NFL with the Texans. He accumulated a 52-48 record in Houston — the only coach in franchise history to finish with a winning record — but was fired after an 0-4 start to the 2020 season.During O’Brien’s time at Alabama, the Crimson Tide ranked in the top five in yards per game, points per game and touchdowns, and he coached Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young.
Now, he’ll be tasked with helping another former Alabama quarterback — Mac Jones — take a big leap after a trying second season. The Patriots’ offense averaged just 18.2 points in 2022 and was the league’s worst red zone group.
As for the flip side, Nick Saban now must replace both coordinators in the same offseason for the fifth time in his Alabama tenure (defensive coordinator Pete Goulding left for the same position at Ole Miss earlier this month). Add that to stars like Young and Will Anderson Jr. leaving for the NFL, and Saban has his work cut out for him, writes our David Cobb.
Potential landing spots for Aaron Rodgers with Packers expected to explore trades 🏈
It’s looking like a third straight offseason of speculation regarding whether Aaron Rodgers will play again — and where he’ll play if he does. According to reports, the Packers are expected to at least consider trading Rodgers this offseason, with Jordan Love getting closer to being ready to take over in Green Bay.
There’d be no shortage of potential suitors for the four-time MVP, writes our Cody Benjamin, who lists nine teams that could be interested. A Hall-of-Fame icon from one of those nine has already given his endorsement.
Mike Clevinger accused of domestic violence, under MLB investigation ⚾
White Sox starter Mike Clevinger is under MLB investigation after allegations of domestic violence and child abuse from Olivia Finestead, the mother of Clevinger’s 10-month-old daughter.
On her Instagramp age, Finestead detailed several alleged incidents, including Clevinger choking her last June when he was with the Padres. Weeks later, according to Finestead, Clevinger slapped her and threw used chewing tobacco at their child.
Clevinger agreed to a one-year, $12-million deal with the White Sox in November. The team became aware of the allegations after the deal.The league’s collectively bargained domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse policy allows commissioner Rob Manfred to discipline players regardless of criminal charges.Seventeen players have been suspended under that policy since it came into effect in 2015.
Tommy Paul, unseeded American, is into the Australian Open semifinal 🎾
No American man has won a Grand Slam since Andy Roddick at the 2003 US Open. Tommy Paul is two matches from changing that after beating fellow American Ben Shelton in the Australian Open quarterfinal, 7-6 (6), 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, late last night. Paul will face Novak Djokovic in the semifinal.
The trio of Paul, 25, Shelton, 20 and Sebastian Korda, 22, led a strong showing by the American men Down Under. It was the first time three American men made a Grand Slam quarterfinal since Andre Agassi, Robby Ginepri and James Blake did so at the 2005 US Open.
Paul is currently 35th in ATP Rankings and has been as high as 28. Shelton, meanwhile, is 89th in the world and just months removed from winning the 2022 NCAA singles championship at Florida.
What we’re watching Wednesday 📺
🏀 No. 13 Xavier at No. 19 UConn, 6:30 p.m. on FS1
🏀 Nets at 76ers, 7:30 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Grizzlies at Warriors, 10 p.m. on ESPN
⚽ USMNT vs. Serbia, 10 p.m. on HBO Max, Peacock