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Alex Rodríguez, Manny Ramírez Headline 2023 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVNovember 21, 2022

NEW YORK - JULY 15:  American League All-Stars Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees and Manny Ramirez of the Boston Red Sox during batting practice before the 79th MLB All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium on July 15, 2008 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Baseball Hall of Fame released its 2023 ballot Monday with Manny Ramírez, Álex Rodríguez, Scott Rolen and Todd Helton among those who garnered enough votes last year to remain in consideration.

Carlos Beltrán, Francisco Rodríguez, Matt Cain, John Lackey and Mike Napoli are some of the notable stars on the ballot for the first time.

Rodríguez and Ramírez would've been first-ballot Hall of Famers if they had been judged on their resume alone.

Rodríguez was a three-time AL MVP and a 14-time All-Star. The 47-year-old is fifth all-time in home runs with 696, and based on Baseball Reference's JAWS metric, he's the second-best shortstop in MLB history behind Honus Wagner.

Ramírez was one of baseball's most imposing sluggers during his prime. Through his first 14 seasons, he averaged 34 home runs and boasted a .314/.411/.600 slash line. His .996 career OPS is 12th all-time.

But Rodríguez and Ramírez are both tainted from the Steroid Era, with both having tested positive for banned substances when they played. As a result, they garnered just 34.3 and 28.2 percent of the vote, respectively, in 2022.

Especially without a high volume of surefire inductees, this could be Rolen (63.2 percent) and Helton's (52 percent) year.

That Rolen has failed to meet the 75 percent threshold in his first five years on the ballot underscores that he has become underrated in retirement. He was an eight-time Gold Glove winner who provided nearly as much value offensively, finishing with a .281/.364/.490 slash line.

Helton, meanwhile, is having to pay a Coors Field tax. The thin air of the Mile High City aided his performance, but his park-adjusted numbers lay out how he was a potent hitter independent of his surroundings. He posted a 133 OPS+ and a 132 wRC+.

As is the case with Rodríguez and Ramírez, scandal could hinder Beltrán's quest for the Hall of Fame.

Because he was no longer a player, MLB named the 45-year-old throughout its report on the Houston Astros' sign-stealing allegations. The immediate fallout was enough to cost him the opportunity to manage the New York Mets.

And unlike Rodríguez and Ramírez, Beltrán isn't an open-and-shut Hall of Fame case if you leave aside his role in the Astros' wrongdoing. He finished in the top five of the MVP voting just once in 20 years.

When Andruw Jones only got 41.4 percent of the vote in 2022 and Kenny Lofton sat at just 3.2 percent in his only year on the ballot in 2013, Beltrán might be facing an uphill climb.

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