At 2:00 PM EST today, the Baseball Writers Association of America will announce the newest inductees into baseball’s Hall of Fame.  At 2:01 PM EST today, Twitter will be overrun with snarky jokes and passionate outcries for the players who deserve to be, but were not voted in – most likely Jeff Bagwell.

While a lot of the attention leading up to today’s announcement has been on Bagwell, and how certain journalists are not voting for the former Houston Astros first baseman because they believe, without real evidence, that he used performance enhancing drugs, I’m surprised over the lack of support for Rafael Palmeiro.

Palmeiro is only the fourth player in MLB history to collect 3000 hits and 500 home runs.  It’s difficult to believe that without a positive drug test in the last season of his career, Palmeiro wouldn’t be an easy decision for a first ballot Hall of Famer, among both the long time journalists and the bloggers who won’t get off their lawns.

There are so many things that we don’t know about drug use in baseball during the steroid era, like how exactly it contributed to better performances or how it compared to the drugs being used in the seventies.  And yet, once a player is labelled a user, that’s all that’s necessary, no matter what his contribution to the game was, to exclude him from enshrinement.  Making things even more frustrating is that this disingenuous exclusion comes after Major League Baseball reaped all the benefits of the increased offensive production during this era that critics claim, without scientific proof, was the sole result of the widespread use of performance enhancing drugs.

If baseball was actually concerned with the health of its players, and not only its reputation, it wouldn’t have waited ten, fifteen, twenty years to begin the great moral grand standing initiative to shamefully tsk tsk players for drug use once the damage to their bodies has already taken place and MLB’s revenues have already increased from the popularity of home runs.

Sadly, the terms disingenuous, shameful and hypocritical are being used to describe the players who used steroids instead of the organization that wilfully ignored it.

Rumours, Signings And Extensions Oh My

After days of they have – they haven’t yet news stories, it appears as though the Texas Rangers and Adrian Beltre have finally agreed to a six-year deal worth $96 million.  Beltre is believed to have taken his physical last night and assuming it was successful, the Rangers will announce the deal sometime today.

The Atlanta Braves have signed newly acquired second baseman (for now) Dan Uggla to a contract extension that will pay him $62 million over the next five years.  According to Ken Rosenthal, it’s the largest annual salary that a second baseman has ever received.

The Washington Nationals signed Adam LaRoche to a two year contract that will guarantee the first baseman $16 million dollars.  The deal also includes a highly unlikely to be exercised $10 million mutual option in 2013.  The total falls short of the rumoured offer LaRoche hummed and hawed over from the Orioles which would’ve guaranteed him more than $20 million over three years.

The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that the Chicago Cubs are quickly becoming the most likely team to land Matt Garza from the Tampa Bay Rays.

And The Rest

Tom Tango writes about fielding value as it pertains to the Hall of Fame.

Is Scott Rolen extremely underrated?  Why, yes he is.

Baseball and beer belong together like throws and catches.

It’s About The Money looks at the pitcher of the decade.

Orioles reliever Alfredo Simon is currently awaiting the results of ballistics tests to determine whether it was his gun that fired the shots that hit two brothers on New Year’s Eve.  Let this be a lesson to you: don’t fire a gun into a crowd on New Year’s Eve.

Finally, do not rub the head of Adrian Beltre.