The Hall of Fame announces its non-player candidates

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Most of the Hall of Fame arguing this winter will be over Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Barry Larkin and Robby Alomar.  But there are managers and executives to be considered as well:

Twenty former major league managers, umpires and executives will be
considered for election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame for
induction in 2010 by two Veterans Committees, with results of a Dec. 6
vote to be announced Dec. 7 at baseball’s Winter Meetings, it was
announced today . . .The 10 managers and umpires eligible for election consideration to the
National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010: managers Charlie Grimm, Whitey
Herzog, Davey Johnson, Tom Kelly, Billy Martin, Gene Mauch, Danny
Murtaugh and Steve O’Neill; umpires Doug Harvey and Hank O’Day.

The 10 executives eligible for election consideration to the
National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010: Gene Autry, Sam Breadon, John
Fetzer, Bob Howsam, Ewing Kauffman, John McHale, Marvin Miller, Gabe
Paul, Jacob Ruppert and Bill White.

Picking managers for the Hall of Fame is an exercise in subjectivity (at least until this book comes out, anyway). Yes, at some point a handful of rings trumps everything else, but how does one really distinguish between Tom Kelly and Davey Johnson?  Between Whitey Herzog and Billy Martin?  I think objective cases can be made for all of those guys, but the “fame” part of “Hall of Fame” may count for more in the case of these guys.  If I had to pick I’d say yes to Herzog and probably Martin and no to the other ones mentioned, but I’ll be honest and say that a lot of that has to do with me simply liking them more than the other candidates.  Your counterarguments are welcome.

As for the executives, it has long been and remains a total disgrace that Marvin Miller is not in the Hall of Fame. Love him or hate him, his impact on baseball is undeniable. After Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson, I’d have a hard time saying anyone did more to revolutionize the game of baseball than did Miller. Maybe Branch Rickey, but that’s about it.  The Veterans’ Committee is still comprised of a ton of old-timers and company men, however, many if not most of whom didn’t receive the benefits — or were cost money directly — by the changes Miller wrought.  I’d like to think people would set aside nearly forty year-old grudges, but I’m not optimistic. And it’s worth mentioning that he doesn’t want to be inducted anyway.

I’ll be at the Winter Meetings this year, however, so at least I’ll get to complain to people about Miller’s exclusion in person.  I’ll be the angry bald guy being escorted out of the convention center by security. 

The other owners and executives don’t impress me all that much.  Great, you were rich enough to buy a team and lived long enough for people to forget that you were a sonofabitch when you were younger. That’s not Hall of Fame worthy in my opinion.

Yordano Ventura’s remaining contract hinges on the results of his toxicology report

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.

What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.

The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.

Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.

Spring training will be slightly shortened in 2018

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - MARCH 15:  General view of action between the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants during the spring training game at Scottsdale Stadium on March 15, 2014 in Scottsdale, Arizona. The A's defeated the Giants 8-1. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Associated Press is reporting that the spring training schedule will be shortened by two days starting in 2018. That change comes as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, which was agreed to last month.

Specifically, the voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers, and injured players has been changed to 43 days before the start of the regular season, down from 45. For the rest of the players, the reporting date is 38 days before the start of the regular season, down from 40.

The change goes hand-in-hand with allowing teams 187 days, rather than 183, to complete their 162-game regular season schedule.

While just about everyone seems to be in agreement that the spring training exhibition schedule is too long, team owners are likely very hesitant to shorten that part of the spring schedule because it would cost them money. So they’re just allowing players to arrive to camp a couple of days later.