Voting changes could put Steinbrenner in Cooperstown in 2011


The Hall of Fame Veteran’s Committee used to consider managers, umpires, executives and long-retired players every couple of years in one big lump.  Yesterday they decided to break their consideration up by era, and stagger the voting year-by-year.  The categories: Pre-Integration Era (1871-1946), the Golden Era (1947-1972) and the Expansion Era (starting in 1973). I’ll save my rant about the so-called “Golden Era” for another time.

Voting on the Expansion Era will take place down at the Winter Meetings this December. That means that George Strinbrenner is up for consideration.  My guess is that he’ll get in. My guess is also that they started with the Expansion Era — rather than doing it chronologically — for the express purpose of getting Steinbrenner in on the first ballot after his death.

Is Steinbrenner Hall of Fame worthy? Unless you have a rule against all owners going in on general principle he’s a no-brainer in my book.  How about yours?

Blue Jays sign Danny Espinosa to minors deal

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Free agent middle infielder Danny Espinosa signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays, the team announced Saturday. The deal includes an invite to spring training, where Espinosa is scheduled for his first split-squad game against the Orioles this afternoon.

Espinosa, 30, was inked to another minor-league deal with the Yankees in January. The veteran infielder was competing for an infield job until the team picked up second baseman Neil Walker on a one-year, $4 million deal last Monday. Prior to his release, he slashed .160/.276/.320 with one home run through his first 12 games with the Yankees this spring. He didn’t fare much better in the majors last year, either, batting a cumulative .173/.245/.278 with six home runs and a .523 OPS in 295 PA for the Mariners and Rays.

Blue Jays starting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is still dealing with a bone spur in his heel and has officially been ruled out for Opening Day, which could clear a path for Espinosa to claim a starting role in Toronto. Of course, he won’t be the only candidate under consideration — Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz are still in the mix as well, though no final decision appears to be made just yet.