Neil Walker, Jose Tabata

Pittsburgh writer leaves Heyward off Rookie of the Year ballot, includes two Pirates

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UPDATE: We now know who the voters who left Buster Posey and Jason Heyward off their Rookie of the Year ballots were: Yasushi Kikuchi of the Kyodo News (He’s a member of the L.A.-Anaheim BBWAA Chapter) was the only one to omit Posey. He had Gaby Sanchez first, Heyward second and Jaime Garcia third. The voter to omit Jason Heyward was Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He had Posey first, and two Pirates — Neil Walker and Jose Tabata — second and third.

I can almost see Kikuchi’s vote if you assume that he’s a total hardass about playing time.  Still ridiculous to leave Posey off because his production more than outweighed his lost time, but at least there’s a potential philosophical thread to hold onto there.  Dejan, though? Dude, that’s just nuts.  The Pittsburgh guy voting for two Pirates, neither of whom were considered top rookies by really anyone this year, is sketchy.  I hope Dejan writes a column explaining his votes, because absent any other explanation, it smells like rank homerism. I like and respect Kovacevic’s work, so I want there to be a better reason than that.

2:33 P.M.: Like I said, I don’t take issue with Buster Posey taking the NL Rookie of the Year Award. Strong season, definitely deserving, even if I would have gone with Heyward. They were excruciatingly close in my mind once you controlled for Heyward playing in more games, but I don’t for the life of me presume to know how to value Posey’s defensive contributions and they may have made up for it.  You’ll never hear me complain about Heyward not winning.

But I can complain about this: one writer left Buster Posey off his ballot entirely. One writer left Jason Heyward off.  That is simply unreasonable.

Check out the voting yourself:there are 32 voters. Each one gets to name three players on their ballot.  Both Posey and Heyward were named on only 31 ballots. I don’t care if you have Posey first or Heyward first, but how do you not have one of them either first, second or third?

Can this be explained by Gaby Sanchez’s two inexplicable first place votes?  Is there a Florida insurgency? Did Sanchez’s flying clothesline of Nyjer Morgan not only catapult him higher in the rankings than he deserves, but also knock out votes for Posey and Heyward?

Inquiring minds want to know . . .

Mitt Romney’s sons are trying to buy a stake in the Yankees

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 30:  Tagg Romney son of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gives an interview during the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 30, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate during the RNC which will conclude today.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:

The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.

The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.

I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.

In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.

Max Scherzer still can’t throw fastballs

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals works against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth inning during game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 13, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.

The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.

Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.