Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe has been a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America for ten years now. As a result, he just received his first-ever Hall of Fame ballot. He has a column up today in which he talks about his approach. He doesn’t name his picks yet — he’s still working on it — but he does lay out his criteria:
1. If a player is a Hall of Famer in my estimation, he’ll get my vote the first time he’s eligible. I see no point in having a waiting period. Nobody is getting any better or worse at this point.
2. It’s not my job to correct the mistakes of the past. Just because the Veterans Committee put Phil Rizzuto in doesn’t mean I need to vote for middle infielders who had a career OPS+ of 93.
3. I’ll be judicious in selecting players. The Hall of Fame should not be the Hall of Very Good. Cooperstown needs to be a special place.
4. I’ll solicit opinion and information from many sources when I have doubts or questions. If you feel strongly for or against somebody, feel free send me an e-mail with your reasons.
I get the sense that, if I had the vote, I’d be a bit more lenient than Pete — I think I’d be a “medium-sized Hall” guy as opposed to a small-hall guy — but I think he articulates a great way to approach it.
There’s no reason to withhold a first-year vote for someone you know to be a Hall of Famer simply because Babe Ruth or whoever wasn’t unanimous. If he’s worthy, vote him in. Likewise, just because Frankie Frisch perverted the Veteran’s Committee into a way to reward his mediocre old buddies back in the day doesn’t mean that we must now elect mediocre players. And I love that Pete is soliciting reader opinions. Even if someone in Pete’s position does know more about baseball than almost anyone, that doesn’t mean he has a monopoly on wisdom.
Good luck, Pete. And make sure you include Blyleven and Raines!
MASN’s Roch Kubatko is reporting that the Orioles have “some level” of interest in free agent outfielder Denard Span. The Nationals did not make a $15.8 million qualifying offer to Span, which means he doesn’t come attached with draft pick compensation unlike other free agents such as Alex Gordon and Dexter Fowler.
Span, who turns 32 in February, hit a solid .301/.365/.431 with five home runs, 22 RBI, 38 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases, but took only 275 plate appearances due to back and hip injuries. He underwent season-ending hip surgery in September but is expected to be ready to participate in spring training.
The Mets and Royals have also reportedly shown interest in Span’s services.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Blue Jays are on the prowl for relievers with closing experience. Ryan Madson is one of the names on their list.
Madson, 35, had a career rebirth with the Royals in 2015. He signed a minor league deal with the club that paid him a salary of $850,000 if he made it back to the majors. Due to a plethora of arm injuries, Madson hadn’t pitched in the majors since Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals as a member of the Phillies. For the Royals, he wound up becoming a crucial member of the bullpen, finishing with a 2.13 ERA and a 58/14 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.
While Madson allowed five runs in 8 1/3 post-season innings, he pitched well when it mattered most, as he hurled three scoreless frames in three appearances in the World Series against the Mets.
Madson has closing experience, with 55 career saves. 32 of them came in 2011 when he took over the closer’s role from Brad Lidge.
After signing Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, and trading for Jesse Chavez, the Jays have bolstered their rotation but it was reported on Saturday that interim GM Tony LaCava is still focused on upgrading the pitching staff.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent pitcher Trevor Cahill is looking for a one-year, bounce-back deal. The Pirates are one of the potential teams he is considering.
It’s no surprise that the Pirates are on Cahill’s list. Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has garnered a reputation as a miracle worker after turning around the careers of a handful of pitchers, including Edinson Volquez, Francisco Liriano, and J.A. Happ. Volquez parlayed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Pirates into a two-year, $20 million deal with the Royals last December. Liriano signed with the Pirates on a one-year, $1 million contract and turned that into a three-year, $39 million deal. Happ, dealt to the Pirates from the Mariners at the most recent trade deadline, just signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Blue Jays.
Cahill, once a highly-regarded pitching prospect, has scuffled over parts of seven seasons in the majors. The 27-year-old owns a career 4.13 ERA with a 754/427 K/BB ratio in 1,083 2/3 innings. Cahill had some brief success after signing with the Cubs as a free agent in mid-August, compiling a 2.12 ERA in 11 appearances out of the bullpen.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Blue Jays have narrowed their search for a new general manager down to two candidates: current interim GM Tony LaCava, and Indians vice president of player personnel Ross Atkins. Former Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos resigned last month.
LaCava was promoted to interim GM on November 2 and has already made a handful of moves along with new president Mark Shapiro. The club acquired Jesse Chavez in a trade and signed pitchers Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ to multi-year deals.
Atkins worked under Shapiro in the Indians organization for 15 seasons, so it is no surprise that he is a finalist for the open GM position.