Five teams — including the Yankees — are interested in Jeff Francis

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Jerry Crasnick reports that the Mets, Nationals, Pirates, Rangers and Yankees have shown interest in Jeff Francis, who most recently pitched for the Rockies.  Some of those other teams have been mentioned before, but this is the first time anyone has reported the Yankees’ interest.

As Drew noted over the weekend, Francis was rusty at times last year, but he improved in the second half and his velocity was up.  He could be a good candidate for sharp improvement in 2011. There aren’t a lot of teams who he couldn’t help in some capacity, even if it’s just as a fourth or fifth starter.

The Hall of Fame rejected the BBWAA vote to make ballots public

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Last year, at the Winter Meetings, the BBWAA voted overwhelmingly to make Hall of Fame ballots public beginning with this year’s election. Their as a long-demanded one, and it served to make a process that has often frustrated fans — and many voters — more transparent.

Mark Feinsand of MLB.com tweeted a few minutes ago, however, that at some point since last December, the Hall of Fame rejected the BBWAA’s vote. Writer may continue to release their own ballots, but their votes will not automatically be made public.

I don’t know what the rationale could possibly be for the Hall of Fame. If I had to guess, I’d say that the less-active BBWAA voters who either voted against that change or who weren’t present for it because they don’t go to the Winter Meetings complained about it. It’s likewise possible that the Hall simply doesn’t want anyone talking about the votes and voters so as not to take attention away from the honorees and the institution, but that train left the station years ago. If the Hall doesn’t want people talking about votes and voters, they’d have to change the whole thing to some star chamber kind of process in which the voters themselves aren’t even known and no one discusses it publicly until after the results are released.

Oh well. There’s a lot the Hall of Fame does that doesn’t make a ton of sense. Add this to the list.