Posnanski takes on the Hall cases for Baines, Mattingly, Morris and … Charlie Joiner?

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We’ve been following Joe Posnanski’s week of Hall of Fame columns so far, so there’s no sense in stopping now.  Today he discusses the Hall of Very Good players on the ballot.  After his nice appreciations of Harold Baines and Don Mattingly — each of whom really should be appreciated, because they were darn good ballplayers — he gets to Jack Morris.  Music to my ears:

The cases made for Morris have been, in my opinion, not particularly convincing or even intellectually honest … I guess my point here is to ask those people who think Jack Morris belongs in the Hall of Fame to PLEASE make more appealing arguments.

Which is what I was getting at in yesterday’s post.  You don’t have to drop your support for Jack Morris just because some statty people have poked holes in his Hall of Fame resume. But you do need to find a case that actually has a fact or two on its side rather than repeating the baloney that has been completely discredited.

Posnanski even takes a stab at a case for Morris, centered on the facts that he was durable and very good for a long time, even if he was never great.  That’s something.  It’s something that, historically, Morris supporters have dismissed when such a case was offered for other players such as Blyleven or Dwight Evans or Lou Whitaker, but there’s no rule that says they can’t change their mind on that stuff now.

But the Morris stuff isn’t even the best part of the column. That goes to Posnanski’s take on Lee Smith that, for reasons you should read yourself, make a damn apt comparison between Smith and former Chargers receiver Charlie Joiner of all people.  It’s the kind of three-dimensional thinking and analysis that separates Posnanski from mere mortals.  Great stuff.

Brandon McCarthy wins final spot in Dodgers’ rotation

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We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.

McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.

Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.

Yankees re-sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

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The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.

Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.

Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.