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.

If the Tigers are sub-.500 at the end of June it’ll be fire sale time

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Jon Morosi reports that that the Detroit Tigers will make all veterans available via trade if they’re still under .500 by the end of June.

This was the position they entered the offseason with — everyone is available! — but they ended up gearing up for one more push with the core of veterans they currently employ. It was not a bad move, I don’t think. With the exception of the Indians, the AL Central is mostly down, or at least appeared to be over the winter, with the Royals in decline and the Twins and White Sox seemingly a few years away from contention. The Twins, however, have been fantastic and the Tigers have mostly underachieved.

So we’re back to this. Which veterans the Tigers can reasonably unload, however, is an open question. J.D. Martinez is in his walk year, so while tradable, he may not bring back a big return. Guys like Justin Upton, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera either have very large contracts or no-trade protection.

The end of June is still a while from now, of course, and while the Tigers are under .500, they’re only 4.5 games behind the Twins. But they had better turn it around or else it sounds like the front office is going to turn the page.

Must-Click Link: Remembering Eddie Grant the first major leaguer to die in combat

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As you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and whatever it entails for you and yours, take some time to read an excellent article from Mike Bates over at The Hardball Times.

The article is about Eddie Grant. You probably never heard of him. He was a journeyman infielder — often a backup — from 1905 through 1915. If you have heard of him, it was likely not for his baseball exploits, however: it was because he was the first active baseball player to die in combat, killed in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in October 1915.

Michael tells us about more than Grant’s death, however. He provides a great overview of his life and career. And notes that Grant didn’t even have to go to war if he didn’t want to. He was 34, had the chance to coach or manage and had a law degree and the potential to make a lot of money following his baseball career. He volunteered, however, for both patriotic and personal reasons. And it cost him his life.

Must-read stuff indeed. Especially this weekend.