You can look at Jeff Bagwell’s measly 41.7% vote total in a couple of ways. On the one hand, it’s a big insult for a guy who was one of the best first basemen ever and you can assume he’s getting jobbed.
Another way to look at is with some optimism of eventual induction. That’s what Chris Jaffe does over at The Hardball Times:
I’m sure many are sad to see Bagwell score so lowly in this election, but it’s a good start. Aside from players currently on the ballot, only one scored higher than 31 percent the first time and hasn’t since been elected (Steve Garvey, who – like Bagwell – got 42 percent his first time). Actually, Bagwell even edges Garvey: 41.7 to 41.6 percent.
I’d like to be as optimistic, but my sense is that the guys who started out down in the 40% range and eventually made it did so because people gave their cases short shrift at first and eventually educated themselves or were convinced. With Bagwell, however, we’re dealing with a situation in which people are — I believe anyway — taking a moral stand against him.
It’s way easier to change someone’s mind when they’re non-committal to begin with. But it’s really, really hard to change someone’s mind when they believe something with conviction.
I think Bagwell’s total stays in the same 40% range next year. At best. It may, like McGwire’s, actually go down.
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.
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.