Two simple changes to the Hall of Fame ballot

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We usually reserve all of our Hall of Fame arguing for late December and early January when we can devote sufficient time to the obnoxiousness that requires, but any time is a good time really.

Today Jim Caple has a suggestion to improve the process:  (1) eliminate the 15-years-on-the-ballot rule; and (2) eliminate the if-you-don’t-get-five-percent-of-the-vote-you’re-dropped rule.

I’m definitely in favor of the second one, as I’ve never understood its purpose.  If we can see players go from very little support in the early years of their candidacy to ultimately being elected, why does it matter how low their vote total is in the early years?  If they simply have no support, they won’t be clogging anyone’s ballot for multiple years and eventually even the hardcore voters will stop voting for lost causes.  Make it like, a bunch of years with sub-five percent before doing it.  Who knows what make us reevaluate someone’s candidacy over time?  Wouldn’t it be great to be able to talk about Lou Whitaker now?

I’m not as sure on the 15-year thing, because it can prevent someone getting moderate though not overwhelming support from clogging things up.  We’ll see this more in the coming years when half the voters refuse to vote for the steroid guys and gridlock results.  Still, I’m not adamant in opposing such a thing and could be persuaded because there still is an arbitrary feeling to the rule.

This would all be fun to debate.  Too bad the folks that run the Hall of Fame never seem all that interested in joining in that debate.

Report: Diamondbacks acquire Steven Souza from Rays; Yankees land Brandon Drury

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Update (6:35 PM ET): This is a three-team deal also involving the Diamondbacks, per Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. The Diamondbacks will receive outfielder Steven Souza from the Rays and second baseman Brandon Drury will head to the Yankees. Lefty reliever Anthony Banda will go to the Rays, Piecoro adds. The Diamondbacks will also receive prospect Taylor Widener from the Yankees, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post. MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert adds that the Rays will get two players to be named later from the D-Backs.

Souza, 28, is earning $3.55 million in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility, so the Rays are presumably saving money in moving him. Last season, Souza hit a productive .239/.351/.459 with 30 home runs, 78 RBI, 78 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases in 617 plate appearances. Souza’s arrival almost certainly pushes Yasmany Tomas out of a starting gig.

Drury, 25, has played a handful of positions in his brief major league career. Last year, he played second base in Arizona, batting .267/.317/.447 with 13 home runs and 63 RBI in 480 PA.

Banda, 24, made his major league debut last season, posting an ugly 5.96 ERA with a 25/10 K/BB ratio in 25 2/3 innings. The peripherals suggest he pitched better than his ERA indicated.

Widener, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the 12th round of the 2016 draft. This past season with High-A Tampa, he pitched 119 1/3 innings and posted a 3.39 ERA with a 129/50 K/BB ratio. MLB Pipeline rated Widener as the 14th-best prospect in the Yankees’ system.

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Robert Murray of FanRag Sports reports that the Rays will acquire second base prospect Nick Solak from the Yankees. The Yankees’ return is presently not known.

Solak, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the second round of the 2016 draft. He spent last season between High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, hitting a combined .297/.384/.452 with 12 home runs, 53 RBI, 72 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases.

MLB Pipeline ranked Solak as the eighth-best prospect in the Yankees’ system and the fifth-best second base prospect in baseball, praising him for his ability to hit line drives as well as his speed.