cooperstown

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: Dexter Fowler will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts after lining out during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.

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Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.

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Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.

Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.

Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.

Braves acquire Luke Jackson from the Rangers

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 16:  Relief pitcher Luke Jackson #53 of the Texas Rangers  throws during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros at Globe Life Park on September 16, 2015 in Arlington, Texas. Texas won 14-3. (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images)
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Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.

Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.

Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.

Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.