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The Hall of Fame ballot is announced, Bernie Williams, other luminaries now eligible

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The Baseball Writers Association of America just released the Hall of Fame ballots for the 2012 inductions.  There are 13 new candidates on it.  Included are Bernie Williams and a cast of … guys not as good as Bernie Williams. To wit:

Jeromy Burnitz
Vinny Castilla
Brian Jordan
Javy Lopez
Bill Mueller
Terry Mulholland
Phil Nevin
Brad Radke
Tim Salmon
Ruben Sierra
Tony Womack
Eric Young

Yeah, not exactly a killer lineup of newbies. Williams will get some consideration from many — and will probably take up more ink than his candidacy really warrants — but it’s not a hard ballot as far as the newcomers go.

As for the holdovers, Barry Larkin, who got 62.1% of the vote last year is back. He definitely deserves induction in my view.  Jack Morris follows (53.5%). Jeff Bagwell (41.7%) and Tim Raines (37.5%) got way fewer votes than they deserved last year. They won’t get in because the Hall of Fame electorate is apparently addle minded when it comes to those two, but there you have it.  Edgar Martinez got 32.9% last year. I’d vote for him but I get that many won’t vote for a DH unless he’s transcendent and that their definition of transcendent is different than mind. Alan Trammell is still hovering at 24% support, which is a friggin’ crime.

This looks to be the last year or relative calm before all hell breaks loose and the Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens of the world create ballot chaos. Not to mention a slew of non-controversial but sure-Hall of Famers like Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Randy Johnson in the next few years.  Hopefully some order can be restored and some justice provided to guys like Larkin, Trammell, Raines and Bagwell before that all happens, but I’m really only hopeful about Larkin’s chances.

Writers have until December 31 to turn in their ballots. Inductees will be announced on January 9.  Gentlemen: start your outrage.

Orioles are eying Welington Castillo as their primary catcher target

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 25: Welington Castillo #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks warms up prior to taking an at bat against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 25, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
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A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.

Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.

For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.

Report: Phillies agree to minor league deal with Daniel Nava

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 12:  Daniel Nava #12 of the Kansas City Royals bats during the game against the Oakland Athletics at Kauffman Stadium on September 12, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.

Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.