Bill Conlin

How can we even think about what the Bill Conlin story means for the Hall of Fame?

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I’ve tried really hard to not think too deeply about what the Bill Conlin allegations might mean for the Hall of Fame. For a couple of reasons, really.

For one thing, the Spink Award, which makes Conlin “a Hall of Famer,” isn’t really an induction into the Hall of Fame. It’s really just the inclusion of his photo and bio in a broadcaster and writer exhibit in the museum. Yes, it’s an honor, but the conversation about “should Conlin be removed from the Hall of Fame” is kind of beside the point. No offense to the other Spink winners, but if they do anything to him it’s more akin to taking a guy’s picture off the Employee of the Month display than it is like taking Jefferson’s face off Mt. Rushmore.

But really, the largest reason this conversation seems inappropriate is that it seems really wrong to use what is the most awful and nightmarish thing imaginable — child abuse — as a means for pivoting into what is basically a political argument about the nature of the Hall of Fame.

Yes, like a lot of people, when I immediately heard the news about Conlin I thought “well, what does THAT mean for the Hall’s character clause?” But it was a fleeting bit of defense mechanism snark before the enormity and awfulness of the news set in. With a few moments’ reflection, the notion that there is any kind of appropriate equivalence to be drawn between steroids and a player’s induction and molestation and a writer’s exclusion is just too difficult to get my brain around. I will argue about almost anything if given the chance, but I can’t, at the moment anyway, make those kinds of analogies with anything approaching gusto.

Some are, though. And that’s fine. My issues with this are my issues with it. I’m a father and I’m not objective so I don’t trust myself to bring anything approaching reason to bear on the matter.  The best I can say is that, rather than anyone rethinking the character clause for future Hall of Fame inductees, the Conlin stuff is more likely to make the BBWAA and the Hall of Fame look for ways to drum people out after they are inducted or honored, as the case may be.

I have no faith, however, that whatever happens will be well-considered. This kind of stuff inspires the exact opposite of reason in people. And that, in turn, inspires rash and ill-considered acts.

Danny Espinosa reportedly skipped Nationals Winterfest because of Adam Eaton

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Danny Espinosa #8 of the Washington Nationals celebrates after teammate Chris Heisey #14 (not pictured) hits a two run home run in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 13, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.

A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.

Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.

Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.

Nick Cafardo: Red Sox should deal Pomeranz, not Buchholz

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: Drew Pomeranz #31 of the Boston Red Sox pitches during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on September 18, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox won 5-4. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)
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The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.

The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.

Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.

Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.