Vinny Castilla

Vinny Castilla is getting at least one Hall of Fame vote

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Dave Krieger of the Denver Post has a fine Hall of Fame ballot for the most part:  Jeff Bagwell, Larry Walker, Barry Larkin​, Jack Morris​, Tim Raines​ and Alan Trammell​.  I wouldn’t vote for Morris, of course, but I’d gladly take his induction if it meant Raines, Trammell and Bagwell got in, so it’s all good.

Well, not all. See, he’s also voting for a certain former Colorado Rockies third baseman:

Vinny Castilla and Eric Young Sr. make their ballot debuts this year. Considering that neither Dante Bichette norAndres Galarraga got the requisite 5 percent of the vote to return to the ballot a second time, the same fate seems likely to await Vinny and E.Y. this year …  I’m voting for Castilla because I don’t believe he deserves to be knocked off the ballot after one year, as Bichette and Galarraga were.

Hoo boy.  It’s hard to blame Krieger here, however, because the real culprit in this is the stupid “you must get 5% of the vote or else you fall off the ballot rule.”

That rule causes two problems. The first problem: silly votes like this one, in which a voter is admitting to voting for a player he admits is unworthy of the Hall of Fame for what amount to political purposes.  I really hate this. In terms of integrity of the ballot, it’s not all that different than those dudes who send in blank ones because they hate steroids or whatever.  Really, guys, you all have columns. Write your protests there. Leave the actual ballot alone.

The second problem: candidates who totally deserve much greater consideration falling off because, for whatever reason, that consideration was not given when they first appeared on the ballot. Lou Whitaker is the poster boy for this. He’s not just worthy of more consideration, he’s worthy of induction. But for whatever reason, no one really thought of him that way the first year he was eligible and now he’s done.

Someone needs to explain to me the purpose of the 5% rule. What good, if any, it serves that the fact of a player falling off completely after 15 years doesn’t serve.  Because for now all it’s doing is boning guys like Lou Whitaker and caused guys like Vinny Castilla to get Hall of Fame votes. And that drives me nuts.

Spring training will be slightly shortened in 2018

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - MARCH 15:  General view of action between the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants during the spring training game at Scottsdale Stadium on March 15, 2014 in Scottsdale, Arizona. The A's defeated the Giants 8-1. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Associated Press is reporting that the spring training schedule will be shortened by two days starting in 2018. That change comes as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, which was agreed to last month.

Specifically, the voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers, and injured players has been changed to 43 days before the start of the regular season, down from 45. For the rest of the players, the reporting date is 38 days before the start of the regular season, down from 40.

The change goes hand-in-hand with allowing teams 187 days, rather than 183, to complete their 162-game regular season schedule.

While just about everyone seems to be in agreement that the spring training exhibition schedule is too long, team owners are likely very hesitant to shorten that part of the spring schedule because it would cost them money. So they’re just allowing players to arrive to camp a couple of days later.

Report: Rays trade Logan Forsythe to the Dodgers for prospect Jose De Leon

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - AUGUST 4: Logan Forsythe #11 of the Tampa Bay Rays waits in the dugout to get on deck to bat during the third inning of a game against the Kansas City Royals on August 4, 2016 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Update (7:05 PM EST): The Rays and Dodgers have both announced the trade.

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Update (6:57 PM EST): That was fast. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports the two sides have agreed to the trade. Forsythe for De Leon. An announcement is expected shortly.

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the Dodgers and Rays are “deep into discussions” on a trade involving second baseman Logan Forsythe. Passan adds that the two sides have discussed pitcher Jose De Leon — the Dodgers’ top pitching prospect — as part of the return for Forsythe, but it’s unclear if he’s in the deal currently being discussed.

Forsythe, 30, hit a productive .264/.333/.444 with 20 home runs and 52 RBI in 567 plate appearances in 2016. He was even better the year before, finishing with an .804 OPS. Forsythe can fill the Dodgers’ obvious need at second base, but he also has experience playing third base, first base, shortstop, and corner outfield.

Forsythe is entering the second year of his two-year, $10.25 million contract extension with the Rays. He’ll earn $5.75 million in 2017 and his controlling team has an $8.5 million club option with a $1 million buyout for the 2018 season.