Vinny Castilla

Vinny Castilla is getting at least one Hall of Fame vote


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.

Ben Zobrist is the “Mets’ No. 1 target”

Ben Zobrist
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Ben Zobrist posted a cool .809 OPS (120 OPS+) in 126 games this summer between Oakland and Kansas City while appearing defensively at second base, third base, and both corner outfield positions.

His steady bat and defensive versatility make him a fit for just about every club in Major League Baseball, and the defending National League champions are among the teams in hot pursuit …

It’s a little odd to see the rebuilding Braves listed there given that Zobrist is 34 years old, but Rosenthal says the interest stems from a “desire for him to serve as [a] model for younger players” as the club prepares to open a new ballpark in 2017. Wasn’t that supposed to be Nick Markakis‘ job?

Zobrist and his agent Alan Nero are believed to be seeking a four-year deal.

Tigers agree to deal with starter Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Hey, the hot stove is finally generating some real fire …

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Tigers have agreed to terms on a contract with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. It’s a five-year deal worth around $110 million, per Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.

This should have a domino effect on a loaded starting pitching market. David Price, Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, and Jeff Samardzija are just a few of the names still out there.

Zimmermann, 29, posted a 3.66 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 164/39 K/BB ratio in 201 2/3 innings this past season for the Nationals. He had a 2.66 ERA in 2014 and threw a no-hitter on the final day of the regular season.

Zimmermann’s free agency is tied to draft pick compensation because he rejected a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from Washington, but the Tigers finished with one of the 10-worst win-loss records in 2015 so their first-round pick in 2016 is protected. Detroit will give up its second-round pick instead.

Video: Statcast’s 10 longest home runs from 2015

Giancarlo Stanton
AP Photo/Joe Skipper

Here’s a pretty good way to finally break out of that turkey-induced Thanksgiving tryptophan coma.

It’s a compilation of the 10 longest home runs from the 2015 season, with’s Statcast technology providing data along the path of each blast …

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.