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.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal

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The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.

Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.

Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.