Bill Mueller is getting at least one Hall of Fame vote

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I kinda liked Bill Mueller as a player. Got on base at a nice clip. Won a batting title. Was part of the 2004 Red Sox World Series team and hit well in the series itself. Maybe the numbers say differently but I want to remember him as playing a good third base. To the extent anyone ever thought to interview him, he seemed like a nice thoughtful chap.

And now, courtesy of Pedro Gomez of ESPN, he’s getting at least one Hall of Fame vote.

Gomez has taken a bunch of flak in the past day or two since that article went up.  To his credit he’s defended his vote on Twitter, calling it a “favored son vote,” and saying he gave it to Mueller to honor “what he represented.”

To his credit, but let’s not pretend that the defense has any merit. While I don’t think such token votes are a crime against nature — at least as long as no worthy candidate is being left off a ballot, which in Gomez’ case no one is — but that kind of thing bugs the living hell out of me.  We’re lectured by the voters constantly about how unpleasant a job it is filling out a Hall of Fame ballot and being told that we simply can’t understand how hard it is to make such decisions, and then someone uses their ballot as if it were for the homecoming king competition.

UPDATE:  I’m reminded that Gomez is also the guy who, three years ago, gave Jay Bell a courtesy vote. Oy.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to 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.