Pat Hickey from the Montreal Gazette goes over his Hall of Fame ballot. He notes that voting is a difficult and involved undertaking, and says “If you’re doing it right, it should take three to four hours to fill out a ballot for the Baseball Hall of Fame.”
Then, after noting that he’s not voting for the PED guys on character grounds, he says this:
Pete Rose was ignored by a majority of voters for the 15 years he was on the ballot …
Pete Rose has never appeared on a Hall of Fame ballot as he is banned from baseball and is thus ineligible pursuant to the Hall of Fame’s rules. Which inspires one to ask what the hell Hickey is doing in those 3-4 hours he studies his ballot.
Hickey goes on to say that “The black mark against [Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens] is their arrogance in denying any wrongdoing.” This comes a couple sentences after he notes that Mark McGwire garnered only 19.5% of the vote in his sixth year of eligibility. Given McGwire’s lack of denials — indeed, the complete opposite of denials — something tells me that the black mark changes depending on the candidate.
This is not unique. Expect to see a plethora of incoherent things like this from Hall of Fame voters in the coming weeks.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.