cooperstown

Nah, there’s nothing wrong with the Hall of Fame voting process

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Except for the fact that three writers — not one, not two but three writers — from something called “GolfersWest.com” have Hall of Fame votes. And justify votes for some guys by saying things like “[a]dmitted bias here, as I covered [player] for his entire career …”

But fine, the GolfersWest.com did cover baseball for a long time and their ballots are not awful or anything. But gee whiz this is a bit much:

As for bias, that part is correct. We have the responsibility as to who gets in, so that gives us a natural bias toward doing it correctly. We stand by the door like a nightclub bouncer behind the velvet rope. We check IDs. We check authenticity. We compare those already in to those standing on the doorstep. For better or worse, we are to ones who approve the credentials. Yea or nay. That job has been entrusted to us and our bias tends to bend toward merit, not whim.

Today Joe Sheehan — whose newsletter is fabulous and to which you should subscribe — said the following:

This is the year, I would say, that the Hall of Fame voting ceased to be about the players and became, wholly, about the writers.

I’ve seen nothing to dissuade me of that notion.

There are probably a dozen dudes on the ballot this year who far exceed historical precedent for induction. If the patterns shown among publicly-released ballots so far, absolutely none are getting in.  All because a bunch of writers who, once upon a time, covered baseball for a living have decided that they are neither reporters nor historians nor analysts, but bouncers at Studio 54.  Just fabulous.

Brett Lawrie will take a pay cut to avoid arbitration with White Sox

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 12: Brett Lawrie #15 of the Chicago White Sox fields a ground ball during batting practice before the start of the game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on August 12, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
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Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.

The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.

Cubs sign LHP Brian Duensing to a one-year, $2 million deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04:  Brian Duensing #50 of the Baltimore Orioles throws a pitch in the eleventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.

The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.

The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.