Hall of Fame weekend “kind of sad”, “not as much excitement”

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The Baseball Writers Association of America opted not to elect any new living members to the Hall of Fame for the first time since 1965. Scott Miller of CBS Sports asked some living legends about the atmosphere in Cooperstown, New York, and the sentiment wasn’t very positive.

“This year, it’s kind of sad,” former Cardinals great Bob Gibson said.

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“There’s not as much excitement on Main Street as there usually is, and there are fewer guys,” Reds infield legend Joe Morgan said. “There’s usually 40 to 50, and I heard there’s 34. So obviously, that’s a little different.

“But it’s still the Hall of Fame, know what I mean?”

When balloting was completed in January, first-timers Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza, Curt Schilling, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and others fell short of the 75 percent requirement. Biggio came closest with 68.2 percent of the vote. Jack Morris, in his 14th year on the ballot, received 67.7 percent and will have one more shot at getting in next year.

Major League Baseball seems to enjoy shooting itself in the foot over the performance-enhancing drugs issue. By allowing the BBWAA to make a moral stand against PED users, known or suspected, they effectively kill interest in the Hall of Fame. What reason do fans have to visit the Hall of Fame, or watch the induction ceremony? By suspending Ryan Braun for the rest of the season, what reason do Brewers fans have to keep up with the team over the final two months? MLB is its worst enemy, even when they outsource outrage to the BBWAA.

Eventually, the process will need to be amended to get a more diverse set of opinions and to ensure that at least one new member is inducted every year, lest we have a second consecutive year of… well, nothing. The 2014 ballot will feature a handful of shoo-ins, including Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, and Mike Mussina.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.