It’s rather silly that there have never been any unanimous Hall of Fame inductees. But really, there were some people who actually submitted votes who didn’t vote for Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Tom Seaver, Cal Ripken and many others (actually every other) when they were first up for induction into Cooperstown.
It’s a story of brain-dead inertia, really. For whatever reasons, likely having to do with the voting system and/or misapprehending the nature of the institution and the honor, a lot of early immortals were not selected unanimously. Then, when guys like Ted Williams and others showed up, people would say “well, if Ty Cobb wasn’t unanimous, how can Ted Williams be?” And that has carried on down. It’s much the same reason why there is a big backlog of candidates now: silly precedents causing voters to tie themselves in knots.
Or possibly because a lot of Hall of Fame voters are morons who don’t get baseball, but I’m willing to give them all the benefit of the doubt. Publicly.
Anyway, against that backdrop Richard Justice of MLB.com wrote over the weekend that maybe, just maybe, Mariano Rivera will be the first unanimous selection. Go give it a read.
My thinking: if Greg Maddux doesn’t get it next year no one will, but hopefully Rivera will get it. And Jeter. Frankly, a ton of guys should. I worry, though, that a lot of voters believe that relief pitchers are the work of the devil and will leave him off. Or will cite that precedent stuff I mentioned above. Or will grandstand and submit blank ballots which, if submitted, must be counted as no votes.
It doesn’t matter I guess, as Rivera will certainly get in. But I really would like to get inside the head of some of these dudes who vote.
Update (7:01 PM EDT): David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the deal has been completed.
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2020 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. The suspension is up on August 2. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.