Ken Rosenthal is pretty straightforward with his Hall of Fame balloting: he won’t vote for the PED guys. Bright side: he’s pretty strict about who he considers to be a PED guy, limiting to guys against whom there is strong evidence. This is totally defensible even if I’d approach it differently. there is rigor and fairness involved and he doesn’t play the innuendo and guilt-by-association games.
Here’s his Hall of Fame ballot. The most notable thing: ten guys are on it, despite his no-PED policy. And all ten are worthy, which just shows you how stocked the ballot is this year. It shows that there is basically no excuse for anyone turning in a ballot with only a couple of guys on it.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.
Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.
Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.