Author: Craig Calcaterra


Buster Olney is abstaining from Hall of Fame voting


It’s no secret that the Hall of Fame voting process is broken. Let us count the ways:

  • The ballot has an arbitrary and purposeless limit on the number of players for whom voters can vote;
  • A backlog of overqualified players has resulted from voters casting their ballots on morality grounds rather than baseball merit in ways that never took place until a couple of years ago;
  • Players’ time on the ballot has been reduced, prejudicing players who are being squeezed due to the candidate backlog;
  • Worse than anything, the BBWAA grants voters lifetime voting privileges, regardless of whether or not the voter covers baseball now or has for decades, resulting in an electorate filled with scores and maybe hundreds of people who know virtually nothing about the candidates they are considering.

And now that set of circumstances has led one of the most knowledgable and qualified voters out there — Buster Olney of ESPN — to abstain from voting for the Hall of Fame. His reason? The 10-player ballot limit in combination with the backlog of PED users (for whom he normally votes) means that, rather then just voting on, say, Mike Mussina’s Hall of Fame merits, he is forced to choose between Mussina and, say, Randy Johnson, and thus Mussina is unfairly harmed. His view is that, if he does not submit a ballot, that’s one fewer without Mussina (in his case because Mussina is squeezed) which may, in effect, give Mussina a boost:

Maybe I should’ve figured it out last year, but this puzzle cannot be solved. There’s no way to judge each candidate strictly on his merits given the current ballot limitations, no fair way to vote.

I can’t stand the protest ballots we’ve seen in the past, when someone signs a blank ballot that counts as a vote against all candidates. That’s unfair. I’ve hated to hear the stories of voters who haven’t voted for a player because they didn’t like them personally. The voting shouldn’t be about the writer; it should be only about the players and whether or not they’re worthy of induction.

And I can’t stand the idea of casting a ballot that works against players that I think should be inducted, such as Mussina, Schilling or others. So as much as it has been an honor in the past to participate in the voting, I’ll abstain, and hope that in the future the rules change.

I’m not sure that I would abstain in his situation. I think any benefit the lack of an Olney ballot may bring is outweighed by the fact that there will be one less ballot with many worthy names on it, as his ballot always has. Does this help Mike Mussina a bit? Sure. But it hurts other candidates Olney routinely supports.

Still, I get his frustration. And I agree with him completely that the Hall of Fame voting process is broken and needs to be fixed.


Could the Giants reunite with Melky Cabrera?

melky getty

Seems farfetched. After all, he was suspended for PEDs during the stretch run in 2012 and, even after his suspension was up, his teammates preferred that he not return for the playoffs and he did not. But Ken Rosenthal reports that that could be water under the bridge:

Stranger things have happened, I suppose. And the Giants do want a corner outfielder. Melky would probably be a good addition. The only real stumbling block here, it seems, would be Cabrera’s preference to play back east or in the midwest, though you have to figure he’d make an exception if the money was right.

The Astros are out of the running for Andrew Miller

Andrew Miller

Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports that the Astros are not likely to sign Andrew Miller. The hitch is that Miller is, apparently, seeking four years and the Astros just don’t want to do that.

Until now Miller was tied most strongly with Houston and the Yankees. Barring the appearance of a Mystery Team it would seem that Miller is likely to sign with New York. Maybe as early as today:


Empty Platitude Watch: Nick Markakis edition

Orioles' Markakis hits a RBI-single off Yankees' Mitchell during the third inning of their MLB spring training game in Sarasota

Braves defacto general manager John Hart had this to say about the Nick Markakis signing yesterday:

“We have added a winning player on the field, in the clubhouse, and in the community . . .Nick is a true professional, and our fans will enjoy the way he plays the game.”

Those are meaningless phrases, of course. Unless you can show me any player who, when signed, was considered “a losing player” or “a real amateur” who will cause fans “to really, really hate the way he plays the game.”

The truth, of course — “we signed a guy who won’t totally crap the bed but isn’t as good as you think he is and won’t alienate our suburban white fan base or cause us headaches or force us to mess with the roster a lot during the year” — would be far less inspiring press-conference fodder.

The Dodgers could shop Zack Greinke

Zack Greinke AP

On the heels of the news that the Dodgers may make a push for Jon Lester, Chris Cotillo reports that L.A. could shop Zack Greinke:

According to major-league sources, a growing concern within the Dodgers’ organization that Zach Greinke could opt out of his contract next winter may lead to the team making the right-hander available in trade talks in order to free up a rotation spot for a pitcher like Lester,James Shields or Max Scherzer.

Signing one of the big free agent pitchers and dealing Greinke to fill, say, an infield spot could be a neat idea. But it’s not like they could necessarily command a ton of talent in return given that Greinke would still have his opt-out with the new team. As such, it’d be akin to dealing a near-free agent on a rental deal, not a blockbuster trade for a team-controlled ace.

My guess is this is just talk, but it’s interesting talk I suppose.