Update: Brown reports that the Reds have agreed to terms with Cabrera on a one-year, $3 million contract with a $3 million option for 2011. According to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com, there’s a $1 million buyout on the second year.
Saturday 6:33 pm: Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports hears that Orlando Cabrera is leaning towards choosing the Reds over the Rockies, with a deal likely done today.
Cabrera would have a better chance to win in Colorado, but with Troy Tulowitzki as the starting shortstop, he’d have to accept a part-time role with the club, most likely at second base, a position he hasn’t played regularly since 1998. The Reds love Paul Janish’s glove at shortstop (he only played 82 games at the position last season, but led all shortstops in UZR/150), but don’t think they can shoulder his meager offensive production over the course of a full season.
As Cincinnati emerges as the clear favorite for Cabrera, Troy Renck of the Denver Post tells us that the Rockies are a finalist for free agent infielder Melvin Mora. The Mariners and Rangers are also rumored to have interest in the 37-year-old. Mora has only played third base since the 2004 season, but the Rockies believe he could also play second base and outfield. He served a similar utility role with the Mets and in his early days with the Orioles.
Former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera deservingly became the first player ever inducted into the Hall of Fame unanimously, receiving votes from all 425 writers who submitted ballots. Previously, the closest players to unanimous induction were Ken Griffey, Jr. (99.32% in 2016), Tom Seaver (98.84% in 1992), Nolan Ryan (98.79% in 1999), Cal Ripken, Jr. (98.53%), Ty Cobb (98.23% in 1936), and George Brett (98.19% in 1999).
Because so many greats were not enshrined in Cooperstown unanimously, many voters in the past argued against other players getting inducted unanimously, withholding their votes for otherwise deserving players. That Griffey — both one of the greatest outfielders of all time and one of the most popular players of all time — wasn’t voted in unanimously in 2016, for example, seemed to signal that no player ever would. Now that Rivera has been, this tired argument about voting unanimity can be laid to rest.
Derek Jeter will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time next year. He may become the second player ever to be elected unanimously. David Ortiz appears on the 2022 ballot and could be No. 3. Now that Rivera has broken through, these are possibilities whereas before they might not have been.
Another tired argument around Hall of Fame voting concerns whether or not a player is a “first ballot” Hall of Famer. Some voters think getting enshrined in a player’s first year of eligibility is a greater honor than getting in any subsequent year. I’m not sure what it will take to get rid of this argument — other than the electorate getting younger and more open-minded — but at least we have made progress on at least one bad Hall of Fame take.