More shoulder problems for Mat Gamel

Leave a comment

Mat Gamel exited yesterday’s game with a sore right shoulder, which is the same injury that caused him to sit out the Brewers’ first three spring training games last week.
He suffered the initial injury while taking batting practice last Thursday, but was also sidelined by a right shoulder impingement last spring. Gamel insists that his current shoulder problem is unrelated to the issues he had almost exactly one year ago, but as manager Ken Macha put it: “We have to get this nipped in the bud.”
Between his defensive shortcomings and Casey McGehee’s emergence as a rookie last season Gamel seemed unlikely to make the Opening Day roster to begin with, so the injury just makes those odds even longer. Unless it turns out to be something serious, of course.
Gamel has proven MLB-ready offensively, holding his own in 148 plate appearances with the Brewers after posting an OPS above .800 at every level in the minors, but Prince Fielder blocks his path at first base and the 24-year-old former top prospect will need to either improve his glove or have McGehee falter to take over at third base.

Mariano Rivera elected to Baseball Hall of Fame unanimously

Elsa/Getty Images
19 Comments

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.