So, what are Jeff Bagwell’s chances for the future?

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You can look at Jeff Bagwell’s measly 41.7% vote total in a couple of ways. On the one hand, it’s a big insult for a guy who was one of the best first basemen ever and you can assume he’s getting jobbed.

Another way to look at is with some optimism of eventual induction. That’s what Chris Jaffe does over at The Hardball Times:

I’m sure many are sad to see Bagwell score so lowly in this election, but it’s a good start. Aside from players currently on the ballot, only one scored higher than 31 percent the first time and hasn’t since been elected (Steve Garvey, who – like Bagwell – got 42 percent his first time). Actually, Bagwell even edges Garvey: 41.7 to 41.6 percent.

I’d like to be as optimistic, but my sense is that the guys who started out down in the 40% range and eventually made it did so because people gave their cases short shrift at first and eventually educated themselves or were convinced.  With Bagwell, however, we’re dealing with a situation in which people are — I believe anyway — taking a moral stand against him.

It’s way easier to change someone’s mind when they’re non-committal to begin with. But it’s really, really hard to change someone’s mind when they believe something with conviction.

I think Bagwell’s total stays in the same 40% range next year. At best.  It may, like McGwire’s, actually go down.

Report: Astros offer one-year contract to Charlie Morton

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The Astros have made a contract offer of one year with an option to free agent pitcher Charlie Morton, Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports. The amount of the contract offer is not known, but would likely be less than the $17.9 million qualifying offer the Astros failed to make to him.

Morton, 35, had the best season of his career in 2018, going 15-3 with a 3.13 ERA and a 201/64 K/BB ratio in 167 innings. It is likely the peak in what has been a late-career reinvention that started at the end of his tenure in Pittsburgh, persisted through an injury-shortened stint with the Phillies, and continued over the last two years with the Astros. Morton’s delivery, which famously mimics that of the late Roy Halladay, has seen his strikeout rate rise from middling to elite rates while his fastball velocity climbed from the low-90’s to the mid-90’s.

Despite Morton’s reinvention, he is likely going to have to settle for short-term deals due to his age and durability issues. 2018 was the first time in his career he crossed the 30-start threshold.