Bob Nightengale’s Hall of Fame ballot is unusual

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USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweeted his Hall of Fame ballot earlier today. It’s somewhat unusual as far as these things go: Barry Larkin, Rafael Palmeiro, Fred McGriff, Jack Morris and Alan Trammell.

Nightengale then said that he votes for PED guys because we’ll never know who did and who didn’t use.  That explains his vote for Rafael Palmeiro.  And that’s fair. But that does mean that — on the merits — he thinks that Jeff Bagwell was inferior to both Palmeiro and Fred McGriff.  And that seems pretty far off the mark to me.

If you read up his timeline, Nightengale responds to questions about that (which is very admirable by the way).  He notes Palmeiro’s counting stats — home run and RBI totals for example — and notes that Bagwell would have made it had he made it to 500 homers.  But of course McGriff only hit 493.  And didn’t play in the awful hitting environment of the Astrodome for nine years like Bagwell did. He explains his love for McGriff more in terms of consistency.

Well, viva consistency, I suppose.

Report: Yankees, Reds finalizing trade for Sonny Gray

Sonny Gray
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Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.

According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.

Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.