Bill Mueller is getting at least one Hall of Fame vote

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I kinda liked Bill Mueller as a player. Got on base at a nice clip. Won a batting title. Was part of the 2004 Red Sox World Series team and hit well in the series itself. Maybe the numbers say differently but I want to remember him as playing a good third base. To the extent anyone ever thought to interview him, he seemed like a nice thoughtful chap.

And now, courtesy of Pedro Gomez of ESPN, he’s getting at least one Hall of Fame vote.

Gomez has taken a bunch of flak in the past day or two since that article went up.  To his credit he’s defended his vote on Twitter, calling it a “favored son vote,” and saying he gave it to Mueller to honor “what he represented.”

To his credit, but let’s not pretend that the defense has any merit. While I don’t think such token votes are a crime against nature — at least as long as no worthy candidate is being left off a ballot, which in Gomez’ case no one is — but that kind of thing bugs the living hell out of me.  We’re lectured by the voters constantly about how unpleasant a job it is filling out a Hall of Fame ballot and being told that we simply can’t understand how hard it is to make such decisions, and then someone uses their ballot as if it were for the homecoming king competition.

UPDATE:  I’m reminded that Gomez is also the guy who, three years ago, gave Jay Bell a courtesy vote. Oy.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.