Murray Chass defends his blank Hall of Fame ballot on MLB Network Radio

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On Sunday, blogger Murray Chass wrote a column explaining why he submitted a blank Hall of Fame ballot. He’s a “small Hall” guy, which means he has a higher standard for players getting enshrined than do most people. He’s also virulently against players associated in any way with performance-enhancing drugs.

Sticking only to his defenses, though, is to give Chass the benefit of the doubt because the only reason he’s still voting, he said three years ago, is to spite writers like Rob Neyer and our own Craig Calcaterra. Chass is truly more an agitator than an agent of change.

Casey Stern of MLB Network Radio had Chass on today to clarify his blank ballot, but we didn’t really learn anything new.

It’s worth pointing out that for every non-vote a player gets, it takes three votes in order for him to be elected. Chass is correct that his non-votes make an impact, but it’s disappointing that it’s for wrong and misinformed reasons.

Padres may have more interest in Dallas Keuchel than Bryce Harper

Dallas Keuchel
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An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.

As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.

While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.