Happy New Year -- for those following the calendar. Happy one week closer to the real New Year -- for those who set their watches by the baseball season. Five weeks from today we'll be bringing the weekly Cardinals chats from Jupiter, Fla., just as the Cardinals get ready to arrive for the start of spring training. For now, we're still in the offseason, the winter, Hot Stove season, or ... what these next few weeks really are ... The Bonfire of the Writers. Yep, it's Hall of Fame voting time. And it's time for me to throw a log on the fire. Ballots were due Dec. 31, and an announcement will come in a few weeks. This is my third year as a voter for the Hall, and it was by far the most difficult. By far. I took almost every day that I had to consider my ballot. I spent some time Christmas day trying to finalize the ballot, and still needed the drive to Colorado to really let my thoughts simmer, set in, and cement. For the second consecutive year, I'll reveal the ballot here -- and then take questions, take criticisms. Please bring them. The sharper the better. I welcome this discussion. It's important to me.
Depth moves. Wouldn't be a surprise if the Cardinals add a reliever like they have in the past, or take another scan of the spare outfielder markets for who could add an element to the bench that they don't have. Depth is something to watch.
It does. It stems from performance-enhancing drugs. And they are not alone on this. This is how I approach my ballot, on which I cannot only vote for 10 names, not as many as I think are deserving:
-- I make a list of deserving players.
-- If that list is 10 or less, I vote.
-- If that list is greater than 10, I have to cut.
-- I use the tools that the ballot gives me to trim the list down to 10.
-- One of those tools is the character clause that the Hall acts us to consider.
-- And when it comes to PED use I have to use a standard.
-- That standard I use for the ballot is the same I would for an article: reporting, attribution.
I believe the ballot, like an article, has a byline. I'm signing it. It should be treated with the same standards that I would an article for the newspaper.
It is part of the consideration, but I don't think he would have cracked the top 10 this year.
This is Lee Smith's last time on the writers' ballot. After that he slides into the committee vote for Today's Game, which is a vote from a group of 16. It takes 12 for election then.
It has been, yes. Months ago. The Cardinals added Shildt and Marmol to the staff, Mike Shildt will serve as a quality control coach, and Marmol will be the first-base coach. Mueller will return to assistant hitting coach. Jose Oquendo moved into a teaching role and will have a special assistant title. He'll be based in Jupiter.
Thanks. There's no perfect ballot, no ballot that makes a voter entirely comfortable.
It's personal. It's professional. It should be done in pen.
Has to be the crunch -- mostly. I can say he did not make my initial list before I had to begin trimming, and I doubt I'd vote yes if the Hall accepted a Binary Ballot approach.
It's thin, especially if the team goes into the year talking closer to 150 innings from Reyes than the 175ish that Miller and Martinez targeted at the time. They're going to need to fill in the innings somehow. That could be Wacha and Rosenthal in relief. That could be Weaver spelling a starter or two when they get a rest. That's normal stuff. But as it sits right now, the Cardinals are like about 29 other teams and they'll need innings from someone who is not a member of the rotation right now.
Excellent question because it gives us a chance to discuss how things are decided: comparables. Let's pick one that is close to the Cardinals. It would guarantee him similar to the total money that Jaime Garcia got. Garcia received a four-year, $27-million extension that gave the Cardinals additional control of his free-agent years with options for $11.5 million and $12 million. With the last option being exercised, he'll receive $50.5 million over the six-year life of the extension. Martinez on five years is going to get about the same guarantee. A similar framework with one fewer year, more guarantee, and a higher salary at the starting point.
This is the byline standard, though. I cannot attribute that fact to anything more than rumor and innuendo. Such a thing would not pass the standards established for an article at The Post-Dispatch. Attribution is essential.
Gaming the ballot? I am more likely to game the ballot at the beginning of a player's eligibility to keep him on the ballot than at the end. A few examples of that are Larry Walker two years ago and Jim Edmonds a year ago. Last year, I did vote for Alan Trammell because I wanted to vote for him at least once in my career. I don't understand how he was still on the ballot for me to vote for him. Should have been in already.
Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens for sure. That is the approach that I've adopted to keep myself consistent. I have written and said and promised that there are two things that could happen that would lead me to vote for them -- and not use the character rule to trim my ballot.
Those two things:
-- An unlimited ballot with yes/not voting, or
-- Their transgressions go on the plaque.
The first is far more likely to happen than the second, and it's not all that likely at this point.
Nope. But they do have to pay those MLB per diems to the players. So we've seen teams like the Marlins invite only a few NRIs in order to save money where they can. The other concern is that there are so many players that no one gets any playing time.
Thanks for the thoughtful question, and it's a fair one. You're not the first to bring this up to me, and a few other writers have as we debate the ballot and debate the candidates. I don't see them as similar for one big huge massive difference:
I am participating in the vote.
I am casting a vote for a player and joining in the process. I'm not suggesting that my vote should be worth three of my peers. I am taking part in the process.
I'll offer an imperfect analogy. Consider for a moment if you could submit a blank ballot for U.S. President and that actually negated the vote of three other citizens. Wouldn't that make you ill? If you don't want to participate in the voting, then don't submit a ballot. A blank ballot is the most selfish vote possible.
From what I can tell, it was part of the Cardinals looking at what some alternative routes they could take to alter the roster. When a move they preferred -- signing Fowler -- happened, they didn't have to go much further down those paths. There was an appeal for Dozier, but that -- in hindsight here -- appears to be one of the things the Cardinals would have pursued more aggressively if trading was the way they went.
Stay, as of today. He's going to be in a role that he's done well -- off bench.
Right. I cannot write a story, a tweet, or even present evidence in this chat that states with attribution or first-hand knowledge of use. Mark McGwire told me personally that he used PEDs. There are books written detailing Bonds and Clemens, not to mention articles in The New York Daily News, and I can attribute those and the tremendous work done by tremendous reporters to unearth the evidence used in those reports.
Doubtful. McGwire is in the hands of the committee, and we've seen how reluctant the committees have been to elect anyone, really, and there are Hall of Famers on those committees and a majority of Hall of Famers who have spoke about the PED era have stated a preference to avoid sharing those walls with known PED users.
Um ... well ... He's good, real good. The Cardinals would like him to be good for years to come.