The big news of night #1 of the Winter Meetings was Harold Baines and Lee Smith being inducted into the Hall of Fame via the Today’s Game Era ballot. There were 16 Hall of Fame veterans who could look at players from 1988 through 2013 (don’t forget the five-year waiting period following retirement). Congratulations to both of them, particularly Smith, who’s an instructor in the Giants’ system (for now).
According to Hank Schulman,
Lou Piniella misses the Hall by one vote among 16 committee members. Lee Smith was unanimous. Harold Baines got the minimum 12 votes. Will Clark and the other candidates, including Hershiser and Joe Carter, got fewer than five. #sfgiants— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) December 10, 2018
If you don’t know by now, I find the entire Hall of Fame incredibly tiresome. Just... the whole concept of it at this point, especially since the concept itself is controlled by a bunch of middle-aged to almost-in-the-grave dudes with only a sense of their own history rather than the game they purport to protect and memorialize.
There should probably be lots of players in the Hall of Fame because the variety is good for the game and good for the fans, who might prefer what the history has to offer beyond what ~475 people think once a year.
You will find many arguments discussing Baines’ and Smith’s respective candidacies and you will note that they are in and Barry Bonds is not. Plenty of other deserving players aren’t in and they are, too. Does that make their accomplishment any less valid? I don’t think it should, and that’s why I find the entire thing tiresome. Honorees are unfairly harangued and spat on just because they’re not who others would prefer to see in, and since the exclusivity has gone from not just “who’s the best” but “who we select few want to be the best”, the center just cannot hold. It’s all a farce.
And, as was mentioned in the SB Nation team manager Slack (by Peter Kwasniak:
The National Baseball Hall of Fame is a meaningless entity that started as a tourist trap invented by a local hotel owner that used the lie of Abner Doubleday inventing the game to market the place.— Peter K (@FrogTownTigers) December 10, 2018
Still, as our esteemed Roger suggests, “I say let’s just be happy for Lee. He’s a very nice man!”
But here we are at the Winter Meetings, and there’s other news:
#sfgiants have checked in on Berkeley native and Bishop O’Dowd and Cal alum Tyson Ross for potential rotation depth. This is one of those “let’s see down the road” possibilities. He’s 31. Struck out 212 for #padres in 2015. Has returned OK from thoracic outlet surgery.— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) December 10, 2018
When I was putting together the Projecting the 2019 roster post, I strongly considered throwing Ross into the rotation as the fifth starter, just because I saw him as someone they could get on the cheap and be a solid arm for a team that could use some innings there.
A few years ago, he used to average 94-95 mph with his fastball, but now it’s down to 91-92. That’s probably not the end of the world given his arsenal — sinker, cutter, slider, and change — but it squarely puts him at the back of a rotation with a very modest ceiling of 4th or 5th starter. Instead of Ross I went with Trevor Cahill, but he’s got a bunch of suitors, a better track record, and is a year younger.
Meanwhile, back to Schulman with the news that most caught my attention yesterday:
First bonafide Winter Meetings factoid: Yusei Kikuchi really likes San Francisco as a potential landing spot. #sfgiants might be his first choice. From a good source not named Scott Boras.— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) December 10, 2018
He’s the most exciting not-Harper or Machado move the Giants could make this offseason, even though I know there are plenty of red flags with him.
LHP Yusei Kikuchi's injury history:— GPT (@giantsprospects) December 10, 2018
2010 (rookie): Missed entire season with shoulder pain
2013: 108IP (shoulder pain)
2015: 133IP (elbow discomfort)
2016: 143IP (right oblique strain)
2018: 163.2IP (shoulder stiffness)
Not great, but he’s also a pitcher and there’s a good chance he’d have to sign a deal that takes this history into account, even if his agent is Scott Boras. Kikuchi turns 28 in the middle of June. I still believe the Giants need to stockpile as many sub-30 year olds as they can, even if they’re not planning to contend this year. He would be a good start.
We already know the team has interest in Kikuchi and has scouted him extensively, so that’s why you’re not seeing a separate post about it. Same with Tyson Ross — it’s too vague a news item to warrant a whole other post. That doesn’t mean I’m going to be too judicious creating separate post for whatever we here, but for now, these seem like fine little news bits for a Monday morning BP.