Dan Schlossberg's Winter Log: Hall of Fame voting changes aren't enough • Latino Sports


Dan Schlossberg’s Winter Log: Hall of Fame voting changes aren’t enough


SAN DIEGO — While everyone at the winter meetings waits for Jon Lester to pick either the Cubs or Red Sox as his next team, the Hall of Fame has managed to snag some headlines.

Lester: Cubs or Bosox?

Lester: Cubs or Bosox?

First, it announced that Dick Allen and Tony Oliva missed election by one vote. Then it revealed that the baseball writers, who control the “regular” Hall of Fame vote, have added two more slots to the previous 10-man ballot.

Allen and Oliva were part of a 10-man ballot under consideration by the Golden Era Veterans Committee, which meets every third year to consider personalities who made their mark between 1947 and 1972.

Gil Hodges, this columnist’s favorite, and Jim Kaat, who missed 300 wins by spending his last six seasons in the bullpen, didn’t come close to election.

To win, any candidate needed 75 per cent of the vote, or at least 12 votes from the 16-man committee.

With that same standard in force for the regular vote, the Baseball Writers Association of America voted to expand its ballot to an even dozen. But it did nothing to address an earlier decision to cut time on the ballot from 15 years to 10.

David Robertson: now closing in Chicago

David Robertson: now closing in Chicago

Also at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Tuesday, both Chicago clubs bolstered their rosters with surprising moves. The White Sox landed a pair of All-Star pitchers in David Robertson, most recently the closer for the New York Yankees, and starter Jeff Samardjiza, who spent the last half-season in Oakland after a trade from the Cubs.

The North Siders hijacked hard-hitting Arizona catcher Miguel Montero for a pair of minor-leaguers and landed Jason Hammel, who opened 2014 in the Cubs rotation before he was sent to the A’s in the Samardjiza swap, as a free agent.

With new manager Joe Maddon joining team president Theo Epstein in the forefront of the cheerleading ranks, the Cubs also were trying to convince Lester to become a National Leaguer for the first time. Facing eight batters instead of nine (no designated hitter in the NL) remains a key selling point.

Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez seemed surprised his club’s only move

Fredi Gonzalez: 2017 is far, far away

Fredi Gonzalez: 2017 is far, far away

Tuesday was the signing of free agent utility infielder Alberto Callaspo, a versatile switch-hitter. “If you guys believe everything you write,” he told reporters, “maybe we’ll do more.”

The Cuban native revealed that his team is negotiating with starting pitcher Aaron Harang and speed merchant Emilio Bonifacio, 2014 Braves who became free agents, to remain in Atlanta.

He also said he did not agree with the team’s apparent new philosophy of building a contender by the team it moves into its new Cobb County stadium in 2017. “Three years is a long time in my line of work,” the manager noted.

If the season opened tomorrow, Gonzalez said, Evan Gattis would still be the No. 1 catcher, with highly-rated rookie Christian Bethancourt brought into the mix slowly. The outfield, from right to left, would be Nick Markakis, B.J, Upton, and Justin Upton, he added.

The Braves would like to unload both Uptons

The Braves would like to unload both Uptons

The Braves have made no secret of their desire to dump B.J. Upton after two terrible years on the front end of a five-year, $75 million contract. The younger Justin Upton, coming off a 29-homer season that included 102 rbi, has a lesser contract but higher price tag because he remains a righthanded power threat. His contract expires at the end of 2015, however.

Also overheard in the hallways: the silence from the National League West is puzzling. San Francisco, after winning its third World Series in five years, needs a third baseman with a bat after losing popular Pablo Sandoval to Boston as a free agent, while Los Angeles has the same lineup void in the wake of Hanley Ramirez following Sandoval to Fenway.

Pablo Sandoval: leaves gaping void in Frisco

Pablo Sandoval: leaves gaping void in Frisco

San Diego, angling for the 2016 All-Star Game, hopes it can trade pitching for hitting, making a big splash while it hosts the winter meetings for the first time since 1985.

Much has changed in the city since, including erection of a new ballpark where the winter meetings gala will be held Wednesday night.

The city also boasts a huge convention center, home of the annual baseball trade show, and a row of swank new hotels bordering San Diego Bay. A network of streetcars, trams, and trolleys make it easy to get around.

The weather couldn’t be better either, though most of the executives huddled at the convention hotels are spending most of their time indoors.

Might as well be in chilly Nashville, where the meetings will take place next year.


About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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