Baseball writers should stop acting as “moral gatekeepers” for the Hall Of Fame, an indignant Buster Olney of ESPN writes (Insider-only). Specifically, he says, they should stop invoking the character clause, and the many cases of writers switching their votes on players with PED histories suggests that they aren’t applying the character clause consistently anyway. Also, he says, there’s no way to truly know who in the PED era actually used (and to what extent) and who didn’t, and writers shouldn’t act as arbiters of history, keeping top players out of the Hall while playing the role of “traffic cops of history.” Most flagrant is the case of Astros slugger Jeff Bagwell, who some commentators have dismissed due to PED concerns despite a total lack of evidence that he actually used them. Here are more quick notes on the American League.
- Royals infielder Omar Infante had surgery on his elbow in November, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports writes. Infante is expected to be healthy for Spring Training. The Royals think the surgery will help Infante with the shoulder troubles that bothered him last season, in which he played in 124 games and hit a horrific .220/.234/.318. (Infante also had back and oblique issues, and suffered a groin strain.) As Morosi notes, Infante will likely get the opportunity to win the Royals’ second-base job again next season.
- The Rays incurred relatively heavy losses in the Rule 5 Draft in 2015, Marc Topkin writes for Baseball America. The Phillies took outfielder Tyler Goeddel with the first overall pick, marking the second consectuive year the top player selected in the Rule 5 came from the Rays organization. (The Diamondbacks took catcher Oscar Hernandez with the first pick in 2014.) And the Rays lost another outfielder, Joey Rickard, with the eighth pick. The Rays did protect five players, including top prospect Blake Snell, from the draft. “Their ceilings in our mind weren’t as high as the five guys we protected and that’s what it comes down to,” Rays farm director Mitch Lukevics says of Goeddel and Rickard. “We have 40 spots, and someone is 41, someone is 42, someone is 43.”