Monday, December 5, 2016

On The Hall And A Twins Potential Outfielder

With plenty of different happenings going on in baseball during this time of the year, it's hard to stick simply to one topic. The Winter Meetings are now in full swing, and the Minnesota Twins should be plenty busy fielding calls on trade asset Brian Dozier. For the purpose of this post though, there's two notes I wanted to expand upon.

The first is in the way in which Official Baseball Writers Association of America members handle their Hall of Fame votes. Recently former Commissioner Bud Selig was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Susan Slusser, beat reporter for the Oakland Athletics, made this comment following the news, "Senseless to keep steroid guys out when the enablers are in Hall of Fame. I now will hold my nose and vote for players I believe cheated."

I have been beating this drum for years, and am happy to hear more prominent voices start to get on board. The largest detractor for PED guys has always been the character clause. BBWAA voters hide behind voting for deserving players because the use of PEDs suggests flawed character, and inducting a cheater isn't something any of them seem to want on their hands. In putting Selig in The Hall however, they've just allowed the most egregious offender.

Here's the thing, Bud Selig is the reason PEDs ran rampant in baseball. He allowed it for good reason, and players like Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire saved his sport post lockout. In the midst of it all happening, those players (and the commissioner) were celebrated. The era is what it was, and should be treated as such. It's nice to see Susan getting on board, and would be great to see more of her fellow voters do the same. This is the same contingent of people that reject change at every turn however, so let's not start to hold our breath.

As an aside, here's more thoughts on PED users being voted into the Hall of Fame if you're interested.

The second note I wanted to touch on is the decision by the Washington Nationals to non-tender Ben Revere. The former Minnesota Twins outfielder made $6.25 million in 2016 with the Nationals and was scheduled to get a small bump; having played just 103 games this year though, they saw him as an expendable asset. Now a free agent, this is where things get interesting.

Revere hasn't played for the Twins since 2012 after which he was dealt to the Philadelphia Phillies for Vance Worley and Trevor May. Since then, he's played for three teams and compiled a .289/.320/.353 slash line. His speed remains his biggest asset, and he plays all three outfield spots. He makes a lot of sense for the Twins as there should be plenty of need for an extra outfielder among a young group.

A season ago, Robbie Grossman was the Twins mid-season flier. In 99 games, he posted a .386 OBP and getting on base kept him in Minnesota's lineup. What was troubling however, was that Grossman posted a ridiculous -21 DRS as well as a -15.2 UZR. The defensive runs saved number was the third worst mark posted in the big leagues (and both Andrew McCutchen and J.D. Martinez played nearly twice as many innings), and dwarfed the likes of previous ugly defensive showings for the Twins such as Delmon Young.

To be fair, Revere's defense isn't world-breaking either. He posted a 2 DRS in just over 700 outfield innings last season, but he's two years removed from a -16 effort with the Phillies. Likely best suited for left field at this point, he'd fit in nicely alongside Byron Buxton and Max Kepler. There isn't really a platoon play for Revere at all, but he could be interchanged with the likes of Eddie Rosario pretty seamlessly.

I'd guess Revere will have no trouble finding a big league job, but if I was the Twins, I think I'd prefer him over Robbie Grossman. Even before Revere's availability, I wondered whether Minnesota had room for Grossman going forward.

With the Winter Meetings ready to take the bulk of the news this week, we should have plenty of excitement to look forward to.