From flickr, by Andrew Malone. Used under the Creative Commons License.

This Week on Wahoo's on First: Hall of Fame Frustrations and Non-Racist Names

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It’s been quite a week for baseball as the BBWAA failed to elect a single player to the Hall of Fame from the most talented candidate class of my lifetime—and that wasn’t the only objectionable thing about the voting. Here are highlights from here at Wahoo’s on First.

Lewie called Kenny Lofton‘s failure to reach five percent in the Hall of Fame election “downright criminal”:

Here’s an interesting comparison: Lofton and Tim Raines. Both were speedy contact hitters who made their livings by getting on base and then hitting the ground running. Raines and Lofton are each other’s second-most similar players; they’re virtually tied in JAWS and WAR, and Lofton actually has a slight edge in WAR7 and Hall Rating. Raines is often cited as one of the most underrated players in recent history, and he got 52 percent of the vote. What does that tell you about Lofton’s 3 percent?

Meanwhile, Evan expressed his outrage after the BBWAA failed to elect any candidates to Cooperstown:

As a baseball fan, I am appalled at the Baseball Writers Association of America. I can understand the loathing that some have for Barry BondsRoger Clemens, and Rafael Palmeiro, due to their relationship to performance-enhancing drugs, but after no candidates were elected in the 2013 Hall of Fame balloting, the voting has reached a new low.

And Katrina implored the Hall of Fame voters to be more pragmatic in dealing with suspected PED users on the ballot:

Yes, the players who used steroids knew that they were breaking the rules. But it was a rule overlooked at every executive level in baseball, right up to the commissioner, and that makes it a different situation than the one today’s PED users face. If Major League Baseball or BBWAA want to announce that anyone caught using those drugs from this day forward will not be eligible for entry to the Hall, that would be a fair decision. What isn’t fair is to revise history and retroactively choose not to include the players of an era where results and revenue mattered far more than enforcing the rules.

Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

On a more optimistic note, Brian thinks there’s reason to be excited about Scott Kazmir:

I have a strange feeling this has the opportunity to be an overwhelming success. Yes, a lot has to go right for both Kazmir and the Indians, but when you take a look at the situation objectively there’s reason to believe this could be a steal.

Lewie wondered if the newly available Mike Morse could be a fit for Cleveland:

Within a few hours of the agreement at least five or six teams had already talked to Washington about acquiring Morse, a right-handed hitter who can play first base or either corner outfield spot. So, as is always the case when a player who could potentially fill a hole on the Tribe’s roster becomes available, it’s worth asking: Would Morse be a fit for the Indians?

Jason argued that job security and the presence of higher-profile teammates to take the spotlight could lead to a breakout year for Lonnie Chisenhall:

Somehow, coming up with expectations for Chisenhall is already a tired exercise; fans have been thinking about what he is capable of for so long that it’s hard to believe he won’t even be 25 until the regular season is over. But if there is such thing as an ideal atmosphere for a prospect to realize his full potential, the Indians’ offseason seems to have manufactured just that for Chisenhall in 2013.

In a similar vein, Brian looked at the off-field importance of Nick Swisher:

In Nick Swisher, the Indians instantly have a marketable player. That’s something they haven’t truly had since Omar Vizquel was manning short stop back in the mid-90′s. Yes, the Tribe has had players they could market since then, the most notable of which was Grady Sizemore. But his marketability was little more than above-average looks that the ladies just seemed to love and a personality that most of the time seemed a bit stiff and rigid.

Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff took issue with some of the Tribe’s recent 40-man roster cuts:

I understand that tough decisions need to be made in situations like this, but a look at the 40-man roster shows a distinct imbalance, with 23 pitchers and just five outfielders. This means there are almost twice as many pitchers as will ever be on the 25-man roster. Again, I don’t know how many of these pitchers will ever appear in a major league game, but it seems unlikely that all of them are legitimate prospects.

Lewie suggested that the Indians might be asking too much for Chris Perez:

Given that the Indians have a tremendous amount of bullpen depth and a seemingly capable in-house replacement in Vinnie Pestano, it doesn’t make sense for them to wait to be blown away. There’s no way we get someone like Trevor Bauer for Perez (though in fairness I would have said that about Choo too), but we might be able to snag a Mike Aviles or a Drew Stubbs. And it would be a shame if we miss out on a chance to get a metaphorical base hit because we’re too busy swinging for the fences.

Brian struggled to figure out who the Tribe’s best 2013 leadoff option will be:

There are any number of candidates to choose from that are already on the roster, so that much is good. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that any of them are acceptable options. Unless Willie Mays Hayes or Kenny Lofton comes walking through the door in Spring Training it’s going to be a struggle to find an internal option who can be the table setter that every competitive team needs.

In this week’s Wroundtable, we debated whether or not Cleveland still needs starting pitching help:

Jason Leonard: If the Indians can use Asdrubal Cabrera as the centerpiece of a trade to net another young starting pitcher with lots of upside, like Shelby Miller, they should do it. Otherwise I think they should hold off for now, even though I see their depth as more of a necessity than a luxury given all the question marks in the rotation.

William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

Brian helped to kick off the month with his January Indians power rankings:

1. Nick Swisher: The Indians actually landed their big fish this offseason in the form of this former Yankee. With that comes a set of expectations that Swisher hasn’t been expected to meet since probably his early days in Oakland when he was a primary cog for a young and up-and-coming team. Now in Cleveland he’s expected to be the man in the heart of the order. Can he meet these expectations? How will he respond not having the cushion of a stellar Yankee lineup around him to fall back on? Only time will tell.

Finally, Brian offered some suggestions for renaming the Indians franchise:

3. Cleveland Rockers: There is some trepidation using this name since it was once used by Cleveland’s failed NBA team. That being said, it’s a solid name the recognizes Cleveland’s status as the “rock and roll capital of the world.” The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a few blocks down East 9th St. and would help tie the identity together. As for logo’s and colors, there are any number of possibilities from the world of rock and roll from which to draw inspiration.

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