*South Florida workers are looking at 20-hour days on the Astros/Nationals Spring Training Complex in order to be ready by 1st pitch.
*Brian McTaggart advises you not to sleep on the importance of Nori Aoki, who will see a lot of time in left field against right-handed pitching. Hinch:
Originally, when we got him, there was a great attraction to his at-bat quality that he could add to our feast-or-famine notoriety. We had a lot of guys that swung and missed, and a lot of guys that hit home runs. And Aoki is one of the toughest outs in the big leagues, and that type of balance to our order was attractive.
*Jeff Bagwell is on 48 of 54 known ballots (about 12.4% of total estimated ballots are known, expect a huge glut of ballots to be released between Christmas and New Year.) He still needs to pick up about 12 votes to ensure election.
Chicago's Rick Morrissey is the latest writer to not vote for Bagwell, with his ballot checking boxes for Trevor Hoffman, Tim Raines, Curt Schilling, and Larry Walker. Here is Morrissey's perfectly reasonably, open-minded lede:
It's Hall of Fame voting time, and you know what that means: anger, rage, apoplexy, nervous breakdowns, general blubbering - and that's just from the fans who attach their self-worth to whether a particular former baseball player gets a plaque in Cooperstown.
This is even better:
If there is a suspicion a former player might have juiced during his career, I withhold a checkmark on my ballot. And I don't care if he never tested positive or if he was never implicated in any official investigation.
*The Marlins signed former Astros outfielder Brandon Barnes to a minor-league deal with an invitation to Spring Training.
*The Pirates signed former Astros minor-league outfielder Eury Perez to a minor-league deal with an invitation to Spring Training.
*Rod Carew had a heart transplant and a kidney transplant yesterday, and is expected to make a full recovery
*David J. Roth: Craig Sager and the Radical Act of Caring