NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Tampa native and former Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella came up short in voting for baseball's Hall of Fame as former commissioner Bud Selig and longtime executive John Schuerholz were elected Sunday.
Voting was done by the 16-member Today's Game Era committee, with 12 needed for election. Schuerholz, longtime general manager of the Royals and Braves, was a unanimous selection, and Selig, who served as commissioner from 1992-2015, received 15 votes.
Piniella, who also managed the Yankees, Reds, Mariners and Cubs, received seven votes. No other candidate, including longtime Yankees owner and Tampa resident George Steinbrenner, got more than four votes.
"To say this is a great day in my life would be an understatement," said Selig, who will be inducted on his 83rd birthday, July 30. "I've looked forward to this day for a long time. I'm really honored, to say the least."
Selig he was most proud of the "economic reformation" of the game under his watch. He oversaw implementation of the wild-card playoff format and two rounds of expansion, including addition of the Rays in 1995, as well as cancellation of the 1994 World Series and the steroids era.
Schuerholz said he was "astonished" to receive what he called "the ultimate of honors.''
Piniella and Steinbrenner can be considered by the committee again in 2018.
DOWN TO BUSINESS: Rays officials arrived at baseball's winter meetings Sunday night ready to advance to face-to-face talks on assorted topics that have been under discussion with teams and agents.
"The winter meetings really are a continuation of the offseason, so I think a lot of the conversations that we've had will continue," senior vice president Chaim Bloom said. "But sometimes it clarifies things being here. Having every team under one roof can sometimes accelerate conversations and really help to separate fact from fiction and figure out what opportunities are out there."
PITCHING IN: Interest in the Rays' starting pitchers — beginning with right-hander Chris Archer — has been, and will continue to be, a hot topic. The Braves and Cubs have been mentioned prominently, and the Astros also are reported to be among the most interested. A Sunday mlb.com report said the Braves are focused on Archer but the Rays' asking price to this point "far exceeds the Braves' comfort zone."
There also has been interest in Rays starters Alex Cobb, Jake Odorizzi, Erasmo Ramirez and Drew Smyly, along with Matt Andriese, whom they are more likely to keep.
Though free agent options are weak, other teams are willing to deal even more accomplished starters, which will have an impact on the market.
The White Sox, for example, keep talking about ace Chris Sale, with the Astros, Braves, Dodgers, Nationals and Red Sox said to be most engaged. The Tigers, similarly, may be willing to move Justin Verlander.
NOTES: Among several relievers of interest to the Rays is left-hander Dario Alvarez, last with the Rangers. … The Yankees agreed to a one-year deal with outfielder Matt Holliday for a reported $13 million. … The Dodgers were close to signing left-hander Rich Hill. … The Rays hired Joey Greany as major-league strength and conditioning assistant, working under Trung Cao, who replaced Kevin Barr.