Another week, and another week closer to spring. Here's another pre-winter version of Halolinks:
- Yeah, one of the questions Alden Gonzalez answers is about trading Mark Trumbo, but the interesting one has a very insightful tidbit about Arte Moreno and his club owner cohorts: Inbox: Would trading Mark Trumbo help the Los Angeles Angels? - angels.com.
"What scenarios, if any, would the Angels be willing to go over the luxury-tax threshold? -- @Garrett_MWAH
Based on my understanding, this is not flexible. But teams have an entire season to get under the luxury-tax threshold, so as long as they're confident they can do that, the Angels probably won't shy away from a player just because he puts their Collective Balance Tax payroll slightly over $189 million (the threshold at which first-time offenders will be taxed 17.5 percent in 2014). As a refresher, a team's CBT payroll is calculated as the average annual value of all 40-man-roster contracts, plus benefits. My (very rough) projection for the Angels' current CBT payroll -- accounting for salaries in the books, arbitration projections and minimum contracts -- is approximately $175 million, which would give them about an extra $14 million of wiggle room. More money can be freed up via trades and non-tenders, of course. But, barring a change in ideology, owner Arte Moreno will not go over the tax threshold. It isn't really about paying the tax; it's actually a source of pride with a lot of owners to never exceed what's essentially Major League Baseball's soft spending limit." Hey Mr. Moreno, That's pride fucking with you. Fuck pride. Pride only hurts, it never helps.
- The Baseball Writers of America revealed their choices for Rookies of the year, and there were no surprises: 2013 A.L. Jackie Robinson Rockie of the Year - BBWAA.com. "Myers (.293, 13 HR, 53 RBI) was listed first on 23 of the 30 ballots submitted by two writers representing each league city, second on five ballots and third on one to score 131 points, based on a system that rewards five points for first place, three for second and one for third." J.B. Shuck had both a second and a third place vote, finishing with 4 points. Both of his votes came from area writers. 2013 N.L. ROY Results. "Fernandez (12-6, 2.19 ERA) placed first on 26 of 30 ballots cast by two writers representing each league city and second on the other four for a total of 142 points, based on the 5-3-1 tabulation system. He was the only player listed on every ballot and became the first Cuban-born player to win this award in the NL." One guy from Cleveland voted Straily/Archer/Allen in the AL vote, while one of the San Diego writers left Yasiel Puig off of his NL ballot, but otherwise, the voting was pretty consistent.
- I was unaware that no player accepted a QO last season, and am a bit surprised no one took it this year...especially Kendrys Morales. This bit of knowledge makes me wonder if Jason Vargas would have accepted the Angels offer had they indeed offered it: No Free Agents Accept Qualifying Offers - MLBTradeRumors.com. "In the two years since the new collective bargaining agreement was put in place, no free agent has accepted a one-year qualifying offer, this season valued at $14.1MM. Though some of the free agents may not find that high an average annual value in their next contracts, it was widely expected that the 13 players would turn down the offers in search of longer-term deals."
- Speaking of Morales, here's one of the goofiest things I've read in a while: Kendrys Morales will turn down Mariners' qualifying offer - CBSSports.com. "Agent Scott Boras declined comment on the qualifying offer, but said regarding Morales and his numbers, 'Twenty three [home runs] and 80 [RBI] is the new 30 [home runs] and 100 [RBI]." That's a reference to declining power around the game, and how much interest Morales should generate." So, 30/100 is the new 50/125? And Jay-Z is the new Scott Boras? So does this make Kendrys Morales the new Albert Pujols?
- Here's an interesting article regading the Japanese posting system: Latest On The MLB/Japan Posting System - MLBTradeRumors.com. "As Davidoff explains in a series of tweets, the new system would still award the highest-bidding Major League team the rights to negotiate with a Japanese player, but the team would only have to pay a posting fee equal to the average of the top two bids. This helps prevent a team from posting a very large bid just to block other teams from getting a player, or guards "against one team going rogue and bidding an insane number," as Davidoff puts it. Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter) cites a Japanese report which states that a Major League team that wins a posting bid would be fined if they can't reach an agreement with the player." According to the following link, it won't effect the Angels since they're unlikely to be involved in negotiating with Tanaka: Seven offseason questions for baseball executives - ESPN. "5. Which team will sign Japanese free-agent pitcher Masahiro Tanaka? Does he get more than Yu Darvish's $60 million deal with Texas? Responses: Los Angeles Dodgers 9; New York Yankees 6; San Francisco Giants 1; Chicago Cubs 1; Toronto Blue Jays 1; Seattle Mariners 1. Two executives declined to guess Tanaka's destination. Of the 21 execs surveyed, all but a handful think his payout will surpass Darvish's deal with the Rangers."
- Here's a very interesting post from one of our sister-sites: A glimpse inside the Seattle Mariners' analytics department - Lookout Landing. "The goal of scouting, Smith said, is to paint a complete picture of a player—and you can’t do that without the numbers. Often times, a scout will lean on the analytics department to confirm or deny what they’re seeing with their own eyes. And, naturally, every now and then there will be some disagreements. The numbers and the eyes, naturally, don’t always line up. As Smith explained it, "it’s really an opportunity to probe deeper." With advanced tools already in place and proprietary software moving in this direction, teams can pair the numbers with the scouting by leaning on video tools capable of displaying every play a player has ever made." As a sort of side issue, it's good to see some of the SB Nation sites getting direct access to teams' personnel.
- Whoa Nelly (please, that's not a fem-joke of any sort). Damon Bruce and the (supposed) feminization of sports - Baseball Nation. "Last week, a radio personality in San Francisco took some heat for saying some things that don't really make sense. But I don't think he should get fired, and that's not because he's been friendly with me for a while. It's the principle of the thing." This post has over 500 comments over at Baseball Nation, and has sort of set of a huge debate. A debate I'm not going to even remotely join. Read it and make your own conclusions.
- ESPN Searching For A Few Loud-Mouthed Fucks For New Afternoon Program - The Onion. ""We’re looking for three, maybe four absolutely reprehensible, know-it-all fucks to sit around a table and share their idiotic opinions about the day’s biggest sports stories," said ESPN’s vice president of original programming Jamie Horowitz, adding that ideally, the obnoxious, pig-headed pieces of shit will be a mix of annoying national sports columnists, repulsive former athletes, and one prick from Boston."
- Ever wonder what a $13,000.00 baseball glove looks like? Baseball Glove Hermès Surprise! - Hermès, Official Website. Yeah, it looks like crap, but this link came via a Deadspin post about $470 underwear. This post got me riled-up for some stupid reason. I started thinking about what whacked-up world someone would live in where they could justify spending a normal person's weekly salary on a pair of underwear. If you buy a $470 pair of underwear, you officially have too much money. Here's tip; go to Walmart and spend $4.70 on a 3-pack of Fruit of the Loom and give the remaining $465.30 to the clerk who rang up your purchase, as I'm sure he/she would have a much better use for it.