Tuesday Halolinks: Off-season getting into full swing, so is Albert Pujols

Lisa Blumenfeld

The off-season transaction season is getting ready to ramp up, while Albert Pujols starts working out.

Things are going to start moving pretty quickly with rumor news as there's a ton of names, a boat-load of needs, and ten billionaires (and twenty other mega-rich guys) with money burning a hole in their pockets.  Until there's something significant to report, here's some Halolinks:

  • Who else thinks next season is going to be a great one for Albert Pujols?  Anyone?  Please raise your hands so I can see them.  Anyone?  I actually think he's going to do very well: 'In good shape,' Pujols starts swinging bat - angels.com.  "In Year 1 with the Angels, Pujols slumped mightily for the first month and a half and was limited in September because of knee and hamstring issues. In Year 2, he was still recovering from offseason knee surgery and eventually hampered greatly by plantar fasciitis, which cut his season to 99 games and contributed to a career-worst .767 OPS. But Dipoto always points to the period between mid-May and the start of September 2012, when Pujols was healthy, had shaken off the jitters and posted a Major League-best 1.041 OPS. That, Dipoto believes, is the Pujols the Angels can expect next season."  I had an awesome three-month span in the summer of 1981.  I believe I can still achieve that awesomeness again with the right off-season workout.  And by workout I mean, sitting in front of my computer playing solitaire.  Oh, and by awesome I mean not dying.
  • What does that even mean, "We'll maintain a rhetoric with him"?  Why can't front office personnel talk like everyone else?  Jason Vargas hits free-agent market, though Angels remain interested | angels.com: News
    "We obviously have interest in having Jason back," Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said when reached by phone Monday night, though he opted not to go into further details. "This is the process and it's playing itself out, and we'll honor that. Obviously Jason earned the right to see what was out there in free agency. We'll maintain a rhetoric with him and do have interest in him returning. I think it's a mutual interest."
  • Good Lord, the OC Register has made Mark Whicker's columns available for free: Mark Whicker: Beware of jumping to conclusions during baseball's murky winter  - The Orange County Register.  "The one legitimate question you can ask is, "Why do Angels pitchers perform better elsewhere?" The Angels replied to that question by firing Jim Eppard, who was the batting coach."
  • Although he's available, Curtis Granderson is going to cost you a draft pick: Curtis Granderson among 13 players to receive qualifying offer - CBSSports.com.  "Qualifying offer extended: Carlos Beltran, Cardinals Robinson Cano, Yankees Shin-Soo Choo, Reds Nelson Cruz, Rangers Stephen Drew, Red Sox Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox Curtis Granderson, Yankees Ubaldo Jimenez, Indians Hiroki Kuroda, Yankees Brian McCann, Braves Kendrys Morales, Mariners Mike Napoli, Red Sox Ervin Santana, Royals".
  • I guess players aren't stat-guys: Miguel Cabrera, Andrew McCutchen headline Players' Choice winners - CBSSports.com.  "As prelude to the BBWAA awards later this month, the MLBPA on Monday handed out a bevy of Players' Choice Awards. The Players' Choice Awards are, as the name suggests, voted on by active MLBers."
  • Oh brother.  "Blurjos"?:
  • Oh to be young, rich, and not give a shit: Wil Myers goes on TV with THAT hair | Big League Stew - Yahoo Sports.  "Already known for wearing his hair a little mussed, Myers took his devil-may-care-but-I-don't attitude to a new level Monday when he appeared by video for the MLB Network on the Players Choice Awards wearing, as CBS Eye On Baseball called it, a "6 a.m. medusa" 'do."
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  • Twelve Finalists Comprise Expansion Era Ballot For Hall of Fame Consideration in 2014 - Baseball Hall of Fame.  "A 16-member Expansion Era electorate will review and cast votes at the 2013 Baseball Winter Meetings for consideration for the Hall of Fame Class of 2014, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum announced today. Dave Concepcion, Bobby Cox, Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Tony La Russa, Billy Martin, Marvin Miller, Dave Parker, Dan Quisenberry, Ted Simmons, George Steinbrenner, Joe Torre are the candidates that will be considered by the electorate."  I'd vote for Marvin Miller, Dan Quisenberry, and Bobby Grich.  Wait, what, no Bobby Grich?  At least they've got Miller: Righting A Wrong, Marvin Miller Rightfully Belongs In The Baseball Hall of Fame.  "Marvin Miller, the former Executive Director of the MLB Players Association from 1966 to 1982 has been passed over for inclusion for far too long. The idea that former commissioner Bowie Kuhn is in the Hall while Miller still waits is to say that the things that Kuhn stood against—players having the right to free agency, the ability of players to enjoy salary arbitration, the ability of the players to have an equal voice along with owners—is more valuable than what Miller stood for. Kuhn has been rewarded for fighting all that is the dynamic that we now see in Major League Baseball, largely built off the work that Miller and the players did."
  • This is going to include hookers, murder-for-hire, and political espionage before it's over: In Rodriguez Arbitration, Two Sides Play Hardball - NYTimes.com.  "Witnesses for both sides in the pending arbitration proceedings claim to have been harassed and threatened. Some were paid tens of thousands of dollars for their cooperation. One said she became intimately involved with an investigator on the case. And some witness accounts have shifted, leaving each side scrambling to defend the sometimes inconsistent stories provided by former employees and associates of the now-defunct clinic, Biogenesis of America."  And someone is going to make a ton of money from the book deal.
  • This is crazy: Skydivers Involved In Fiery, Two-Plane Crash Caught It All On Video.  "If two planes are going to collide mid-air, it's probably best that they're full of people who have some experience jumping out of them. Every single person involved in this collision in the sky above Wisconsin on Saturday survived because they were skydivers in the process of executing a jump. It's still scary as shit."
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