Tuesday Halolinks: Manager PED's most potent of all

"Did I ever tell you about the time I hit a home run?" - Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

With a disappointing season cooling down, the time to reflect on what went wrong is starting to heat up.

Isn't interesting how the news from inside the Angels organization stopped as suddenly as it had started?  Was the leak plugged?  Although the news was somewhat disturbing for us fans who thought this organization was one big happy family, it was insightful as to how this team is really led.  Here are some off-day Halolinks until the next family feud :

  • Dave Cameron takes a look at why we fans are suffering:  So Why Do the Angels Suck? - FanGraphs Baseball.  "Much has been made of the fact that this is not the kind of team that Scioscia prefers to manage, with a line-up full of thumpers who don’t move very well, and it certainly hasn’t played like a typical Mike Scioscia team. But, there’s also the very real possibility that Mike Scioscia never had any magic to begin with, and his reputation was propped up by the beauty of random variation, and he’s currently being kicked in the teeth by regression to the mean. At the end of the day, there isn’t much evidence that managers have a ton of control over their team’s ability to distribute hits and runs in a certain manner, and that is the driving factor of pythag, not dugout wizardry."  This is a good article.  If you can only read one of today's links, pick this one. Yet, I disagree somewhat at what Dave is saying here.  Obviously, a manager can't make a player hit or a pitcher throw strikes, but a manager can put a player in a position to succeed.  Last week, Gabe Kapler has a great article about PED's in which he states that the biggest advantage a steroid user has is the boost in confidence.  In a game where failure, at least for hitters, is such a one-sided outcome, the ability to motivate and build up a player is probably the biggest skill a manager can have that will add wins to a team's season.  A manager who can motivate his players has a much greater impact than any steroid will produce.
  • This is the second Gabe Kapler article I've read in the same number of weeks, and just like the previous one, this one is terrific.  Baseball's Biggest Coaching Bias - Baseball Prospectus.  "It’s my opinion that the best coaches in baseball can have a quantifiable impact on a player’s success. If nothing else, they make a tangible psychological contribution in a game where outcome is highly dependent on mental state. Wins have been estimated to be worth roughly six million dollars (variable per team), yet every MLB staff has someone with a name and lots of service time who offers very little in the way of productivity. Replacing that someone with a quirky, difference-making no-namer who has world of love and potentially a win to give might help light your cigar and decorate your hand with a piece of ostentatious jewelry."  I don't think baseball is alone in this thinking.
  • Wow, this is bad.  Mariners designate Aaron Harang for assignment - HardballTalk.  "Aaron Harang, who have up seven runs in 5 2/3 innings Sunday in a loss to the Angels, was designated for assignment Monday."  Just think how that front office conversation went:
    Seattle front office guy #1: What should we do about Harang?
    Seattle front office guy #2:  What do you mean?  What's wrong with Harang?
    Guy #1:  He just gave up 7 runs to the Angels.
    Guy #2:  WHAT?!?  Release him!  NOW!
  • Do rich people buy sports teams to make more money, or to have fun with the money they've made?  So what are the Astros doing with all that money, anyway? - Baseball Nation.  "What's more interesting to me, though, is that Crane took on $275 million in debt when he purchased the franchise. Really? There are so many billionaires who want to buy baseball teams, and Major League Baseball couldn't find one who didn't need a loan to buy the Astros? That seems absurd, on its face. But only on its face. I suspect there are tax advantages to buying a club on the installment plan, and there's a public-relations advantage, too: When somebody asks why your payroll's so low and your income so high, you can always fall back on the "But we have to pay off this debt" excuse. Which in this case is true, technically speaking. I say "technically speaking" because Jim Crane is worth approximately $2 billion, and could easily have purchased the Astros with his own money if he'd wanted. Men like Crane take on debt because their accountants and tax attorneys tell them to."
  • Remember how some of us were really disappointed when he was traded to the Braves for Mark Teixeira? Marlins release Casey Kotchman - HardballTalk.  "Now he’s finally healthy again, but this time the Marlins don’t want him back, releasing the 30-year-old who had been rehabbing in the minors. Kotchman hit .295 with zero homers and a .737 OPS in 18 games at Triple-A"  I was somewhat surprised by the number of teams Kotchman has bounced around to in the last few years: Marlins Release Casey Kotchman - MLBTradeRumors.com.  "Kotchman went hitless (0-for-20) in his six games with the Marlins but is a career .260/.326/.385 hitter in parts of 10 seasons with the Angels, Braves, Red Sox, Rays, Indians, Mariners and Marlins."
  • Here's a Lyle Spencer post from MLB.com: Lyle Spencer: Lightning strikes twice in Southern California with Mike Trout and Yasiel Puig - angels.com.  "Along with Hanley Ramirez, who brought a loud bat and voice off the disabled list, Puig turned a quiet clubhouse into a playhouse -- as it is with almost all good teams. Within three weeks, the Dodgers would become a dominant team, launching a historic 46-10 run. Thick in the neck and broad across the shoulders like a running back -- and Trout -- Puig signed with the Dodgers in 2012 for seven years and $42 million on raw potential alone. When he was summoned to Dodger Stadium, he had 262 Minor League plate appearances, compared with Trout's 1,312 when he began his otherworldly 2012 season."  I have nothing against Spencer.  He does a fine job with these "filler" pieces that don't do much more than fluff a team or player.  What I have a problem with is these one sentence paragraphs!  Here's what the above quoted bit from the article looks like if you were to follow the link:
  • Along with Hanley Ramirez, who brought a loud bat and voice off the disabled list, Puig turned a quiet clubhouse into a playhouse -- as it is with almost all good teams.

    Within three weeks, the Dodgers would become a dominant team, launching a historic 46-10 run.

    Thick in the neck and broad across the shoulders like a running back -- and Trout -- Puig signed with the Dodgers in 2012 for seven years and $42 million on raw potential alone.

    When he was summoned to Dodger Stadium, he had 262 Minor League plate appearances, compared with Trout's 1,312 when he began his otherworldly 2012 season.

    Four sentences, four paragraphs!

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