Thursday Halolinks: Angels primed for improvement, Hall of Fame results

Pujols and Hamilton are keys to Angels success. - Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Optimistic Angel fans have plenty of reasons to be, well, optimistic. Did you hear about the Hall of Fame?

We're making progress with the weather...tonight's low is supposed to be above zero!  Whether (weather?) you're surrounded by frost, or frolicking in sunshine, here's today's Halolinks:

  • Being the optimist that I am, this post is right up my alley as it's what I've been thinking 2014 can shape up to be.  With slight, easily achievable improvements to the offense, and obvious upgrades to the pitching staff, next season should be very entertaining for Angel fans: MLB's five positive regression candidates for 2014 - Grantland.  "He's not going to perform like he did from 2001 to 2010, but if a healthy Pujols simply returns to his 2012 levels of production, he'd give the Angels a three-win swing. Now add in some positive regression for Josh Hamilton, who was bound to suffer after going from hitter-friendly Arlington to pitcher-friendly Anaheim but whose dip from .285/.354/.577 to .250/.307/.432 screams flukish off year. Figure also that David Freese will be a solid upgrade over Alberto Callaspo and his band of replacement-level men. Sprinkle in a couple of nifty starting pitcher pickups in Hector Santiago and, if healthy and motivated, Tyler Skaggs, and the Angels bring ample upside."  Much like Boston's road to success last year, the Angels can have a good player at every position -- they don't need great everywhere, just don't have suck anywhere.
  • The big news yesterday...the Hall of Fame results.  Here's the official MLB post: Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas elected to Baseball Hall of Fame - MLB.com.  "One of the most majestic induction classes in the history of the National Baseball Hall of Fame was set on Wednesday with the announcement that Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas were elected by eligible writers of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, all of them by big margins."  Here's the SBNation write-up:  Baseball Hall of Fame 2014 full voting results: Maddux, Glavine and Thomas elected - SBNation.com, and here's where you can comment on Halos Heaven: HoF Results - Maddux, Glavine, Thomas are in. - Halos Heaven
  • Of course Fangraphs has great coverage of the three inductees:
    The Greatness of Greg Maddux - FanGraphs Baseball.  "Maddux threw 198 or more innings in every single season from age-22 to age-41, even though the 1994 strike ended the season in 1994 (202 innings in 25 starts) and caused it to begin late in 1995 (210 innings in 28 starts). For 20 straight years, Maddux was a guaranteed 200 innings, even if Major League Baseball didn’t even bother to finish their season."
    The Greatness of Tom Glavine.  "Tom Glavine was born in 1966. In June of 1984, he was drafted by the Atlanta Braves. In June of 1984, he was also drafted by the Los Angeles Kings. The Braves chose him 47th, while the Kings chose him 69th, ahead of some future superstars. There was the opportunity for Glavine to play hockey and go to college for free. He chose, with some difficulty, to go where baseball might lead him."
    The Greatness of Frank Thomas.  "Thomas was drafted in 1989, and he was in the majors in 1990. He hit instantly, and he was consistently unbelievable all the way through 1997. Through that year — Thomas’ age-29 season — he posted a 177 wRC+, batting .330 while slugging .600. Through his own age-29 season, Albert Pujols posted a 169 wRC+, batting .334 while slugging .628. Over the past four years, Miguel Cabrera has posted a 176 wRC+, batting .337 while slugging .612. Frank Thomas at his best was Albert Pujols at his best and Miguel Cabrera at his best. And Thomas’ best lasted several seasons. He didn’t do much of anything in other areas, but he didn’t have to, being an all-time great destroyer of pitched baseballs."
  • I'm sure you heard about Deadspin's HoF vote, and Rob Neyer opines:  On selling a Hall of Fame ballot - Baseball Nation.  "Le Batard is not the only Hall of Fame voter who's sick of the sanctimony and the hypocrisy and the myopia. But he might well be the only Hall of Fame voter who's willing to surrender his part in the process to make a point worth making. I don't lay awake at night, lamenting the BBWAA's restrictive policies that keep me from voting for the Hall of Fame (or anything else). At the same time, I would enjoy voting. If I did have a ballot, I would probably not be willing to give it up to make a point. Which is why I admire Le Batard. I admire people who have the courage and commitment to do things I would not."  As well as this guy from CBS: Le Batard Hall of Fame vote stunt a cry for attention, reveals nothing - CBSSports.com.  "By giving his vote to Deadspin, Le Batard picked the most outrageous way he could to join a protest that has been raging for years. Too important to cast a single, pointless vote at the ballot box like the other schmucks, Le Batard joined the army of picketers outside the BBWAA doors -- but he didn't put on a sandwich board. Instead he took off his clothes, set his hair on fire and ran around naked, screaming something we already know: The BBWAA vote is broken!"
  • This video highlighting Maddux and Glavine is fantastic:

    (Thanks to BBTF's Newsblog Discussion "Chicks Dig the Long Ball" for the head's up.)
  • Slowly, things are changing.  I'm at a disadvantage in expressing how I feel about the whole use of cultural icons as sports symbol-thing since I'm a privileged whiteboy.  This probably makes it wrong for me to comment since I have nothing to base any indignation or apathy on.  As a middle-aged Caucasian I'm of the opinion, "What's the big deal, people are too sensitive!  It's a cartoon character."  But then, I completely understand how making a goofy caricature of someone's heritage is wrong.  I don't know.   Cleveland Indians demote Chief Wahoo logo - Yahoo Sports.  "Chief Wahoo, the smiling symbol of the Cleveland Indians since the 1940s who is beloved by many but deemed to be racist by others, is being replaced as a primary logo, uniform expert Paul Lukas reported Wednesday. Instead, the team will emphasize a block letter "C" they introduced in recent seasons. The Indians aren't eliminating the Chief — the home uniform will continue to feature him on caps and jersey sleeves — but fans will less of him overall."
    Chiefmarginal2014_medium
  • And finally, today's Tanaka update: GM confirms Dodgers are in 'feeling out process' with Masahiro Tanaka - CBSSports.com.  "Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports all negotiations with Tanaka are still in a "very preliminary phase." The right-hander has until 5 p.m. ET on January 24 to sign with an MLB team, otherwise he'll have to return to the Rakuten Golden Eagles for another year."  A little over 2-weeks and it'll all be over.
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