Well, we all read all those Jerry Dipoto quotes informing the baseball world to chill, claiming the LA Angels were satisfied with their particular holiday shopping spree ("Our goal was to create 1 through 12 pitching depth, I don't feel like anything else is imminent and anything else is required."). Yeah, well, it was not the bringing home of two sets of new keys from the local Veyron dealership like we did last year. But a half a dozen used KIAs are nothing to sneeze at, right? And then the LAA Front Office had been very busy the past week doing precisely what the LAA Front Office does best when fielding questions from the media: generate flurries of Dissembling Platitudes.
All of us fans were left squirming in the aisles, rolling around on the ground in agony over the apparent lack of progress, regression even, from the miserable place we ended up in October. How can they not see the backward drift? How can they foist Joe Blanton as "quality" or "depth" off on anybody? We lost arms, prospects, a bat and everybody remaining is another year older which bodes ill for anybody not named Mike Trout, Peter Bourjos, Garrett Richards or Hank Conger. How can the Angels possibly be done???
Some year, some day, we Angel fans will learn to ignore Dissembling Platitudes. Because these dudes and dudettes are still busy. It's still Holiday Shopping Season. Case in point: Josh Hamilton, less than 48 hours after Dissembling Platitudes. Oh, look! A Chrysler 300, with Hemi!!
(Proper recognition: stevefinleyallstars broke the news that the Angels were closing in on some deal with Josh Hamilton. It was 9:35 am and the whole day went upside down.)
I, for one, am getting up off the ground until March. I promise. No aisle squirming from me until then. I am going to focus my deep angst on such weighty matters as why magnets don't stick to stainless steel refrigerators. Things like that. Who's with me?
- Ok, Big Spash! Arte Moreno just planted an Andy Gump smack dab atop Arlington and he is feeding Halo fans everywhere a huge Holiday Feast before we all get in line to use it. We got Josh Hamilton. And Jon Daniels, GM of the Texas Rangers, is pissed and sad about not being granted the chance to counter, thus losing Hamilton. Might I remind all parties that Messrs. Daniels and Ryan had years to extend Hamilton, so it's not as if all this truly is some shocking turn of events. Besides, Ryan has a lot of experience here, he and Daniels know they can always find a pair of 1.7 WAR players for $7.5 million per year each to replace a single 3.4 WAR player at $15 million. So what are they crying about? And considering how often Ryan was quoted dissing Hamilton during the season one has to question whether the Rangers management truly is, in fact, pissed and sad about anything other than not being the ones that got to be in control of Hamilton's destiny?
- For the record, I would put up a Josh Hamilton poll for all of you, but LSB trolls are out in force right now and it's best not to feed them. They remain hungry. It's better to starve them and wait for them to withdraw back beneath their bridges.
- Torii Hunter (whose twitter motto is "Found a job! Headed to Motown to win that ring!") learned the value of waiting. Or, perhaps more accurately, learned the loss of value in not waiting. And, in the ensuing twitter-flutter, Dick Vitale shows his baseball colors, adding "...u r better off the Tigers will be really good...". We probably all had some tweet reaction, and more than a few of us acted upon it. So far, however, the very best response I have read anywhere is this one: "If I were Torii, I'd be confused, too. Usually it's the Mets owners that shell out $125 and only get a Hamilton in return". Gotta admit, that's good.
- Meanwhile, Ken Rosenthal believes this was Jerry Dipoto's Adrian Beltre/Vernon Wells moment. "Hamilton deal gives every appearance of an impulse buy by...Moreno. Source says team didn't even discuss Hamilton at winter meetings." And he follows that up with a column about how Arte shows Magic that he's got a big one, too. Rosenthal might be a little pissy about being scooped so badly, ya think? After all, it only took Rosenthal about 6 hours to find out and report that Arte Moreno and John Carpino visited Hamilton in Texas earlier in the week.
- It ain't just Rosenthal who is pissy. LA Times scribes don't like Anaheim slamming the window shut on their days of media sunshine so quickly, either.
- But, hey, now we have options, again, don't we? Peter Bourjos, Mark Trumbo, Kendrys Morales and Vernon Wells might all be in play. And even Hamilton haters have to admit that this reality is evidence that the cash spent on Hamilton grants a lot more roster flexibility than would have been obtained by spending even more cash on Greinke. And that's the best part of all. The Hot Stove for the next month just got very interesting for baseball blogging. This is where we get Fanshot after Fanshot after Fanshot of (mostly) insane trade proposals, everywhere.
- In fairness to those who hate the deal, everybody should know that Fangraphs charts out how Hamilton has only been worth more at least $25 million per season in 2008. But I am all confused about money and value anymore. Why are people all knotted up about whether or not Josh will be worth $25 mill a year in years 4/5, when the last few off-seasons have demonstrated only that we have no idea what the value of $25 million will be in 2016/2017???
- Forbes, on the other hand, knows a hell of a lot more about money than I ever will, and they like the deal. Too bad the author's reasons aren't grounded in very much financial reasoning.
- That was fast: The Halos are already using Hamilton to sell tickets. And, for the record, Stirrups is gonna be buying! (Wait. Did I just write about myself in the third person? I'm losing it.)
This Date In Baseball History: 1960 - The first expansion teams in 50 years, the Washington Senators and the Los Angeles Angels, conduct their initial player draft, with the Halos selecting Ed Grba...........1985 - Roger Maris dies of lymphatic cancer at the age of 51..........2004 - The District Of Columbia decides that any construction of a new ballpark for the incoming Expos will require at least 50% private funding, breaking an existing agreement with MLB for greater taxpayer monies to subsidize the stadium..........2005 - The Treasury Department steps in and shuts down any notion of Cuba playing on American soil for the World Baseball Classic, as the Bush administration worries about revenue going back to the Castro government..........2007 - The Arizona Diamondbacks acquire Dan Haren and Conner Robertson from the Oakland A's..........2007 - The St. Louis Cardinals send Jim Edmonds and $1,000,000 to the San Diego Padres..........2007 - The Toronto Blue Jays sign free agent David Eckstein to a one-year, $4.5 million deal in order to nab some of that magic grit..........2007 - The Kansas City Royals trade Billy Buckner to the Diamondbacks in exchange for Alberto Callaspo.
- The post-Greinke dominoes continue to fall. Ryan Dempster over to the Boston Red Sox, Anibal Sanchez on the verge of evaporating into the limbo-land that is the Chicago Cubs, Boston is closing in on Mike Napoli.
- Common Sense Breaking Out All Over: Last week I reported how Davey Johnson was declaring that the Nats are in World Series Or Bust! mode for 2013 noting that (duh!) the championship is the supposed to be the point EVERY season for competitor in EVERY sport. This week, Don Mattingly gets the epiphany, courtesy of the Zack Greinke dogpile signing. And, based on observations, the Cincinnati Reds and Arizona Diamondbacks might also be getting the religion.
- Credit Where Credit Is Due: Joe Torre, doing the best thing for American society since leaving the Yankees, has amped up his already credible stance against child abuse and is jointly leading a Federal Commission on the matter. This I did not know. I take back all the nasty things I been saying about Torre's work in the MLB Front Office.
- You should know by now all about MLB renewed their deal with StubHub and how the Yankees, Cubs and Angels opted out (discussed here and here). What you might not have caught up with is that MLB also decided to partner up with Groupon. This partnership will include special deals on tickets. (Hat tip to Fangraphs, which has some humorous takes on the possibilities.)
- For Jewish MLB players everywhere, happy 7th Light of Hanukkah!!
- Yahoo! and NBC Sports have announced a new partnership. Halos Heaven, via the existing relationship between SBN and Yahoo! already has a decent presence on Yahoo! for LA Angels news. Might this integrate Halos Heaven into the NBC Regional Sports Networks??
- More Marvin Miller: The NY Times has acquired access to Miller's papers being housed at New York University and have begun to publish fascinating tidbits for the rest of us who cannot just bop over and study them for ourselves. Topical to the Angels is this line: Two years later, Miller dismissed Kuhn’s assessment of a disciplinary case and an arbitrator’s decision involving Alex Johnson, the 1970 American League batting champion. Miller wrote that Kuhn had shown that "your preferred mode of behavior is to issue edicts first, without full knowledge of the facts, and then to defend your position by incantations about serving the best interests of the game." He also goes after Buzzie Bavasi (then with the Padres):
After a strike in 1972 that began during spring training, Miller wrote to Buzzie Bavasi, the San Diego Padres’ president, scorning him for telling players that Miller had been paid during the strike and for failing to honor a $100 bet on the claim with catcher Bob Barton. "Although I know that you have spent a tremendous amount of your time and that of other people to try to improperly save trifling amounts such as 75 cents a day in spring training rooming allowances," Miller wrote, "still I cannot believe you would deliberately tell untruths to the players in order to avoid paying a $100 bet which you lost."
- Christmas Baseball: Every now and then, on some random Thursday evening, I jump to Google and just do weird word associations looking for unusual things in the world of baseball to share with you all. And if I work hard enough, Google never fails. Here we are in the middle of the Holiday Season, so I throw out as my first attempt of "gingerbread baseball". I get a hit. "Rudolph third base"? Hit again (favorite part: Team Leader Skills - None at all). "Tobacco chew mistletoe"? Hit. "Eckstein elf"? Hit (Ok, that one was too easy.) "Dodgers whoville"? Hit. Hell, I am on a roll now! "Yankees reindeer flatulence"? Hit. "Red Sox Grinch butt pimples"? Hit. "Rangers Frosty Diarrhea"? You bet, hit even here! If this weren't a family site, you would be exposed to how far things kept on going...
Great Moments In Baseball Umpiring, Part I:
(A roundup of current LA Angels-related rumors and transactions...)
- In response to the signing of Josh Hamilton, one Detroit writer finds it inevitable that the Halos will jump in and snatch Anibal Sanchez out from under the noses of the Cubs and Tigers. Which elevates Kyle Lohse and Nick Swisher towards the top of the pile, meaning that other teams are scrambling via mega-trades (Cleveland and Arizona, I am looking at you).
- Jonathon Niese is now getting a look. And R.A. Dickey is still under review.
- Here is how the Hamilton signing creates roster flexibility where spending that money on Zack Greinke would not have.
(Quick hits of interesting stuff that sit out on the fringe of our baseball emporium...)
More joy: the Big Splash news coming out of the MFY camp are that The Ancient Ichiro has leveraged the Phillies to grab $14 million more from the Yankees before the clock strikes midnight on what is left of his legs.....Mariano Rivera should be ready to take his seat for his retirement lap, and Brian Cashman found Kevin Youkilis hiding under the couch cushions. That's all there is for Yankee fans. Life is just too delicious these days...........More evidence that the BBWAA is full of people who simply have zero idea as to what they are doing..........Stocking Stuffers: what MLB players tweeted about the Hamilton deal..........Bobby Wilson launches his counter-attack, from the minor leagues.
And now, being the full service weekend linkage institution that we are, here is the obligatory moment we take out of each Friday for beer:
Friday: Up in Oakland you locals will find the Kerstfest 2012/5th Anniversary Party beer Festival at The Trappist..........Saturday: we start with the Far Bar Winter Beerfest, Starring "Bad Santa" Steve at The Far Bar in LA..........Churchill's Pub & Grille San Marcos is putting on the Fifty Fifty Brewing Company Eclipse Release and Bottle Signing with Todd Ashman (local brewmaster pioneer)..............and Final Gravity in Roseville hosts Stouterday beer & food event..........Sunday: Fifty Fifty moves to Seal Beach for Brunch At Beachwood, to be held at the Beachwood BBQ..........and The Bruery in Whittier is conducting their 3rd Annual Christmas Brunch at The Bottle Room.
Ok, so nobody wants that Beer Kooler Kart that I put up for Christmas Shopping lists last Friday. So why not a TinChilla, which can cool your can of brew in 60 seconds flat??
Stay safe, everyone!