The temperature in western Wisconsin is supposed to be around 36 this afternoon. Thirty-six in January feels like 75 and I plan on spending the day outside washing my car, having a lunch date with a new friend, and getting in some exercise. You know, the usual summer-day activities. Oh, and I'll start this beautiful day with these Halolinks:
- Is cheaper better? Sometime's cheaper is just cheaper, and more often than not you get what you pay for: Lance Berkman: A Cheaper Josh Hamilton? - FanGraphs Baseball. If you didn’t already see them, the Angels ZIPS projections were released this morning (there's a link below), and ZIPS is not a very big fan of Josh Hamilton. The system expects Hamilton’s plate discipline to remain steady, but his power to take a large step backwards, dropping his wOBA down to .335, or just two points ahead of where it projects Mark Trumbo next year. Because of park effects, that’s still about 25% better than a league average hitter in Anaheim, but it’s a real step backwards from what he did last year." When you look at the Josh Hamilton signing, you need to look at the big picture. Signing Hamilton allowed the Angels to trade for Jason Vargas, while also getting Peter Bourjos into and Vernon Wells out of the lineup. Sure, Hamilton's offensive output might take a dip, but overall the club is much more improved.
- Here are the ZiPS projections mentioned in the above link: 2013 ZiPS Projections – Los Angeles Angels - FanGraphs Baseball. "...the Angels are almost uniformly above average: with the exception of Mark Trumbo, every starter is projected to post a (rounded) WAR of 3.0 or greater." I haven't looked into that yet (having 3+ WAR), but common sense would tell us that's pretty special, right?
- We'll get to watch the battle much earlier this season than last: Texas Rangers to open home slate vs. Josh Hamilton, Los Angeles Angels - ESPN Dallas. "Last year, the two teams didn't play until mid-May." Heck, by mid-May the Angels should have the division wrapped up.
- It was the best of times, it was the worst of times: Lyle Spencer: West divisions have turned into MLB's centers of power - angels.com. "The West clearly is in the middle of a renaissance. It is rooted in bold management decisions, new cable-TV riches on the horizon and, crucially, a return to a time when pitching, defense, timely hitting and speed were the decisive elements, not swinging for the upper deck." The beauty o' the game, ne'r a mighty swing was swung in vain. Alas, none were flung in the mortal attempt to reach the yonder netherlands of the cheap seats. As it should be in the recesses of Lyle's mind. For ol' Spencer doth not dig the long ball.
- Today's Trout Porn:
- Isn't that cute: Rangers haven't ruled out adding Michael Bourn, Kyle Lohse - texasrangers.com. "New Rangers designated hitter Lance Berkman is a former teammate of both free-agent outfielder Michael Bourn and pitcher Kyle Lohse. Apparently those two names came up when Berkman had lunch with Rangers officials on Monday. "
- I once owned the domain name "bargirls.com". "sex.com" sold for $13 million, I would have sold bargirls for much less: Major League Baseball pays record $1.2 million for rights to Rockies.com - Yahoo! Sports. "Getting the rights to Rockies.com was a coup for MLB but it came at a big premium. The most the league had ever paid for rights was $200,000 for angels.com. There are now only four MLB teams that still don't have the right to their nicknames + .com — the Giants, the Rangers (take a look at the address of the link above this one) , the Rays and Twins — and one assumes the league would like to have them all under its ownership."
- Either Kazmir has somewhat fixed whatever went wrong with his delivery, or the Indians really suck: Cleveland Indians sign LHP Scott Kazmir to minor league deal - ESPN. "Kazmir, a three-time All-Star who led the AL in strikeouts in 2007, will have a shot at making the Indians' starting rotation at spring training"
- Skip the Rob Reiner stuff at the beginning of this post, I'm not sure why it's even there, but the Boras part is interesting: The Scott Boras era is doomed - MLB Daily Dish. "Once free to cast aside owners and general managers without fear of retribution—getting others to play ball elsewhere—Boras has shown hints of mortality of late. Right-hander Edwin Jackson fired Boras last year when he was unable to secure a multi-year contract, settling for a one-year deal*. A few months later, pitcher Mark Appel—a Boras client—became the only first-round draft pick not to sign with an MLB club.
*He then signed a four-year deal this winter with a new agent, despite coming off a worse season statistically."
- Dodger Stadium getting a new look - ESPN Los Angeles. "I think we're going to get it done by Opening Day," Kasten said, "but the unforeseen is unforeseeable." Seriously? Has Kasten been taking quote lessons from Sosh? If the unforeseen WAS foreseeable, it wouldn't be unforeseen. It would be...it would be...umm...screw it.
- What's so historic about this? Library of Congress acquires historic sports audio - ESPN. "The library announced Wednesday that it's purchasing the interviews from San Francisco-based radio show "Sports Byline USA." The initial collection will span 1988 to 2003. Recordings produced from 2004 to 2014 will be added later." No one contacted us about our LunchTime HaloTalk archives!
- Complete Game, Interrupted - FanGraphs Baseball. "After throwing 119 pitches and totally dominating the Mariners, Matt Harrison watched Koji Uehara strike out Saunders on five pitches. Harrison won the game, and he’ll tell everyone with a tape recorder that’s all that matters, but you know it ticked him off." Where's my happy ending!
- Hey good lookin', whatcha got cookin'? Chef Pujols: Albert’s wife Deidre launches cookware line - Yahoo! Sports. "Pujols Kitchen cookware delivers the perfect balance of gourmet performance and practicality, freeing your inner chef to achieve maximum culinary creativity. "