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Thursday Halolinks: Baylor looks to get Angel hitters back in Groove

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The Angels bring back a former MVP to improve on an area that wasn't so bad to begin with.


I had to scrap ice off of my windshield this morning for the first time since the baseball season ended.  Now I know for sure the season is over.  Have some Halolinks:

  • So you've probably already heard, the Angels hire Don Baylor as hitting coach -  "Don enjoyed a distinguished playing career, highlighted by his tenure with the Angels during their first two division championships," Dipoto said in a release. "As a coach, he brings us tremendous expertise in the areas of hitting, communication and presence. It's nice to have him home."  The emphasis is mine, as I think this may be Baylor's largest contribution to the club.  If having a ready-made replacement sitting next to you at your job isn't enough motivation I don't know what is.  Especially if that replacement has been recognized as a "Manager of the Year" previously (1995).  As an added bonus, I don't get the impression "Groove" takes much crap from anyone.
  • Here's a question for you; The Angels' bullpen was pretty bad horrible last season, so does it make sense for them to spend a lot for a "proven closer" such as Nathan, or should they use the money, or at least part of that money to sign lower-level relievers who might develop into solid bullpen pieces?  Free Agent Profile: Joe Nathan -  "Only a legendary reliever could post a 1.39 ERA that isn't even his career-best.  Joe Nathan did just that for the Rangers in 2013, proving he's still elite at age 38.  After finishing 62 games in 2012 and 61 in '13, Nathan earned the right to void a $9MM club option and become a free agent, which he's expected to do."  I'm of the opinion that closers are way over-rated and don't justify the huge contract, however, it would be nice to have another guy in the pen who at least seems automatic.
  • Mike Scioscia would probably bat Rickey Henderson second: Jim Leyland's moves in Game 4 were inspired, but not by sabermetrics -  FOX Sports.  "The best hitters getting the most plate appearances? The numbers folks are indeed onto something with this, and perhaps one day we’ll see most managers stack their lineups the way Leyland did Wednesday night. But let’s not expect him to be the keynote speaker at a SABR convention anytime soon. ... The moves had their desired effect, particularly on Jackson, who went 2 for 2 with two walks, a stolen base and two RBI. Sabermetricians have shown that lineup construction means little to run production, but old-school types like Leyland still buy into the "speed at the top" concept. And the numbers show that when Jackson starts and scores a run, the Tigers win more than 70 percent of their games. I’d actually love to see the Tigers bat Cabrera first, signaling immediately to the opponent, "It’s on!" The leadoff hitter, after all, is certain to lead off an inning only once, so why not?"
  • These are kind of neat: Infographics: Overlaying The Ballparks Of Major League Baseball.  "We've seen graphics that compare ballpark orientation (like this or this) and we've seen graphics that compare ballpark dimensions (here or here), but as far as we can remember, we've never seen a graphic do both at once. Here are some cool posters put together by designer Jeremy Huggins. It's always fun to see how stadiums protect batters' eyes by facing them away from sunsets."  Here's the link to the original site: Jeremy Huggins - Graphic Design
  • Over at NBC Sports, Craig Calcaterra brings up a good point: What happens to "the neighborhood play" if managers are given replay challenges? - HardballTalk.  "But now picture a more typical neighborhood play when the fielder skids his foot across the bag but takes the throw a second later. Wouldn’t a manager be wise to challenge those too? Like, every one of them? I mean, an out is valuable! Don’t umps have to call it how the replay actually shows it then? The entire point of replay to take out those fuzzy areas of umpire judgment, after all. And if neighborhood plays get challenged and outs get overturned, doesn’t that mean the end of the neighborhood play? And doesn’t that put middle infielders at greater risk of injury?"  Here's the play he's talking about:
  • Also at NBC Sports, Joe Posnanski lists some great moments: The 32 best calls in sports history (and a Scully vs. Buck debate) - HardballTalk
  • Would Zack Greinke have made a difference for the Angels?  Zack Greinke is showing the Dodgers he was worth the financial investment -  "Zack Greinke had not even made it to his first opening day with the Dodgers and already his elbow was hurting. The Angels exhaled. They never got too serious about bringing Greinke back last off-season, concerned in part that he would not stay healthy enough over a long-term contract to justify an investment well over $100 million. They might be right. They might also be watching him in the World Series."
  • Jason Vargas is the only player the Angels have to consider making a qualifying offer to, and I don't have a clue if they should or not: The Qualifying Offer Tango - MLB Daily Dish.  "The amount of a qualifying offer will jump from $13.3MM to $14.1MM this offseason. Not a bad raise, considering most 20-30 year-olds haven't made $800K in their entire lives." 
  • I'm not a beer drinker (I know, I know..what the hell's wrong with me?), so this sounds disgusting, but I can see the appeal to certain types: Texas Race Track's Bacon Beer Milkshake Is Likely The Best Thing Ever.  "...the Texas Motor Speedway announced it will offer a bacon-infused beer milkshake as a concession.  I'll let you take that concept swirl around in your brain and stimulate your taste buds for just a moment. Bacon-infused beer milkshake. There is now a tasty delight that combines the three most important food groups — beer, ice cream and bacon — and can be enjoyed while one watches auto racing."  And they rejoiced:
    "Beer, ice cream, and NASCAR?!?  YEEHAW!"