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Wednesday Halolinks: Angels give Mulder invite, more Mascot Madness

Mark Mulder's 2014 comeback attempt became official, while the Cubs' mascot gets creepy.

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

The worst thing about the Angels signing Mark Mulder is the potential for bad "X-File" jokes.  You just know Gubie is going to go there (if Mulder makes the team) many times during this season's broadcasts.  In the mean time, here are some X-File-free Halolinks:

  • I thought Mulder was already getting a shot during Spring Training?  This must mean it's "official": Angels left-hander Mark Mulder, top prospects invited to Spring Training -  "Others to keep an eye on are the youngsters, including the club's top four prospects, per Third baseman Kaleb Cowart, the club's No. 1 prospect, is looking to impress after a rough season at Double-A Arkansas, where he hit just .221. No. 2 prospect C.J. Cron, a first baseman, looks to bring the hot bat he wielded in the Arizona Fall League to Spring Training after hitting .413 with five home runs and 20 RBIs for the Mesa Solar Sox. Second baseman Taylor Lindsey, the club's No. 3 prospect, hit .274 for Arkansas last season, while No. 4 prospect, right-hander Mark Sappington, was 11-4 with a 3.37 ERA at Class A Advanced Inland Empire before a promotion to Double-A."  From all of the things I've read about Mulder's progress since starting his comeback, I'm very excited and optimistic about his chances to crack the Angels' rotation...and not just because the Angels' rotation is so weak.  He's seems to have really turned the page by changing the batter's eye-level and the ball is coming out of his hand the best it ever has.
  • This is the final "thing" that happens within the baseball off-season schedule before pitchers and catchers start showing up for Spring Training.  Once all of the arbitration stuff is taken care of, the only thing left for us fans to keep track of is how many days until spring: 146 Players File For Salary Arbitration -  "The Major League Baseball Players Association has issued a press release announcing that 146 players have officially filed for salary arbitration. Among them are many outstanding players (and some fascinating arbitration cases), including Clayton Kershaw, Craig Kimbrel, Chris Davis, Max Scherzer, David Price, and Giancarlo Stanton." The Angels have recently acquired David Freese and Fernando Salas eligible, plus closer Ernesto Frieri, and Kevin Jepsen going through the arbitration process this winter.  Here's a brief rundown on the process/timetable: Angels set to focus on four arbitration-eligible players - "Players officially file for arbitration on Tuesday, but that's just a formality. The bigger step is Friday, when players and teams exchange figures, providing an indication of how far apart the two sides are. Arbitration hearings are then scheduled from Feb. 1-21, but a deal can be struck at any point before a team's scheduled hearing, and long-term contracts can also be worked out."
  • "Just because I'm calling you a liar doesn't mean you do, in fact, tell lies.  It just means lies come out of your mouth." Jack Clark wants Albert Pujols' suit tossed - ESPN.  Clark's attorney, Albert Watkins, said Clark's on-air comments were too vague to cause real harm to Pujols. "You call someone a juicer, in fact, there are multiple definitions of `juicer," Watkins said. "It could mean illegal performance enhancing drugs, legal performance enhancing drugs. "Simply saying that my client asserted that Mr. Pujols was a `juicer,' under the law that governs defamation actions, is not enough," Watkins said."  Damn juicers.
  • Here's a study for one of you ambitious saber-types -- why do some pitchers show a dramatic improvement once they leave the Angels' organization? Ervin Santana: The forgotten free agent - Beyond the Box Score.  "Last season however, Santana mixed his pitches better, throwing sinkers more than ever. In fact, the 727 sinkers he threw last year are roughly 68% of the sinkers he's thrown over his entire career. This proved to be an effective strategy as opposing hitters posted a triple slash line of .242/.282*/.326 against his sinker. Any team signing Santana would basically be hoping that he can continue to succeed based on his new pitch mix and approach. Last season Santana registered 3 WAR for Kansas City, posting a 3.24 ERA over 211 IP. While his FIP and xFIP suggest he wasn't quite that good, he showed more of the promise that he flashed in previous seasons."  If I recall correctly, the season after Fernando Rodney left the Halos and went to Tampa, he had the best season of his career, due mainly to the fact that he threw his change-up more frequently.  Last season, Santana saw more success by throwing his sinker more often.  Do the Angels, as an organization, teach their pitchers to rely on their fastball too much?
  • Rob Neyer.  Hater of Angels.  Miggy's unmissable ... but the most unmissable? - Baseball Nation.  "I'm still going with Trout, because we don't know if Cabrera will be fully recovered this spring. But nobody should be shocked if Cabrera is a better hitter than Trout in 2014. I will, on the other hand, be semi-surprised if a healthy Trout isn't the best player in the American League. Again. What will really be hilarious? If the Seraphs aren't in the playoffs and the MVP goes to somebody else. Again."  Refuses to use the Angels correct name in posts. Again.
  • Here's a guy jumping through an outfield wall to make a catch in the Australian league - Yahoo Sports

    The player has been identified as Bartholomew "Bump" Bailey:
  • Is anyone trying to talk him out of it?  Bud Selig remains committed to retirement - ESPN.  "I've done this now for a long time, 22 years," Selig said. "It will be 23 by that time. Other than Landis, nobody has ever done this job longer. I'm going to be 80 years old next July 30. And I really do want to teach ... and I want to write a book, and I want to do it while, God willing, my health is good and my mind is still reasonably active, although many would disagree with that."
  • This is probably a little inappropriate, but what the hell, I laughed my ass off when I saw this: "Oh my goodness!"  Sports channel mistakenly airs X-rated version of Cubs mascot - Yahoo Sports.  "He's described as a young, friendly Cub who can't wait to interact with the kids..."  Yeah, you're going to have to keep that bear away from my kids.

    Here's where it gets REALLY inappropriate: Contest: Do Something Horrible To The Cubs' New, Perverted Mascot [NSFW?].  "The Cubs' new mascot is a nightmarish, perverted furry, and it deserves to have horrible things done to it. Gawker art director Jim Cooke has already gotten this party started. Do your worst."