Now this is more like it! If you're a regular reader of Halolinks, you'll have noticed me lamenting about the lack of any real baseball news during the early part of the offseason. Well, that ends today...at least for today (I make no guarantees for tomorrow). Below you'll find links to keep you entertained, informed, and occupied for a minimum of 20 minutes regardless of what type of baseball news interests you. There's something for everyone!
A new day of Halolinks:
- I usually have all the Angels' news at the top of the links, but today, let's start with the Gold Glove Award winners: Royals, O's lead Gold Glove field with 3 each - MLB.com:
AL first baseman: Royals' Eric Hosmer
AL second baseman: Red Sox's Dustin Pedroia
AL shortstop: Orioles' J.J. Hardy
AL third baseman: Mariners' Kyle Seager
AL left fielder: Royals' Alex Gordon
AL center fielder: Orioles' Adam Jones
AL right fielder: Orioles' Nick Markakis
AL pitcher: Astros' Dallas Keuchel
AL catcher: Royals' Salvador Perez
- How do you solve a problem like Gold Glove voters? - FOX Sports, "As I'm sure you'll recall, last year Rawlings was gracious and sensible enough to (finally) inject some machine intelligence into the process, and now SABR's Defensive Index essentially accounts for about 25 percent of the voting. Which I think helps prevent any truly egregious choices. You know, like four (or five) of the five Gold Gloves the coaches and managers (and their proxies) gave Derek Jeter. Because now it's probably going to be exceptionally difficult for any player to win a Gold Glove if the metrics just hate him."
- MLB also announced the finalists for their major awards (MVP, ROY, and MOY). They'll announce the winners starting with the Manager of the Year next Tuesday: Kershaw finalist for NL MVP, Cy Young Award - MLB.com, "American League Mike Scioscia, Angels Buck Showalter, Orioles Ned Yost, Royals" Now for some Angels' news:
- Arbitration figures haven't been exchanged yet, but MLBTradeRumors has the projected salaries for the Halo players eligible this year: Projected Arbitration Salaries For 2015 – MLB Trade Rumors, "Gordon Beckham (5.123) – $5.0MM, David Freese (5.028) – $6.3MM, Kevin Jepsen (4.163) – $2.6MM, Fernando Salas (4.048) – $1.4MM, Vinnie Pestano (3.054) – $1.2MM, Hank Conger (3.051) – $1.1MM, Wade LeBlanc (3.038) – $800K, Hector Santiago (3.016) – $2.2MM, Collin Cowgill (2.151) – $900K, Garrett Richards (2.148) – $4.0MM."
- MLBTR also has this interesxting bit of information regarding the Angels' newest signing: Angels To Sign Cuban Infielder Roberto Baldoquin For $8MM Bonus – MLB Trade Rumors, "Because Baldoquin was subject to the international signing bonus, the Angels have now clearly shattered their international bonus pool. By adding Baldoquin, the Halos are subjecting themselves to a 100 percent luxury tax on any dollars spent over their $2.383MM bonus pool, and they will also be ineligible to sign any player for more than $300K in either of the next two international signing periods. They can, however, spend as aggressively as they wish for the remainder of this signing period, which runs through mid-June. At this point, because they’ll already have been hit with the max penalties, the only further penalties they will incur will be the 100 percent on any further dollars that are spent on international free agents."
- Here's an interesting post covering other Cuban players available, or soon to be available to sign: Cuban Notebook: Latest Buzz On Cuban Players - BaseballAmerica.com, "The international market is flooded with Cuban players who have left the island. Some of them are well-known to the scouting community and will go straight to the major leagues, while others are exciting young prospects. Most of them, though, are giving teams headaches trying to sort them out. Who are they? Who’s representing them? How can they see the players? Are they even any good? It’s impossible to put a number on, but there are scores of Cuban players popping up outside the island. Most of them are organizational prospects at best, with teams scrambling for information on them and trying to figure out who they need to prioritize seeing."
- It looks like Howie doesn't want to go east: Details On Howie Kendrick's No-Trade Clause, "Angels infielder Howie Kendrick‘s extension contains a clause permitting him to block trades to four teams this year. As Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports on Twitter, Kendrick can decline a swap that would send him to the Blue Jays, Mets, Rays, or Marlins."
- The Angels get this guy: Bogar reunites with Angels in front office - angels.com, "Bogar went 14-8 while guiding the last-place Rangers down the stretch. He was then a finalist for the full-time managerial vacancy, but lost out to Jeff Banister and left the organization. With the Angels, the 48-year-old former infielder will serve a multifaceted role that includes scouting and coaching at the Minor League levels."
- While the Dodgers get this one: Los Angeles Dodgers lure Farhan Zaidi of Oakland Athletics for GM role - ESPN Los Angeles, "With the A's, Zaidi's areas of expertise included providing statistical analysis for evaluating and targeting players in the amateur draft, free agent and trade markets. He also worked on arbitration cases, minor league contracts and worked closely with coaches to analyze data from advance scouting reports." Alright, I realize this is a completely different situation, but if you've been following the Dodgers' offseason front office moves, this falls right into place for the organization's turn-around from a scouting-based philosophy to a more analytically driven mindset. Even if you don't care for the Dodgers, give this post a read.
- Here's another "must read" post. It looks at how the Yankees' ability to over-spend goes beyond their major league roster: The Yankees Found Another Way To Outspend Every Other Team - FanGraphs Baseball, "An executive with a medium market club told me last year that his team had a target list of about a dozen minor league free agents to target on day one of minor league free agency and the Yankees signed about half of those players to salaries that his team couldn’t come close to matching. Why don’t other teams spend what amounts to a trivial amount of money to get the minor league free agents that their scouts and analysts are telling them to target? I still haven’t gotten a satisfactory answer after asking a half dozen front office people. As mentioned above, part of it is cost control and having limits in place to make the negotiation process go smoother and more quickly with dozens of players in play for each team at any given time. The rest of it, as I’m told, are various versions of "this is the way things are done." One exec said if his team spent an extra $1 million to get all of their targets and none of those players ended up contributing to the big league team, it would open him up to scrutiny for taking money from another department, trying something different and wasting $1 million." I usually don't include this much in the link-clip, but there's so much interesting stuff in this post I don't want you to miss. Here's another paragraph that blew my mind: "A Yankees source told me they could break even financially with a $500 million payroll expenditure (including luxury tax), so this minor league free agent expenditure is still a trivial amount of money for them, though it would be less trivial for a small market club. Credit is still due to the Yankees for being open-minded enough to do the rational thing and spend their considerable resources in whatever way is available. Not every team does this, normally for bureaucratic reasons; you’d be surprised how difficult it is to move a seven figure sum from one department to another even within baseball operations."
- Ah, the feels: Postseason shares colorful history - ESPN, "I want to give the money to people where it will change their lives," Hawkins says. "We had a guy in 2007 who worked in our clubhouse. We gave him a half-share and he was able to buy a house, a car, go back to school. He was able to buy things and do things he wouldn't have been able to do otherwise. "That money is not going to change our lives, but it will change the clubhouse kids' lives. You take a 20-year-old kid in college and give him $80,000. That's giving a head start, a good head start."
- The Cy Young That Never Was – The Hardball Times, "The numbers: 22 wins, 284.1 innings pitched, 180 strikeouts, 2.53 ERA, 1.04 WHIP. Twenty-four complete games. It was a dream year: the kind that only comes when a young, lanky right-hander with first-round talent has the epiphany -– the click -– and is almost unhittable from then on. "They robbed me," he had said to me, taking the card back to look over it, as if there was something he had missed in the 30 years it had been in his wallet. "I should’ve won the Cy Young." It was a very close vote. Steve Stone, starter for the Baltimore Orioles and winner of 25 games, tied with Norris with 13 first-place votes. The voters who didn’t vote for Norris to win put him further down the ballot (Stone received 10 second-place votes to Norris’ seven), which gave him a smaller share of the overall points and handed the award to Stone. Three voters left Norris off the ballot completely." What kind of idiot would leave a player with those numbers off of their ballot?
- Comparing hitting across generations: neutralized hitting - Beyond the Box Score, "Context is the most important thing to me when reviewing players -- did what a player accomplish really set a standard, or was he just part of overall historical trends? Batting averages and home run totals rise and fall, and it helps to have a yardstick with which to compare careers. One of the backwaters at Baseball-Reference allows users to neutralize a player's career stats to different eras, and even different parks. This provides one way in which to put Barry Bonds and Babe Ruth on a relatively equal footing to see how they compare."