While you were away Jerry Dipoto and Arte Moreno took a few days of rest from the Winter Meetings activity, allowing the balance of us to follow more closely the rising utility costs of our holiday displays, or to focus more intently on locating that last open spot in the distant corner of the mall parking lot or, worse yet, to come up with yet one more clever excuse to avoid the arrival of Auntie Mame's ambrosia feast.
The shamans, those who toil on the talismans of the gods above, have observed the signal from the heavens that the worst of the dark and cold have come and we have all survived. From here to Spring the days shall be ever longer, and the nights ever shorter, as the world grows warmer and better with each passing day. All should celebrate. Bring greens and fires and libations into your homes. And I shall bring the links:
In the Heavens of Anaheim: The Angels picked up yet another prospect to take a run at Howie's old job. Promising prospect Johnny Giavotella comes to us from the Royals in exchange for Brian Broderick. Giavotella hasn't set the world on fire in his limited MLB experience, but his minor league numbers are solid, so there's potential..........To make room on the 40-man, the Halos released Shawn O'Malley..........Finishing off the deal they made with him nearly 2 months ago, Roberto Baldoquin passed his physical and formally signed with the Halos. Once the paperwork is approved by the Commish, we have a future behind Aybar at shortstop..............Thus, we can probably presume that the mystery team which has won the bid for Jung-Ho Kang is not the Angels (*UPDATE*: It was the Pirates)...........This is interesting. Lester (who would have said yes to Boston for only $120MM) went for $155MM to the Cubs, and Scherzer is looking for $200MM, so will this make $110MM for James Shields look like a bargain opportunity to Dipoto?..........Doth thou wonder but even a morsel as pertains the signing bonus pool constraints toward those players of international origin? Wonder no more, nave.
*UPDATE*: John Lackey is selling his castle in the State of Ostentatious. And, to think, with a divorce this is only HALF of what his estate used to be? Yeegawd. I always wonder when designs such as this are going through the minds of the architect, what the hell were they thinking as to the future purpose and management of all that space?What planet do those people live on???
Around Baseball: I have been tracking this developing story concerning Minor League player pay and their class action suit against MLB concerning violations of the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Most recently I linked to how MiLB had joined MLB in building up a lobby effort to get Congress to exempt minor league ball from such standards. Pretty much an old tale: "if you don't like being forced to follow the law, just change the law". Well, Craig Calceterra, who has some labor law in his legal background, takes the MiLB to task. And, boy, does Craig rip 'em! The last 4 paragraphs are a solid pounding...........Something extraordinary is going on down in San Diego. By my count, they have already ejected 18 players from their organization, and brought in 8. Among those are Barnes, Morrow, Kemp, Norris, Myers, Middlebrooks and Upton. These dudes are thinking about running with the bigger dogs in LA and SF. And now we hear rumblings that they are still aiming even higher. They are talking with the Phillies about snatching away Cole Hamels. That would make California a baseball mecca.............Either the Giants are playing a game of cat and mouse with Max Scherzer, or they feel confident enough without him to force Boras to come to them...........Something to think about: the strongest division in baseball in 2014, the AL West, is next to last among all divisions in free agent spending this winter...........Win your next bar bet with Cliff Claven! The youngest person to ever play professional baseball was...only 9 years old.