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WeekEnd Links: 62 days until Tempe

It's 2015, and 62 days filled with hope and expectations. 62 days until the first game of Spring!

Imagine the fresh smell of cut grass...
Imagine the fresh smell of cut grass...
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the year 2015, everyone. It usually takes me about two weeks for my muscle memory to get used to typing and writing that new final digit in the year. So if I eff up, just let it slide. Why? Because you and I are on a journey together to cast our gaze beyond the storm of college football bowl mania and pro football playoffs, eager in the expectation of spring training baseball, which is now just a matter of weeks away. Slip away and imagine the sweet smell of fresh-cut grass, the snap-snap sound of gloves catching baseballs as the players warm up, and off in the distance your eyes are mesmerized by some coach awakens the stadium with a rhythmic whack of one infield grounder after another. 62 days from now is the first spring game of the Halos. Pitchers and catchers report in just 48 days, position players in only 53. It's a blessed new year.

And, by the way, strange things tend to happen in MLB seasons that end in the number 5. Especially to the Angels . You know, 2005, and before that there was 1995. 1985 was our 25th Anniversary Season, so enjoy yourself some Dick Enberg. 1975 just sucked, so don't bother clicking here.  Which could be said, I suppose, about 1965. Buckle up, boys and girls!

Amazingly, a couple of things occurred in the world of sports yesterday that had absolutely nothing to do with holiday bowl football. I'm not complaining or anything. That's some fun stuff, right there. But, here we go, short form linkage. The real stuff will return next Friday...

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We are pretty much down to Shields/Scherzer Watch - 2015. Apparently Scherzer's price is plummeting, possibly all the way back to Detroit Tiger territory..........Although nothing of substance is in the works at the moment, the Halos remain among the Max list of possibilities, whatever that is worth...........Shields, on the other hand, has everyone totally confused.

This is news to me. Probably to Jerry Dipoto, too. If you asked anybody where the hole was in the Angels' lineup, the answer would jump out: SECOND BASE! But after all the moves Dipoto has made over the past 12 months, who would have guessed "bullpen"? Ummm, one guy, maybe?

Pretty cool, this. Only five guys in the American League have a longer tenure with their club than our Erick Aybar has with Arte.

All this chatter and excitement about this off-seasons hot stove action? Well, maybe it's not such a bog deal after all. Maybe it never is.  "By devoting attention to free agents and veteran trade targets, teams chase after an expensive subset of players...whose win production fundamentally costs more than that of cost-controlled young talent...Front offices are finally realizing this, which is a big reason why we’re seeing more talent locked into long-term contracts at a younger age, and why, consequently, fewer meaningful stars get to peddle their wares during hot stove season." Whoops.

Hall of Fame Tidbit: Baseball Prospectus puts up a pretty good ballot, but the really cool thing here is to notice what happens when you lift the 10-player ballot limit.

Ten 5-tool players today, only 3 are solid, and only 1 is non-debatable. Guess. Go ahead. Guess who...

H/T to Uni-Watch: Fantastic photos (here and here) of gorgeous vintage baseball scoreboards. Not the jumbotron era stuff. The Mel's Plumbing & Piping sort of stuff.