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HumpLinks: On the Eve of Thanks

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Don't be fooled. In this dullest of doldrums of an offseason, Billy Eppler is hustling to do that important thing: put together his own team to take on the other Front Offices this Winter.

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On this Thanksgiving Eve, when so many other Front Offices are already out to holiday, Billy Eppler does that one important thing we touched upon weeks ago. He is scurrying around and rebuilding his own team to arm the LAA Fron Office well enough to go into battle against the other 31 teams as they all compete to reboot their rosters this Winter.

So things are quiet as we approach the holiday, but there certainly are deck chairs shuffling on State College Blvd. For the rest of us, Links:

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Angels Baseball

Black is Back: Getting a jump on Black Friday deals, the Angels officially finalized the return of Bud Black into the LAA Front Office, taking the position of Special Assistant to the General Manager. Yeah, I know we talked about this before, but it was not a done deal at that time and Eppler was then in public denial mode. Let's be honest here. Black will be a fine addition to the brain trust, but that spot for him should not be considered anything but an interim stone on his career journey to something better, probably elsewhere...........By the way, in that same article there are other Front Office changes announced: "Other front-office positions announced by the Angels include: Steve Martone and Jonathan Strangio as assistant GMs, Mike Gallego as director of baseball development, Justin Hollander as director of player personnel, Mike LaCassa as director of Minor League operations and Bobby Scales as special assistant to the GM"............

Trout Porn: Joe Posnanski, one old-timer who does very well with long form, making him among the very best we have at deep-thought, critical thinking skills, sports writing these days, voted for Mike Trout as MVP. And after thinking about the actual outcome for a few days now, Joe steps up and smacks his peers across the forehead in defense of Mike Trout, The Best Player in Baseball. "In the end, I tend to believe that while we talk a good game about being more analytical, we’re really doing more or less the same stuff. Mike Trout was, by just about any measure, the best player in the league in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. And while we can try to wrap it up in coats of many colors, the bottom line is that three times we gave the MVP award to someone with more RBIs."..........

More Trout Porn: Fangraphs, one of hte main sites that BBWAA voters reference as evidence that Trout and Donaldson are close enough to identical in terms of modern stats - except for where Donaldson is a clear winner (defense and baserunning) - gives us yet another "We're sorry!" article trumpeting the overall incredibleness of The Mike.  (They gave us one the day before, as well.). Sorry, guys. But until you fix your defensive measuring you are going to only add to the voters falling back on RBI's to excuse their desire for anybody but Trout.............

SotoNomics: Eppler signed Geovany Soto to a 1 year deal for  $2.8 million yesterday.  That's an offensive upgrade over Chris Iannetta, at a fraction of the money that Iannetta got out of Dipoto up North...........


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Elsewhere In Baseball

Canoodling: Seattle is in full damage control mode now, after the Van Slyke radio dump that included the charge that Robinson Cano was unhappy and wanted out, prefereably to go home to the YankeesI already linked yesterday to Cano's overnight rebuttal, and now Jerry Dipoto is, predictably, all kumbaya...........

The British are Coming!: MLB is looking hard into expanding their International campaign to London in 2017, using the venue constructed for the 2012 Olympics. London would join Japan, Puerto Rico and Australia in hosting regular season games as MLB looks to spark some interest in our national pastime..........

QO Bets: Now that we have players who actually accepted their Qualifying Offer, we can formally move to the next step, which is forecasting the risk/reward they placed on themsevles by deferring to next year's Free Agent class. So what about that class? Well, let's stop being so consumed by the market we are already in, and look out a year from now to see what that talent pool might look like.............

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Award Season

Hall of Fame: Poor Cardinals fans. They just can't catch a break. After all, Jim Edmonds "...had a great career and deserves induction" [to the Hall of Fame]. But now they find that the HoF voting rules are going to job Edmonds off the ballot right after he arrives on it. That's just not fair! He was a CARDINAL, dammit! HoF voting is obviously "outdated" when a CARDINAL gets ommitted. And for those of you who have that knee-jerk reaction that Jim Edmonds might not have actually had a true Hall of Fame career, HE WAS A CARDINAL!!!..........

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Hot Stove Season

Mark Trumbo: Sending away Trumbo might be the next Dipoto move up in the Northwest..........

John Lackey: Lackey might end back up in California, pitching for the team he defeated in the 2002 World Series..........

Howie: Whither Kendrick this offseason? Anywhere, and nowhere..........

International: I'm not saying that we need an International Draft, but this International signing system surely does need cleaning up.............


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