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Thor'sLinks: Winter Meetings Day 4

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Come on, Eppler, this is your last chance to show us you can hang with your new peers!

Rick Stewart/Getty Images

We don't seem to show well when we are placed in the same room with the movers and shakers of all the other MLB teams, do we? Using the holiday season metaphors to death, it feels like we are happy to have avoided most of the Black Friday fist fights. We did get ourselves an awesome new 4K TV, larger and more feature rich than our last one and ready to hang on the wall over at SS. But that didn't come to us at some ten cents on the dollar deal. We paid full list price for that one. But now we seem happy to avoid the heaviest congested shopping window. And now we are looking to buy the kids their presents during the week after Christmas when all the magic and charm are gone and we are hoping that all the stores have their merchandise on sale.

For the past few weeks, we looked from the outside and were willing to say out loud that it is clear the Angels need to put some presents under their tree. And the MSM looked at the franchise and determined that the primary need for 2016 is to put some presents under the tree. The local scribes dug deep, did some analysis, and concluded that the focus should be to put presents under the tree. In interviews with team management, the insight coming back was that one important consideration for shopping season would be to see how discussions might lead towards presents, with an acknowledgement that it would be beneficial should they end up under the tree. And here we are, still replacing some garland on the tree itself with a fresh strand of popcorn and quintinberrys.

So is the real plan just to hope that some other shopper drops something of value out of their shopping bags? Did we really go to the mall with the same credit cards that were already drained years ago for that shiny used Pujols?

Color me impatient, but I am struck by how many transactions a guy can pull off to rebuild a franchise when he is not working within the organizational structure of Anaheim, versus what that same guy was able to do when working within it. And, of course, how few transactions the new guy can do now that he is working within. I am noticing a trend here, and it's not the guy who gets sent to Nashville.

Take my mind off of this all, by enjoying some International Human Rights Day Links:

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Angels Baseball

Stop Bunting!: Eppler tried to sneak up on the infield by bunting his way onto a replacement second baseman. Well, technically, a little better than replacement. 2.4 bWAR, which is 1.4 bWAR than the guy he would be replacing. Specifically, Walker is a version of Johnny Giavotella that can hit an occasional home run. The target was Neil Walker of the PiratesWhat's interesting is that they accepted John Niese back from the Mets in return. Niese was the kind of the Mets version of Hector Santiago. Just not as good. (Mike DiGiovanna of LAT had Santiago as the best fit.) Did the Pirates say no to Santiago but yes to Niese? Or, did the Mets say yes to Niese but the Angels said no to Santiago?..........

THE Craig Gentry?: Yeah. THE Craig Gentry. Sorry, but I can't type anymore in this subject without laughing. Sorry, that's all I got...........

Sosh: I link to it here merely out of fairness. Or in the event that somebody wander by and discovers Hals Heaven for the first time. Or the Angels. Or baseball. Or planet earth. Mike Scioscia gives an interview out of Nashville and every response could have been crafted by any of the couple hundred regulars here.......... 

Big Splash!: The Great Anticipation for this final day of the 2016 Winter Meetings would be that Billy Eppler might - might! - pick off a player from within the Rule 5 Draft.  Yeehaw! Taylor Featherston 2.0..........

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Elsewhere In Baseball

Nothing But Net: Well, this is one of those things that will cause personal injury lawyers just drool all over themselves. MLB has issued a recommendation to all clubs that all 30 MLB stadiums be outfitted with extended netting between fans and the field. Essentially, it would run dugout-to-dugout.  Some teams, such as the Dodgers, have already announced that they will follow the recommendation. Here is your can of worms. And here is your can opener. PI lawyers will love this because (a) it provides a solid event wherein MLB implies that fans sitting behind netting are more safe than those who are not, (b) it implies that MLB has agreed that not sitting behind netting is a threat to injury or even death, (c) it creates the impression that the only reason some fans have been hurt to date is due to MLB failing to think about how to protect those fans (in other words, negligence), and (d) it creates a permanent liability suit opportunity in defiance of the assumed risk clause for any fan who is hurt by any object that went over or around any netting ever put into place in any MLB stadium. It's Christmas time for the ambulance chasers, and we can expect new late-night and mid-day commercials everywhere..........

Stacking Up: A running theme with me is that I feel our lack of a !1 draft choice is only half the tragedy that is our crappy farm system. The other half is how poorly we pick with all the other choices we do get to make. Here is evidence: a visual history comparing how many and how often each franchise has players show up in the annual Top 100 Prospects list put out by Baseball America. We have a really, really sad showing. Except for a momentary bit of luck around1993, and a nice upward trend from 2002 through 2006, we suck. Compare to the Braves, the Mets and the Twins............

Food for Thought: trades take two sides, and end up with two points of view. In the aftermath of the Shelby Miller trade to the DBacks, there is a lot of commentary about how the Braves took the Dbacks to the cleaners, and how the DBacks must obviously be in win-now mode because of all the future they sent away. We disinterested halo fans can see these arguments objectively and we understand why folks are writing such things. But let's flip this to the other side. If Dave Stewart approached Billy Eppler with those same three prospects, and asked for Andrew Heaney, NOW how do you feel about it?..........

Gift Giving Guide: You people all asked for my Christmas list this year, right? Good, because here is the baseball part of it..........Or, OT, you could spit your coffee all over your keyboard browsing this list, instead!..........

HoF: Failing to take their cue from the Pre-Integration Veterans Committee which refused to induct anyone new in the Hall of Fame, the BBWAA is perfectly fine scraping off the oily char that forms on the burner side of the pan just to have something to mar their ballots, and has over-honored Dan Shaughnessy with the Spink Award. Don't be confused. This is not an induction into the Hall itself. It's an award presented to a media member during Hall of Fame Week. And, in this case, it is that bell weather indicating we can expect to see the Spink Awards given to the likes of Jim Murray, Ring Lardner and Shirley Povich in local thrift stores sometime soon..........

Classy: Oakland-Alameda County Stadium. "O.co" for you hipster wannabe's. Home of the A's and the Raiders. An official embarrassment to TWO sports leagues............


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Hot Stove Season (or...a record of all the ongoing shelling while the Angels stay safe in the trenches)

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And now, being the full-service weekend linkage institution that we are, here is the obligatory moment we take out of each Thursday...for beer...

Friday: Ale & Artisan's Craft Festival at Inland Empire Brewing Company in Riverside..........

Saturday Santa Brew Crawl starts at Main Street in Martinez..........Twilight Micro Beer Fest at the Yorba Room in Yorba Linda..........The New Kids - San Diego Welcome's New Breweries & Distilleries at SILO In Makers Quarter, San Diego..........

Sunday: Hermosillo Brown Bag Night at The Hermosillo / Hihgland Park Brewery in LA..........The League of Partygoers & Elegant People Welcome Party at Modern Times Beer in San Diego..........

Stay safe, everyone!

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