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Thor'sLinks: Still quite a few big moves left

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Greinke, Heyward, Zobrist, Gordon, Cueto, Upton are all left. Oh yeah, and Cespedes. Beyond that, there are hundreds of names laying about like spare baseball cards. Even Dan Uggla!

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Chess pieces are flying all over the national MLB playing board. Mostly pawns. Yesterday saw that a few of those pieces moving about wore Halos. We'll get to those later. But first...

It's an annual truism that as the most elite dominoes begin to fall during each Winter, those remaining see their stock benefit from the rising tide of dwindling opportunity. Scott Boras has made a killing out of this mechanism of owner/GM panic. We will soon be closing in on that time. There are still many out there, but of the best-of-the-best there are fewer every other day. This might be the best chance to grab the slightly lesser rings of brass (cough - Cespedes - cough) before their market rises with scarcity, and for significantly greater flexibility down the road. At least, that's the way things roll in my version of alternate realities. Of course, I am never right on these things. Take that for what it's worth.

Now, back to your National Roof Over Your Head Day Links:

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Angels Baseball

Cowgill: The tender deadline passed us by last night and the other shoe in the Rafael Ortega tale was dropped as Collin Cowgill was sold to the Indians directly, before the Indians would have to bid for him on the open market as a Free Agent. Ortega was brought in, Cowgill was sold away while we could still get anything for him, the Indians got outfield depth for an unknown sum, and Cowgill gets a $5,000 raise out of the Tribe to play in Cleveland for an even $1,000,000.............

Ramos: Just to prove that we fans live in Bizzaro World, Eppler chose to tender relief pitcher Fernando Salas and allowed Cesar Ramos, who just had a much better 2015 than Salas, to walk non-tendered. Sure, there is a chance to re-sign Ramos off the open market, and maybe for less than Ramos would have been awarded via arbitration for his success. And, sure, Ramos was mop-up and his numbers might be skewed by the quality of his batters faced.And yes, maybe it was that Ramos has only a year of control left. Then, surely, maybe we can really make a reach and imagine that there is some political motive to hang on to the last asset acquired for the price of creating that hole out there in right field when we lost Randal Grichuck. But still, without deeper knowledge from behind the scenes, this is 180 degrees away from the obvious choice to have been made. Go figure............

Eppler: This is why I would not make a good MSM journalist. I have no patience for fillers and the obvious. Billy Eppler was asked what his plans were for his first Winter Meetings conclave and his answer was beyond predictable. "The goal is to walk out the door with more information than you walked in with, and to be as thorough as possible in your information gathering....Time will tell. Nothing is ruled out at this point in time." In other words, "I'm not so stupid as to announce to you what I hope and need before I walk onto the lot". But, hey, when your paycheck depends on asking the obvious questions so that you can get the obvious quotes, it's what you do............

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Elsewhere In Baseball

Padres: The Big Splash in San Diego yesterday was the reveal of their 2016 uniform change. the Pads rolled out three new looks for 2016. The first change is a minor tweak to their standard colors, showcasing some gold as an accent to align with the gold-themes All-Star logo and celebrating the ASG coming to Petco next July...The second change is to the traditional  Padres camo color scheme, moving over to a weak-assed interpretation of the contemporary navy "blueberries". (I get it why this is such a large part of the Padres tradition, and it really only makes a lot of sense for them out of all franchises, but my design sensibilities would trend more towards camo trim rather than a full pseudo-service jersey. But that's just me.)...The final change is for Friday home game, where they bring back the brown and mustard. Pretty much nothing changes for the roads unis, which pissed off UniWatch, who really care about such things...........

Shenanigans: The other day Detroit Tigers owner Mike Ilitch spoke a bit with some reporters, and was refreshingly candid about his wheelings and dealings. Well, yeah, when you are 80 years old and are you know full well you can't take all your money with you, the importance of playing with your toys during what little time you have left trumps any thoughts about how much that play might consume what money. Good on Ilitch for not worrying about it anymore. But in the course of his responding, Ilitch said something of particular interest that the good dudes over at Fangraphs have latched onto. They may have something. I confess that, although the sentence did make me wince, I failed to register any alarms bells. I should have. When Ilitch said the words "...I don't care about the money. I want the best players....Well, I'm supposed to be a good boy and not go over it...Oops, I shouldn't have said that....", he may have accidently cracked open the window to the reality of backdoor activity among the owners and MLB Front Office that could legally be defined as collusion. Oops.............

MLB Calendar: Just a reminder, the MLB Winter Meetings take place next week. For the teams, the meetings run 12/7-12/10, but for we fans they start the afternoon of Sunday 12/6 with MLB broadcasting. Not to get lost in those meetings are some other important events. On Monday night 12/7 the Pre-Integration Era Committee will announce their Hall of Fame inductees. And on early Thursday morning 12/10 MLB will hold the annual Rule 5 Draft...........

Ringlets: You know, if you don't win the World Series, you still get a ring.........

Musical Coaching Couch: It ain't just the players that move during this time of year. Coaches move a heck of a lot, too. Right now, what with the Dodgers getting a new skipper in Dave Roberts - and - all of the 2015 LAD coaches having their contracts expire, Chavez Ravine is witnessing a brain drain of epic proportions. Davey Lopes already ran off to the Nats and Ron Roenicke has moved into Anaheim. The latest is Mark McGwire moving up to become bench coach down in San Diego............

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Hot Stove Season

Borjous: Petey Boujos was waived by the Cards yesterday, and is now reunited with Matt Klentak after being claimed by the Phillies. Assuming that the deal goes through and Bourjos dons the maroon for the first time, this leaves the Dipoto deal with the Cards holding Randal Grichuck and the Halos holding Fernando Salas. Bourjos net contribution to St. Louis ends up at 0.6 bWAR. David Freese netted the Halos 3.8 bWAR and Salas has given Anaheim 0.2 bWAR so far. Meanwhile, all by himself Randal Grichuck has yielded 3.4 bWAR to date, has 4 years of control left in the hands of the Cards, and is just getting started. So, to recap, Keith Law informs the world that the "Angels ended up way ahead in that trade". Um...Ok............

Zobrist: While the market for Zobrist is heating up, rumors are that the Angels have long since stopped chatting with his camp. Either we are waiting things out, or we have other plans..........

Samardzija: Ouch! Jeff Samardzija, a once excellent pitcher who has fallen off the cliff the last two years (fWAR down to 2.7 from a high of 4.1 and ERA+ down to 79 from a high of 134), supposedly has an offer on the table for $100 million real United States dollars..........

Greinke: In what seems like a smallish number compared to what we are seeing already, that is until you twizzle it, the Dodgers are believed to have offered Zack Greinke $210mm. Remember, David Price just got $217mm and Greinke trumps Price on the mound with relative ease. But here is the twizzle: the Dodgers offer is rumored to be for only 6 years (paying him out to age 37). That makes for an AAV of $35mm. Price's contract brings him in at only $31mm AAV, and would pay him out to age 37 as well (Price turned 30 in the middle of last season, Greinke turned 32 after the season). So, in the end, the Dodgers offer to Greinke gives him $4mm more per season than Price will draw from the Red Sox, which is about a 13% premium for Greinke's superiority..........

Bottom Feeding: The Padres and A's pulled off a cluster trade yesterday, with 4 players in the swap plus the ubiquitous PTBNL. The A's pick up a first baseman and a pitcher and the Pads get back two pitchers and someone else down the road. What makes this interesting is how the tender deadline plays a role in motivating the GM's..........Meanwhile, Jerry Dipoto added Nori Aoki to his busy coffee shop up in Seattle, and the Royals hooked up with their fellow Missourians and traded for backup catcher Tony Cruz from the Cards. Cruz will be replacing Drew Butera, a name that some (if you have outstanding memories) might find familiar..........

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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: Pizza Port Strong Ale Festival at Pizza Port Carlsbad..........

Saturday San DiegHo Ho Ho hosted by The Doughroom Craft Pizza & Beer in LA..........6th Annual LA Limerick Festival w/ Mimi Chen of 100.3 FM and Jan Michael Alejandro at the Altadena Alehouse..........

Sunday: Nada...

Stay safe, everyone!

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