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MondoLinks: Time to choose and ascend or descend

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The 2015 Winter Meetings are officially upon us, and the tectonic plates have already begun to shift. So here Billy Eppler stands. The scales are in motion already and he cannot stop them. Which opportunity does he step upon? Quick, because it just moved out of reach and another is here...

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Here we go, folks, the peak of the off-season hash-house is now. Everything that may happen after this week is really a consequence of things that will happen during this week. This is true even if what happens is merely a simple discussion over a cocktail or two, to be considered later. Billy Eppler has his work cut out for him. Still major holes need to be filled and still he knows of Arte's concept of "budget" only in rumor and in theory. Eppler has some serious decisions to make, and not all opportunities are going to result in a win for our particular franchise.  The big challenge is the speed of the market. Things are now fast moving and it's difficult to take time and think through the landscape and properly understand how the shifts may be impacting our fortunes and how best to act/react. Make a mistake and you end up with a GMJ, jr. or a Vernon Wells. It's really is a tough time to be a Halo GM.

But it's a great time to be a fan, what with the holidays surrounding us in the real world and the massive churn going on in the baseball world. Grab a nice cognac of your own and savor it all.

Happy Hanukkah, everyone. And say a prayer in memory of those lost in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Then sink your teeth into a tall cloud of National Cotton Candy Day Links:

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Angels Baseball

Eppler's To-Do List: Billy Eppler arrives in Nashville with a well-known list of things that would be nice to get accomplished while everybody is gathered into one place and with the same objective: reboot for 2016. Nobody is asking me, but if anybody did I would suggest that Eppler's biggest challenge is that all the other teams know what his list looks like just as easily as we do..............

Baby Pictures: The Angels celebrated their own birthday yesterday, which was the day that Gene Autry strolled into the MLB Winter Meetings for the very first time. Enjoy the results..............


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Elsewhere In Baseball

Exit-Zack-ly: The Dodgers felt the bite of the very sting they laid on us a few years ago, as they watched Zack Greinke follow the dollars and sense and mozy off to a rival. So it occurs to me, if there was ever one team in real need of starting pitching, which cares very little about existing contract terms such as only 1 year of control, or $20million for that one year, or having the chance to trade some offense in exchange for a one year pitcher for $20million (who happens to love sports cars and supermodels and already lives in the area), it would be the Dodgers.............

Papel-Butthead: "Hey, Nationals! You know when you suspended me for 4 games because I wrapped my fingers around the very best baseball player in the National League and started to choke your franchise investment in front of live television??? Well, you still owe me money for those 4 games I couldn't play after I was the asshole who assaulted Bryce Harper.".............

SUB-stantial: A very nice long form about the evolution of the MLB substitution rules, and perhaps the legendary "King" Kelly that might have been behind them...............

Icon-ick: Dear Derek Jeter, the next time you decide to retire from baseball, take a tip from how another kinda famous dude does it, one who actually did have a legitimate reason to jump while playing..............

Couch Coaching: Yeah, sorry, there is no existing data that would predict Barry Bonds to be a good hitting coach just because Barry Bonds was, himself, a good hitter...............


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Hot Stove Season

Ew. Salty: I assume that this is prior to the Angels signing Geovany Soto, but it appears that Eppler had made at least one phone call of inquiry to the agent of Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Thank you, Detroit!...........

Yeonis or Noenis: Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News is hearing whispers that the Angels are gearing up to make a run at Yeonis Cespedes. I know that few of you are in agreement with me on thinking this is a sweet idea in a larger view, so you can all relax and realize that it would be foolish NOT to prepare to make a run at EVERYBODY, because you never know how the winds may change...............

We Gott This One: Wasn't that a bright and shiny surprise how well Trevor Gott did coming out of the pen with all that blazing speed on his fastball last year? That's a treasure that could grow on us, right there. As it happens, that is a treasure that has grown already on a lot of other teams, and they want. They maybe want badly. But do they want badly enough to pay for it with a very nice second baseman?.................

Dodgy Logic: Buster Olney is no fan of what the Dodgers did and did not do in their decision-making that lead up to the departure of Zack Greinke. He keeps hitting them on point after point.  Bambambambam and bam. Still not done, off he goes with another bam, and bam again. And now everything the Doyers do is contrasted against their Greinke logic, so bam one last time............

Arms Race: With Jeff Samardzija now off the board and signed with the Giants, and John Lackey getting locked up by the Cubs, the 2016 Free Agent class is becoming ever more precious. Price, Greinke, Zimmerman and even Brett Anderson all signed, the cream of the crop is now Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake. Even the outliers such as Wei-Yeh Chen and Scott Kazmir and Hisashi Iwakuma are getting licked up, with Iwakuma getting tabbed by the Dodgers late yesterday and Kazmir needing to hire a trsaffic cop to deal with all the attention. When they look back on it all, these may turn out to be the very best days of the entire lives for Cueto, and Leake.............

Maddening: Yeah, the feel-good story we wanted to be a part of - the Ryan Madson comeback - has happened for reals. And we will get to be a part of it, but only when we get to watch him strike out the bottom of our batting order a dozen or so times next year. It's kind of interesting, however, to think that if anybody out there was going to commit $7.3million per year for 3 years to a guy who is 35 years old now and has a body put back together using duct tape, and all for a roster slot role that is eminently replaceable, it was going to be Billy Beane............

The Red Zone: The Reds appear to be willing to trade away the whole damned team this year. So it must be particularly frustrating to management that Joey Votto is not about to waive his no-trade rights to further their amusement.............

UT-errr-LY: Chase Utley has found a way to milk one last year out of his body, by signing with the Dodgers while they were still in shock over losing Zack Greinke...............

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