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Wednesday Halolinks: Did the Angels win the off-season?

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According to the USA Today, Jerry Dipoto and the Halos had themselves a pretty good winter.

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

A lot of interesting stuff in today's Halolinks.  As I wrote yesterday, there are going to be a few preseason/off-season analysis posts looking at each clubs moves hitting the intertubes over the next few days.  Today's is from the USA Today and it gives the Angels one of the top spots in the American League.  If that's not something to get your heart pumping, I don't know what will.  Halolinks aplenty:

Countdown to Ecstasy: 16 days

  • In previous years we frequently joked about how the Angels won the off-season by making that "big splash" free agent signing(s).  However, this year they may have won the off-season in a different way.  A better way.  Take a look at this: Offseason report card: American League - USAToday.com, "Los Angeles Angels: This is more of a 12-month achievement award for general manager Jerry Dipoto, who has acquired 22 of 40 players on their roster via trade. In 2014 he assembled much of a 98-win team largely on the fly, and this winter he created admirable pitching depth by trading for Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano. Matt Joyce balances the lineup and gives the Angels insurance against health or performance woes from Josh Hamilton."  They gave the club an "A" for their off-season moves, and that was before the news about Josh Hamilton's shoulder woes.
  • It's kinda sad when your team only has a couple prospects make the original list, but now the Halos didn't even have an almost-made-the-list prospect.  Close but no cigar: Prospects who just missed the Top 100 - MLB.com, "We released the MLBPipeline.com Top 100 Prospects list on Friday, and as always, there wasn't enough room to include everyone I like. With that in mind, I've listed below (alphabetically) 20 more prospects who have caught my eye, some of whom made my personal Top 100 but couldn't crack the official list once I combined my choices with Jonathan Mayo's and we got feedback from industry sources."
  • Yesterday the rumors were James Shields' price may be falling.  Looks like the buyers are lining up:
  • Who's left? Plenty of solid players remain on free-agent market - MLB.com, "In the meantime, though, there are several less-touted free agents who appear to be good gambles for clubs still trying to address needs. Especially clubs looking for pitching."  Umm, no.
  • 5 most likely destinations for Cuban prospect Moncada - MLB.com, "Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada has been cleared to negotiate and sign with the Major League club of his choice. And there are plenty of choices. "  Spoiler Alert: Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, Padres and Tigers.  I think it'll be the Dodgers, but I'm hoping San Diego gets him.
  • I thought it would have been cool if he had made it back last year, but now it seems the dream is really over:
  • Look at this: Angels' season-ticket renewal rate strong; overall sales lagging - LA Times, "The Dodgers expect to sell 35,000 season tickets this season. The Angels sold a franchise-record 31,000 season tickets in 2006 while they were in the midst of a string of five playoff appearances in seven years. That figure dropped to 24,000 in 2012, to 21,000 in 2013 and 16,000 in 2014, but the Angels have drawn 3 million or more fans for 12 straight seasons since 2003."  The Dodgers sold 3,782,337 tickets compared to the 3,095,935 bought by Angels' fans in 2014.  So although the Dodgers had more than twice the number of season ticket sales, the Angels have a much better walk-up business.  What does that mean?  I dunno.  Off the top of my head I'd figure the Angels have a more loyal fanbase based on the assumption they get more people making gameday decisions to attend their games.  The logic being a gameday purchase seems more likely to be used than a season ticket purchase.
  • What?  I'm shocked!  SHOCKED!!  After another disappointing season, Josh Hamilton is injured again - LA Times, "Hamilton is expected to miss most of spring training and will need a minor league rehabilitation assignment before returning. "By attacking this aggressively now, we put ourselves in a position for him to miss as little time as possible," Dipoto said. "He'll probably have to open on the DL. But his return to play should be in April." Dipoto said the Angels did not want a repeat of last September, when Hamilton would swing a bat for a day or two and be shut down for a week or more. "Watching him come back for the postseason after such a long layoff, knowing it was so painful for him to swing, it might not have been the best decision for Josh," Dipoto said."  What?  I'm shocked again!
  • I realize he was trying to give it rest, but come on, you don't swing a bat for three months?  You would have thought at some point he would have picked up a bat since, I don't know, that's how he makes a very good living.  Hamilton to have right shoulder surgery; out 6-8 weeks - MLB.com, "It didn't bother him throughout the offseason," Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said Tuesday, moments after the team announced Hamilton's need for surgery. "He went into his offseason training and never had an issue until last week, when he started swinging full throttle again."
  • Money.  It's a gas: The Tax Man Collects From Everyone, Even The Jocks - ATLRedline.com, "Athletes' taxes may not affect you directly, but in a day when athletes' financial woes are constantly in the media, some athletes may take a more proactive approach to minimize their tax liability. Only a small portion of major league teams play home games in states which have no state income tax. This could potentially induce players to leave big market teams in high income tax states and go to smaller teams in a state with low or no income taxes. For instance, Max Scherzer's $210 million contract with the Washington Nationals provides the ace with a major tax break. Washington D.C. does not tax workers who do not reside in the district, which makes wages earned in all of Scherzer's home games excluded from Washington D.C. income tax. However, he would be liable for income taxes in the state that he resides in if it has an income tax."
  • Here are a couple non-Angels, but interesting none-the-less posts: Bunning's not-so-perfect day - Philly.com, "Bunning's account is our first peek into a clumsy, tainted, ill-conceived process designed to possibly elect players rejected by the baseball writers over a 15-year period on the regular ballot. It's not pretty, and it helps explain why players from the 1960s and '70s have drawn a blank since a veterans committee chose Bill Mazeroski in 2001."

    Cool 1930s Home Video Shows A Day Out At Wrigley Field
    , "This is a pretty cool home video of a bunch of guys sitting around in fedoras and smoking cigars while watching a Cubs game at Wrigley Field, shot in either 1937 or 1938."  Why does everyone in the 30's look like they're in the mob?

    The Year Ron Hunt Got Hit By 50 Pitches - FiveThirtyEight
    , "Shaking off the impact of the pitch, Hunt spotted the ball coming to rest near his feet. He picked it up, turned toward Gibson … and flipped it back to him. Trotting down to first base, Hunt was greeted by first baseman Bill White, who wanted to know if Hunt was OK after getting drilled by the one fastball that caused more nightmares than any other of his generation. "Yeah, I’m all right," Hunt replied indignantly. "Now tell that fucker to go warm up!" In the BBTF Newsstand's comment section was this tidbit: "Hunt was not well liked by fans or by other players. An article about him in the April 1965 issue of Sport Magazine, by George Vecsey, is entitled "Ron Hunt, Loner" and describes him as "the latter-day Mean Widdo Kid." Cub pitcher Larry Jackson, later a member of the House of Representatives, tried to counsel Hunt, telling him the story of Darryl Spencer, an infielder of the 1950s, who had become so unpopular around the league that players would go out of their way to plow into him on a double play. This had eventually driven Spencer to Japan. Hunt told Jackson to take his Darryl Spencer stories and shove them."  Maybe he got hit so often because they didn't like him.  I suppose he shouldn't expect an invitation to play in Iowa.