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Thor'sLinks: Halos still hibernating

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It's a noisy day for baseball, but only outside the quiet confines of Orange County.

Harry How/Getty Images

Wow. It was a good day for baseball news! I actually cut out numerous great links because I was already way over your attention budget. Notably absent from activity, or even rumors of activity, were the Angels. They represent perhaps the only theoretical contender which has gone completely silent. Of course, this might just be a sign that we fans might need to to reset our expectations to some level below making the playoffs for awhile, until Arte finds some comfort in spending a couple million bucks in payroll tax out of his $1.3 billion worth of franchise value.

Maybe I'll need those unused items tomorrow but for now, get busy people. We got links:

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Everywhere In Baseball

Longshots: If it's late in the day, you are looking at the final race, all the strong horses paid off for the other dudes on the bus, your bankroll is depleted, and time is running out, what do you do? You dump all of what little hope you have left on the longshot and then you say a few prayers. Or, if you are Billy Eppler in that situation, you bet on a trifecta of longshots, which would be some resurgence of Al Alburquerque AND Craig Gentry AND Daniel Nava all at the same time. I would normally suggest letting me know how that works out, but in this case I'm afraid I am going to be forced to stare at this one myself. All season long. Because, as we all know, it's totally natural for athletes to get better after consecutive seasons of getting worse and worse............

Save it for later: Well then, that's just dandy! Now that ESPN is officially on board with the notion of eliminating the Save as a "stat", I guess we can all go home. (By the way, they have also come up with the mind-blowing ideas of using robots to judge balls/strikes, working hard to speed up the pace of games, and putting up more netting behind the home plate area. I'm telling you, those people are just visionaries.)..........

Equality: In a past life I was a senior manager for IT at a very major global law firm. If there are any employer categories more hyper-sensitive to unfair hiring/work practices than lawyers, I would be shocked to hear about them. As such, I was drilled in proper workplace hiring and management guidelines like nobodies business. At least twice every year for multiple day sesions with role play and tests and everything. So I am certainly not going to argue against any needed improvements in minority hiring throughout Major League Baseball. I don't know the numbers and I don't know the trends. I would question, however, whether the minority hiring results and histories are anywhere near as underwhelming as those concerning female candidates. I am still amazed at how male-centric franchise front offices continue to be.............

Talent to the Rescue: Since the Cardinals found out this winter that they could not afford to sign the likes of a Jason Heyward, they are forced to go with young, cost controlled, power-hitting outfield talent they already have in-house. Lucky for them, they have a guy such as Randal Grichuk in their system to fall back on. Every time some writer dives into this option it hurts, even though they nearly always fail to note the irony of this situation as it pertains to Anaheim...........

Money Talks: Just a minor comparison, since it will jump out at you as you read this link that compare the top spending and least spending teams this winter. You will see the Giants having spent the most, committing $326 million in new dollars (Cueto, Samardzija, Span and Brandon Crawford). And down there at 26th are your favorite Angels, skipping off the surface of the Free Agent pool and adding only $17.425 million in new payroll dollars. The comparative point is that the Giants ended the 2015 seasons at $180.7 million, whereas the Angels came in at just under $150 million. Now, we have to wait a wee bit more before we see the final tallies and figure out how the Giants are spreading that extra $308 million over the next few years and what it might mean to any impact by the luxury tax, if any. But doesn't that just jump out at you? Even if the Giants are able to spend that much and stay under the tax threshold that only means that their fiscal planning is infinitely superior to that of Arte and his accounting minions. It could also mean that the Giants have a far different opinion about what is going to happen with the next CBA than Arte wants to worry about. In any case, it means that the Giants are fearless. With 3 World Series titales in the past 6 years, it sure seems to be serving them well..............By the way, according to Cot's it look like the Giants are spending about $8 million more so far on 2016 than the Halos will. This means that the Giants are actually paying almost $40 million more this season for baseball players who will be paid to play in Giants uniforms, than Arte will be paying for players to play in Angels uniforms. And both teams play under the exact same luxury tax threshold..........

Road Trip: Charlie Blackmon of the Rockies has been one minor story thread for how to plug the gaping hole in the Halos' left field, seen as a trade target for Billy Eppler. More than a few folks object to this, basing their arguments on his road splits. For you others, if you had any doubts that Blackmon struggles on the road, doubt no more..........

Sports Biz: DraftKings and FanDuel continue to get hammered. They are on the verge of losing access to customers in Texas, and now we have reports of layoffs...........

Parity: Isn't it fascinating that the one major sport with the least amount of player free agency, happens to also be the sport with the least amount of historical parity? Most of you are far too young to recall the days when MLB, execs, owners and GM's were all over the media outlets predicting how player free agency was going to destroy baseball..........

Fantasticles: SiriusXM is conducting their RealTime Fantasy Sports MLB draft (as of this writing Round 23 was just kicking off). The story here is Adam Wainright learning that he survived to the 7th round and calling in to joke about it.  Ok, that was cute. but I heard that by the of Wainright's phone call Garrett Richards was still out there to be had. That prompted me to look at the draft. Paul Goldschmidt was taken ahead of Mike Trout. Garrett Richards was taken 6 slots after Wainright, and well ahead of Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish, and way, way ahead of Justin Verlander and John Lackey.Kole Calhoun was taken in the 8th round, ahead of Albert Pujols in round 11 (actually, Calhoun was taken over an entire All-Star team). Huston Street went in round 12, and C.J. Cron(!) went in round 21..............

Haranguing Haren?: Oh sure. Dan Haren waits until AFTER Nintendo shuts down their online game service before he chooses to retire and immerse himself in a video gaming world readily accessible to the stalking skills of 5thStarter...........

Choices: An interesting tale of yesterday came out of pro football, where retired Antwaan Randal El lamented his decision to play football, and reveals some of the physical devastation with which he now lives. Randal El now says he should have taken the Cubs up on their offer after they drafted him in the 14th round. to compare, CBS Sports pairs Randal El up against another college football standout who chose wisely and is healthy AND wealthy: Jeff Samardzija................

OT, Fun: Want to know what to do with yourself on a rainy day with too much time on your hands? Try to best this brilliant sculptor............

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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: San Francisco Beer Week Opening Gala. See the calendar for all events here..............

Saturday: San Francisco Beer Week continues. See the calendar for all events here............3rd Annual Craft Can Invitational happens at Devil's Canyon Brewing Company in San Carlos...............Brews & Bros Craft Beer Festival at Cable Airport in Upland............Hopocalypse Day beer festival at Drake's Brewing Company in San Leandro.............So Cal Winter Brew Fest at The Phoenix Club in Anaheim............

Sunday: San Francisco Beer Week continues. See the calendar for all events here..........Sour Sunday beer festival at Jupiter in Berkeley...........Vintage (2012-2015) Sour Beer Tasting at The Davis Beer Shoppe in Davis..............

Stay safe, everyone!

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