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TuesdoLinks: Winter approaches, things heating up

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We have almost exhausted the terms of our current labor peace agreement. That means that it's time for things to get real. And real they are getting.

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Our existing peace treaty between management and labor is at an end. Reps for owners and players have decided to get busy and scramble to figure out how not to go to war. One would think that we had forgotten to raise the subject with these two parties over the past dozen months. Let's hope they don't get too testy.

The trade winds are dying down as we near the pre-CBA doldrums. Teams and player agents don't know what will happen to the luxury tax threshold, or the penalty amounts. Things could shut down quite a bit in a couple of days. So

Grab some Holiday Links:


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A Little Bit of Angels News

Upgrade Alert! One of the byproducts of Billy Eppler making so many signings, and running players back to Salt Lake via the DFA Express, is that the overall talent level throughout the franchise has the opportunity to ratchet upwards, one tiny step at a time. So it is with yesterday's signing of Ryan LaMarre, and rotating out Gregorio Petit. With these two moves, the Angels got younger, more versatile, and with more power. Not enough to launch the team into the playoff picture, but one more small step in that direction. If we don't get a Big Splash, then we will need a few hundred more of these. Keep up the good work, Billy. Of course, all this forces the wheels to keep churning among the Front Office clerical pool as they handle all that paperwork merry-go-round. They must all be hoping that Eppler slows down in time to allow them to take off the whole of Christmas Day, if quite convenient..........

One upgrade that was started last year, and renewed recently, is the pickup of Andrew Bailey. As FanGraphs points out, Bailey can be a surprise key for our rather flawed bullpen..........

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Everywhere In Baseball

The big news throughout baseball yesterday concerned the ongoing CBA negotiations. As we have been writing and linking for months now, the big bone of contention between the two sides are (from the union side) clearing the attic of all the drag on Free Agent mobility currently experienced via the Qualifying Offer system, versus (from the owner's perspective) instituting an international draft so that they can have some order and some way to regulate their own competitive urges. The union wants unfettered mobility and something as wide open as a free market system for their members as can be made possible. The owners want to shut down the current process that grants potential union members (international talent not yet MLB players) something as wide open as a free market system for the non-members as can be made possible. All the other issues they may take time to discuss are mere stocking stuffers. These are the two big prizes under the tree. And, for its part, the QO system sits right there at the stitches on the wounds of age-old tensions between the two sides.

And also as we have written, at the end of the day the union cares about those who ARE members. Those who are NOT members become pawns on the chess board. With the end of the current CBA now just 2 days away, things are getting serious. We linked yesterday to what can only be considered a GM (Yankees' Brian Cashman) pimping the MLB offer to undo the QO system. So MLB is now out in the open on giving ground there. yesterday we learned that the union is ready to draw the line in the sand on an International Draft, calling on Latin players - those who have come into baseball through the current open system - to join the negotiations in a show of force, to speak for future Latin players as it were.

IMHO, this is the union playing their strongest hand, forcefully. It's their way of gaining as much ground on FA mobility as can be imagined, while still keeping the owners from completely locking away International Players from future negotiations. Make no mistake, an International Draft benefits only the owners, because it creates an artificial means of protecting their finances away from the human urge of satisfying their needs. The Yankees were prevented from outbidding the Angels for the services of Mike Trout because a draft system blocked the Yankees from having any access to Trout. So it is with any draft system. It saves the owners from themselves. This means that it does not benefit the players. At. All. But "players" as we know them are the one who ARE union members, and the union cares first about their existing members. The union does not care at all about those players who will never become members, and will care to any significant degree about those players who will become members, only once they do. In the meantime, potential players make for nice union leverage. And calling in Latin success stories to advocate against a draft makes for nice theater to emphasize the union's position.......

UPDATE: a while  after I composed the above, we got this...........

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If the CBA talks are not resolved in time for a new deal, it's quite possible that baseball will not host Winter Meetings this year. That cannot be good for the Halos efforts to rebuild from last year's disaster...........

As I reported last week, the Twins have hired LaTroy Hawkins as a special assistant. Yesterday they made that official, adding fellow ex-Halo Torii Hunter and Michael Cuddyer as special Assistants as well...........

The World Baseball Classic could be toast. Unless MLB starts pulling in big bucks, this would probably be the last. Makes total sense to me, all around. The normal MLB season, including Spring Training and any Winter Ball work, is already incredibly long and taxing. This is especially true for everyday players, and those star players who also go through the playoffs. Thus, many of MLB's brightest names beg off, dropping attendance. Add to that the injury risks, the scattering of venues, the lack of great TV coverage and it's pretty simple to predict hardship for the tournament. Too bad MLB is not going to be able to leverage what amounts to a fantastic sport and stuff their wallets. But that doesn't make the game itself any less great..........

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Trade Winds

If trade rumors are slow, at least the ones we do have are juicy. Nobody is interested in obtaining a Zack Greinke?Well, on the one hand, there is that real shitty season Greinke posted in 2016. Was that a fluke? Or was it the start of some trend? On the other hand, the DBacks did the dumb thing and went in way over their heads with a $175 million contract and they need to get out of it. They aren't inviting teams to take Greinke while they retain the lion's share of his payroll. So it's their bed, and they get to lie in it. We Halo fans certainly know the feel of that mattress..........

Jerry Dipoto is trying to keep pace with Billy Eppler, doing his own roster dance up there in Seattle. We should keep a weather eye, since we might need to deal with all these new faces next year. My guess is that Dipoto knows just how poorly the Angels bats do against pitchers they have never seen before...........

Chris Carter, of all things a guy we don't need, was non-tendered by the Brewers...........

On the other hand, maybe a guy who we could parlay into a bullpen role, Nathan Eovaldi, was released by the Yankees...........But before you jump to any conclusions, Eovaldi ain't pitching anywhere in 2017, and for nobody's bullpen. TJ surgery. We got enough of those already. So this would be a 2018 project, and a lot of DL dancing.............

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The Duffle Bag

What would the Baseball Hall of Fame do if all of the BBWAA voters spent one election cycle voting for Pete Rose, and only Pete Rose? That would be fun...........But, hey, let's not start this cycle, ok? We are running out of time for some important guys, such as Tim Raines...........The Dodgers brass have barked back at the story we linked to yesterday that the franchise needs to get its debt reduced to comply with league bylaws. Yeah. Like what else are they going to say when the inner workings of MLB biz becomes all too public...........

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Halo-Oppo-ly

My 2016-2017 Winter Project: Monopoly for the Rest of Us. You, too, get to try your hand as Arte Moreno-bags. We begin with the properties.


Right there past GO lie the two least costly options. Fun and spunky, easy to acquire, capable of delivering a stable return if you manage to load up on them and  get a little lucky. Otherwise, this pair are the worst investment in the game. The other purple card, Rex before we had a Rex, is Spike Owen.

MP-02-Spike-Owen

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