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MondoLinks: October arrives

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The final game is in the books. Lessons have been learned. Decisions await. But, first, some playoff baseball.

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Well, here we are. 6 months away from LAA baseball again. A few teams are going to be distracted over the next few weeks, so we have a chance to get a jump on them and plan for the work this Winter. There are roster decisions to be made, and some will be made for us. We have a full slate of guys who turn Free Agents pretty quick, other teams might find them handy, and those kinds of things are beyond the control of Billy Eppler. The first such thing is the Justin Upton decision. He is already thinking about it. Even as you read this. And he only has been now and 3 days after the World Series to figure it out. But it's his to figure out.

The things that Eppler DOES control, are still fluid. Pitching staffs are what GM's impact the most, and what does Eppler truly know about staff health and what it will be come March? I don't envy him.

One thing we DO envy, though, is Eppler's tiny window of financial opportunity that has cracked open, effective right frikkin' now. Arte's accountants have sent Josh Hamilton his absolute final baseball player paycheck. That money is now Eppler's to work with. Time to see what the guy is really made of.

Enjoy these Ding-Dong-The-Hambone's-Gone Links:


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A Little Bit of Angels News

2017, a quick recap...........

Many within the Angels organization took a moment to say thanks, and goodbye for the time being.....C.J. Cron......Mike Trout.....Tyler Skaggs.....Parker Bridwell......Martin Maldonado......The Front Office......The Front Office PR department.....Victor Rojas.....

And while checking the LAA Front Office PR department, and here is their tribute to those who cover the Angels daily, such as the ones here on the HH masthead...........

Back to business. Mike Scioscia believes that things are closing between where the Angels are, and where they need to be. I'm not sure if the hurdle Sosh sees in front of him is the same one we see. Because from where this writer sits, the 21 games behind first place in the AL West in 2017 looks very much like the 21 games they finished out in 2016, and those are a damned site worse than the 3 games out they finished in 2015, which was still worse than the Division flag they won in 2014...........

And for those of you who were thinking that the horrible season of Albert Pujols might have been a wake up call for Scioscia and Pujols, uh, not. Sosh is already penciling him at the cleanup spot for 2018, and he is doing so convinced that this is still a perfectly grand idea..........We, of course, know this to be a real problem. Hell, everybody else sees it to be a real problem...........

Pujols, himself, is living in a world of denial............

Bud Norris' agent comes out in defense of the Angels and the decision to start him instead of use him as a reliever, costing Norris $500,000 in bonus money. Norris' agent says that it was Norris' idea, to help out the team. The plan is that this makes Norris look much more valuable on the FA market this winter, because he has proven to be so versatile. He may be right. FA season and FA money are always crazy.............

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Everywhere In Baseball

It's October Baseball. To kick things off, here are the broadcast schedules. The important thing is that the Wild Card games are tomorrow and Wednesday...........

Oh Twins and Twins beat writers, chill the hell out and quit your whining. You are in the playoffs. One game after everybody is mailing stuff in is not going to outweigh what should be the skills of your own players and coaching skills.............

The Angels get the #17 spot in the June 2018 draft. I am amazed that the Astros don't have yet another #1 pick, or that the Cardinals are not getting some form of affirmative action out of the MLB Front Office and granting them 2 or 3 first round picks.............

Something to think about. Players hate losing. It wears on them. Even great players. Listen to Giancarlo Stanton. Pay attention, Arte, you have 3 years left on Mike Trout's contract............

Your 2017 Stat leaders. Yes, Mike Trout does make some appearances after all...........

Baseball got a little bit slower this season. We should consider blaming Instant Replay..........

Walk up music is a big deal. And to think that just a few years ago it was silence, interspersed with organ music..........

You go, MLB. Get yourself busy on opening up the sport as a career opportunity for more people.............

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The Duffle Bag

Other teams get lucky in great ways. They are in the playoffs. The Angels get lucky too. This way............Terry Collins finally calls it quits. He started way back in 1994 and was the Anaheim Angels for 3 seasons...........With Terry Collins gone, there are very few managers 62 years old, or older. But rest easy. Mike Scioscia is only 58. So why worry about an extension?..........Interesting factoid I missed about 2017. No MLB pitcher reached made it past 18 Wins. None. This really does show a bullpen revolution in progress...........

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2017 IBWAA Awards Voting

As one who is privileged to lose astronomical amounts of time in the loving labor of providing your morning entertainment, I (as are others here on the masthead) am a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America. Not as formal as that fancy name, and nowhere near as recognized as that other baseball writers thingy. But, nonetheless, it gives me the chance to pretend to be serious. So, as serious as I have time to be, here are my 2017 awards ballot results and reasoning. We start with Manager of the Year: (This is, truthfully, that which I posted last week)...........

My vote for American League Manager of the Year is Mike Scioscia. Not because he is the manager of my favorite team. And not because my favorite team corners most of my attention and interest. I believe in my choice for the following reasons.

- This was the last American League team to get eliminated from the playoffs, just getting bumped with a few days to go. It was not supposed to be this way. Sure, overall the team was supposed to end up with the record achieved, but the very late season collapse was the unexpected statistical anomaly. Had that not happened, the anomaly would have been that bulk of the season that ran for months beforehand. And by the time September arrived, the success was no longer considered an anomaly, but a miracle.

- It was a team that, with everything running on all cylinders, was not expected to end up this high in the League. It was expected to end at the other end of the spectrum completely. And then 5 of the 8 cylinders blew up and they STILL bested a lot of teams that were considered superior.

- Sure, there was a LOT of mediocrity in the AL this year, but that just adds to Sosh’s case. That’s a lot of teams whose managers did WORSE than expected, with MORE expected resources available. For the most part, the few teams that finished above the Angels were all the ones that started with all the talent advantages, and held on to their health. No extra credit for them. Except for the Twins. Paul Molitor I have 2nd place, behind Sosh, because he had far less adversity to overcome and ended up about the same, in a pretty shitty Division.

- Albert Pujols did not carry this team.

- Mike Trout missed 25% of the season, and took another 15% (September) off. He did not carry this team.

- Andrelton Simmons was the team MVP, and was a monster, but even at his level he faded in September and only carried the team for a couple of weeks.

- The starting rotation did not carry this team.

- The offense did not carry this team.

- The bullpen carried this team all the way to September, and bullpen usage was probably the strongest indicator of the finger of Sosh at play. His BP management this season had noteworthy failures, but for the vast majority of games it was progressive, insightful, timely and successful. And all without blowing out his BP health.

Whether I adore him or not, I see Sosh as being the most deserving manager out of all of them in the AL for what he was able to do using what he had with which to work.


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