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TuesdoLinks: Tis a fowl week

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The Best Damned Daily Baseball Links don’t take holidays!

Texas Rangers v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

It’s not a good week for lots of fun news, and some news is pretty harsh (looking at you, Atlanta). But we make do with what we can.

Stuff yourselves with some spicy Offseason-Links:


A Little Bit of Angels News

With the Rule 5 deadline being yesterday afternoon (for us here on the West Coast), we remained vigilant on behalf of our top prospects (relative, obviously, to what might constitute “top prospects” in the world where the big dogs hunt). That, instead of minding our paying gigs. And the results were that Billy Eppler chose to add to the 40-man, and thus protect from the Rule 5 Draft, Michael Hermosillo, Jaime Barria, Jesus Castillo and Jake Jewell. All you other guys that have been around for a while, well, good luck in the Draft..........

In a roundup of pitchers who deserved better results in 2016, the entry of Cam Bedrosian has me a little flummoxed. This is one where the referenced stats tend to defy the eyeball test.........

Good news/bad news. In a more perfect world. Mike Moustakas would go to the Mets and remove the distraction from Billy Eppler. But it’s not a more perfect world, and Moustakas’ re-entry from Kansas City orbit appears most likely to impact in Anaheim..........

Spring schedules are up. Angels open against Oakland on February 23rd..........


Everywhere In Baseball

With your daily Ohtani news, now we know why Rob Manfred was not worried about the MLBPA deadline set for yesterday over the new posting system. He knew that the MLBPA was rather spineless. Reaching the deadline, it was the MLBPA that blinked, granting just one more day. And this time they really really really mean it. Or they will hold their breath until they turn blue!.........

Over in Braves land, the punishment suspense builds. We were expecting punishment announcements yesterday, but now we are hearing today or tomorrow. And, today MLB will be having a chat with some of the international signees. “Major League Baseball has informed several Braves prospects that they will meet with them on Tuesday afternoon, according to multiple sources. The players will either meet with league officials in person in the Dominican Republic or be informed of what's happening by phone.“.........

The hardest part about being a baseball play-by-play announcer is that, at any moment, some miracle of history might happen and the next 3 seconds of your craft will be immortalized everywhere. It’s a harsh responsibility, and only the few very good ones rise to the challenge.........

Hall of Fame ballots for the class of 2018 went out yesterday. The full list is here. For us, the most important name remains Vlad Guerrero, making his second appearance. With a stuffed ballot, it was never expected that Vlad would be a first-ballot HoF’er, so this is his first reasonable chance to get elected. The ballot is still packed, though, and packed with worthy dudes (Chipper Jones, Jim Thome and Omar Vizquel being the top guys added for the first time this year, and Roy Halladay not being eligible due to HoF ballot requirements). And the voters have all kinds of agendas and demons to deal with. So maybe it take Vlad another year or two...........

HoF dinosaurs have overridden the wishes of the BBWAA, who had voted overwhelmingly to have the HoF ballots made public. But then, never forget, the HoF is it’s own beast..........

MSM dinosaur Mike Lupica wants to lobby his peers to put in a vote for Mike Mussina. Mussina, indeed, had a great career and he does rank well against the HoF standard for pitchers. He might not have had the peak of others, but he was extraordinarily steady when he was extraordinarily good. It’s a worthy thought. But not for the dinosaur reasons that Lupica leads with: WINS, a big contract, and pitching in the AL East (because the AL East must, as the center of the universe, be the highest standard of all..............

And make no mistake, the dinosaurs of the baseball MSM world are running fast for their survival and relevance from the asteroid that was the arrival-in-full of advanced analytics. See how the Nats flipped from being archaic to fully staffed and operational in modern information R&D. Scribes may wish to swim in the glow of warm and fuzzy memories, but their’s is no longer the way that Baseball operates and succeeds.........By the way, in that same link there is a quick interview with Billy Eppler which reveals that he is more focused on regaining ground in the international market through volume rather than through top-dollar signees. I’m not the expert there, but that sounds more like hope that he gets lucky with scraps, while appeasing outside observers by catching up on the sheer number after years of neglect. (I am also admittedly biased in the direction of disbelief, since I whine that LAA missed out entirely on the once-in-a-lifetime Cuban wave AND now I am not seeing any more large populations of Latin superstar prospects AND we are now in a new world of international signing rules.).........

The Yankees continue their crowdsourcing of a new managerial choice..........The cattle call has reached out to the west coast, drawing an interview with Dodgers’ third base coach Chris Woodward..........But this is all Ok. It’s not as if taking a huge length of time to land a manager needs to have a fatal outcome. Once upon a time Oakland took forever, too, and that worked out well enough. (Fair warning! that last link is a long one.).........

This is also a long one, and dives deep behind the curtain of where we are with contemporary baseball analytics, but it’s worth a read. It’s a rebuttal from FanGraphs against a take-down of WAR emphasis by none other than Bill James himself. My TL;DR take would sum up as Old Bill is becoming a fossil who is starting to believe in Wins..........

Here is an interesting observation: the pivot from text to video in sports coverage is not driven by content consumer demand, but by advertiser demand. That makes a hell of a lot of sense to me. We have already linked to how online advertising is a fraud that has artificially propped up web sites for ages, and is only now starting to become a big deal in ad rate pullback. But video ads are still considered highly effective, and the technology of presenting video content can mandate that ad-to-eyeball process. So if you want to remain in the sports content biz, a pivot to video may ultimately prove to be inevitable..........

As Terry Collins reviews a moment of his history when a pitching decision he made did not end well, in the most critical of situations, it’s important to take away the understanding that baseball is a game of failure, where failure happens the majority of time for all players regardless of roles. Sometimes a guy just manages to get wood on the best slider of your best pitcher. As with Matt Harvey in the 2015 World Series. And as with Donnie Moore in the 1986 ALCS..........

This is a cool little story about a young Japanese pitcher who dominated MLB All-Stars so badly that he helped launch the pro baseball circuit in Japan just to feature him. Their version of the Cy Young Award is named after him. I park this up here rather than down in The Duffle Bag because I want to call out that Shohei Ohtani was ineligible to win that Award because his batting cut into his ability to pitch enough innings to qualify. It seems as though we already have evidence where playing the dual role of starting pitcher and daily batter forces some sacrifices.........


Hot Stove

The GM meetings are over. Things should be a tad slow this week, what with the major holiday and all, but then things typically start accelerating soon thereafter. And once the dam cracks, it tends to burst. We should see the largest flurry of activity over the next 6 weeks. And that flurry might actually go down like this..........

Jake Arrieta to...Milwaukee? Moving within the division is going to end up haunting somebody, all depending on whether Arrieta still has his mojo..........

Wherever Giancarlo Stanton lands, it will be a major impact on the landing teams’ luxury tax balancing act..........By the way, I missed this point yesterday: the Giants’ trade offer to Miami is asking not only for Stanton, but also for Dee Gordon. That Giants offer looks kinda underwhelming to me.........

The Mets might take Ian Kinsler off your radar, whether that is good news or bad...........


The Duffle Bag

Prince Fielder seems to be surviving his career-ending neck injury just fine.........Best list of players at the best time of year. the news is slow, so why not a list of the best players in history with porn star names?..........MLB and New Era have released the 2018 Spring Training caps. Ours looks an awful lot like, uh, ours..............Manny Machado moved from 3B to SS? Aren’t those kinds of moves supposed to go the other way around?..........Ah, Yankee fans. This group of players has yet to win anything, and already the fan base is talking as if a new dynasty is in motion. Maybe wait until the “Cubs dynasty” and the “Astros dynasty” and “Dodgers dynasty” have peaked?..........

OT: Atlanta blew up a perfectly good indoor stadium yesterday. But The Weather Channel got the David Copperfield version..........

Also OT: Maybe we are seeing the rise of the Information Age Personality Boom, or something. I cannot ever recall such a rapid fire succession of well-known peoples - both famous and infamous - dying at practically the same time. Within one news cycle (because it was a weekend) it has been Malcolm Young, then Charles Manson, then Mel Tillis, then Jana Novatna, then Terry Glenn, then Warren Moore, then Della Reese. (And, yes, I do know that Lil peep also died, but that was a tad more than one news cycle.)