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Thor’sLinks: Welcome To The New Normal

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Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Chicago White Sox
Still digging these Kole Calhoun moments...
Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images

Jeff Passan does us the favor of actually thinking through the off-season pace-of-hot-stove-play, and using his access to actually talk to principals and collate his insights. And what we should take away from this is that we might be in the new norm of Winter. He has valid points, some of which are know to us and at least one of which was a surprise to me (“Manfred University”).

If so, the change came pretty fast, too fast for us eager fans. but we adapt. We go off and find other news to bandy about. And we make up even more of our own fantasy roster moves.

Maybe that’s why my daily links bits are currently receiving 3 to 4 times the eyeball traffic as they were during the regular season (according to the stats page I get to see)? This is either because there is now a concentration of interest, with fewer distractions away from the morning coffee click...OR...there is a growing awareness throughout the baseball community that mine are the awesomest collection of newsy bits in the blogosphere. Maybe it is because of the new norm. But we all know which reality within which I choose to live.

So we are going forward with more Best-Damned-Daily-Offseason-Links:


A (Very) Little Bit of Angels News

J.C. Ramirez has been cleared to start throwing again. That should happen next week. This ongoing stem-cell thing is all good news for me. Not just because of the positive impact it is having on the LAA pitching roster, but because the missus will undergo the same therapy next month and I can have hope for better results..........

Undervalued Free Agents? And the list includes those with whom the Angels are already familiar? This makes for at least one no-brainer decision, right? Wrong. One of those - Yusmiero Petit - shall now be the undervalued bullpen asset of the Oakland A’s, and we shall have to face Petit quite a lot over the next 3 seasons..........


Everywhere In Baseball

Pace Of Play will be an issue of interest and observation in 2018 once we have a pitch clock in place. I predict an outcome where the clock will have negligible impact because the agreed upon length of time will be too large anyway. But, still, when you don’t have new news for this off-season, I suppose it’s something to do to go back and re-write the stories from last off-season. That’s what FanGraphs does here, coming to the same old conclusions that it’s the fault of pitchers and batters.............

The saddest thing about all the hoopla to return a franchise to Montreal is a desire to return to the glory that was The Montreal Expos. Look at the historical depth chart on this review. Amazing. But those players weer not the product of the city. They were the product of an impressive scouting/drafting/development organization that excelled at finding those guys, signing those guys, and working those guys up to the Big League. And all that brain trust was working at the cream level of Baseball. If you want to replicate the Expos in this day and age, you don’t need a Montreal. you need an institutional miracle..........

Ok, so lets peel off another layer of this WAR onion. The Ringer dives deep, wrapped around an argument being made by Bill James. I have linked to a few of the articles referenced, and have written that I side with Dave Cameron of FanGraphs (read the article and you will get to it all). I am not completely qualified to understand all that James is arguing, and I absolutely do agree that there should be a greater separation between the 2017 seasons of Aaron Judge and Jose Altuve, but it feels like it is in the same vein as “how valuable can a guy be if his team only wins 60 games?” And I am left to wonder what would be everybody’s argument-counter argument had Mike Trout not injured himself and ended up with a 12 WAR season on a .500 ball club?..........

Wow. This ESPN piece goes a very long way of trying to convince us that Jerry Dipoto has had a plan up in Seattle all along, and all he needs is the final component of landing a mega-star. Instead, what we get is a long list of things that Dipoto has done to go nowhere, if not backward, and getting a mega-star would bail him out..........

I would think that the slow player market this off-season would have allowed more daily writers than just little ol’ me to reflect on the ongoing managerial search circus in the Bronx. Let me be among the first to write, though, that this approach is surely a credit to the spirit of The Selig Rule..........


Hot Stove

Jose Abreu is potentially on the trade block. For those of you who may have wondered why anybody worries about the ranking of the LAA farm system, and for those of you who think that Albert Pujols’ contract should be ignored because he is still an RBI machine, today is the day for you. Because both of those things are the reasons that Billy Eppler has no chance to make a major upgrade of production at 1B for controlled cost value by jumping into this opportunity for an Abreu...........

Oh, and for those same reasons, Eppler has little chance in trading for a Manny Machado, even when there might be this unique window of opportunity.........

For those who need a 1B and miss out on Abreu, they might have a shot at a Matt Adams, Not Eppler, though. Adams would not be an upgrade over C.J. Cron............

Ohtani Focus: I would think that a Front Office failure to even bother to respond to the survey from Ohtani’s agent would be a prime reason for an owner to begin the search for a new GM...........I linked to Scott Boras proclaiming that the current systems is gonna screw Ohtani. I link today to Grant Brisbee agreeing with Boras. But Brisbee makes the most important point: “This is a story about millions that were willingly given up by a player who has already received millions and will still get even more millions.“ Ohtani is not an underprivileged and downtrodden soul, and it was Ohtani himself who chose to bypass career earnings optimization and take a haircut by coming over now..........Ohtani Mania will not be much of thing if he lands in Cincinnati. But if he lands in New York or LA or Chicago or Washington, look the hell out..........

Stanton Focus: yesterday I wrote that Jeter should not expect any franchise to be dumb enough to buy the Marlins out of the burden of their own making that they have created in the Giancarlo Stanton contract. Maybe I was wrong. Keep in mind that we already had a link about the Giants offering up Joe Panik and prospect Tyler Beede for Stanton and Dee Gordon. So would this be SFG offering Panik and Beede in exchange for taking on all the are left of BOTH the Stanton and Gordon contracts?..........

If Stanton does not work out for the Giants, they have a Plan B in the works. The resurgent Andrew McCutcheon. If nothing else, letting this news drip out sends a shot across the bow of the Marlins that the Giants are willing to turn elsewhere rather than be milked further than they already appear to be being milked..........


The Duffle Bag

Dear Jason Kipnis. I am happy you had fun with Nature. But, next time, perhaps a little pre-education would be in order?............Aaron Judge got more votes for Mayor of New York City than did any other MLB player. Something for the dinosaur MSM voters to think about next season when casting their MVP ballots..........Never forget that baseball players might make for heroics on the field, but that does not mean they are heroes off of it. I’m looking at you, Bret Boone..........The Blue Jays will have a special ceremony for Roy Halladay on Opening Day 2018.