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MondoLinks: It’s Sho Business in LA!

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Somebody start a pool on what day a Shohei Ohtani banner appears at Angels Stadium!

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Introduce Shohei Ohtani
It’s Sho Time!
Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

Have you ever had one of those mornings when everything just goes perfect? Like, you wake up in the morning on time without an alarm, then step on the scale and find out that you lost 20 pounds while sleeping. You look back at your bed and see your significant other lost deep in comfortable sleep and, oddly, had not realized before that moment how much they look like that Hollywood starlet you always secretly lusted for.

You go downstairs and find that the dogs haven’t destroyed anything overnight and are happy to see you, having fed and watered themselves and scooped up all their own poop. And they cooked your breakfast.

Your overnight Inbox is void of anything urgent, but there is a note of thanks from your boss informing you that a large PO has come in, which will earn you a huge commission. For that you are getting a fantastic year-end bonus. And a raise. And a company car. And the car is a 7-series BMW.

But then your phone buzzes and you check it and read a news alert that something amazing has happened in sports, resulting in the souls of every Mariners fan in existence having been ripped directly out their nostrils and leaving them as the empty, bitter, shells of ashen hate that they are at the core.

And just like that, none of that other stuff that had happened earlier matters anymore. By way of contrast, your day has finally turned towards the positive!

Yeah. I know. I haven’t had one of the glorious days for a long time now, either. Not since, well, this past Friday. That means we are due - no, long overdue - for another. Thankfully for us, we have Billy Eppler on our side and the Winter Meetings have begun. We might get such a break as early as today.

Have some Living-The-Dream-Offseason-Links:


A Little Bit of Angels News

There is so much Shohei Ohtani stuff we could go on forever. Lets just burn through a summary of the very best. And nothing tops this LA-based sports journalist but Mariners-homer Mina Kimes when she learns of Ohtani picking the Angels over her Mariners. (Yeah, go ahead and laugh about journalistic integrity and reporter neutrality. It’s kind of refreshing to see her as just another Seattle poser.)............Jon Daniels of the Rangers handled losing out on Ohtani with far more class, and even some humor..........For his part, Ohtani’s decision knocked Eppler onto his butt in his office..........And Halo players went nuts..........Martin Maldonado went well beyond nuts. He went and asked for Ohtani video so that he can immediately start learning his new battery-mate. That’s brilliant..........I am similarly stunned to learn that Ohtani really clicked with the Angels as a new home family after being forced to tour the stadium..........Your takeaway from this summary is that Ohtani is so promising, merely the prospect of his arrival has THE Albert Pujols committing to be healthy enough to get out of Shohei’s way at DH...........And Shohei had a huge impact on Las Vegas over the weekend, too..........But, to be clear, this is still Mike Trout’s team. And Mike did take some important time out of being a victim to last-minute bridal wedding chaos in order to Facetime with Ohtani and make a critical impression, player to player, in the recruiting window..........Now it’s your turn to come up with a nickname for Ohtani..........

Seattle fans like to convince themselves that they have the strongest ties to Japanese baseball, due to their concentration of Japanese-Americans. Throughout all of Seattle there are approximately 9,000 citizens of Japanese descent. That’s nearly 2% of their overall population. But, hell, in Irvine alone there are 5,000 Japanese-Americans. That’s 2.3% of just Irvine. There are enough Japanese-Americans within a 45-minutes drive to fill up Angels Stadium 4 times over every game. And that’s not to mention any tourist surge to OC. And, boy, are those folks thrilled!..........

And as if the grapes of MLB-loserville wrath were not sour enough, We have the cloud of formal investigations into the Ohtani ‘process’ with which to deal. It should be all that unexpected considering that baseball executives like to have things go through the system the way they built it, where they dominate the balance of power. And they also don’t like to lose out on their perceived entitlements, which a player of Ohtani’s potential surely represents..........

The math behind adding Ohtani to the LAA outlook for 2018 is going to be heavily flavored by 2017 bias. That’s why you can take an 81-win team, add a guy who was a 10.4 WAR player in 2016, and project out to an 82-win season. This is how FanGrpahs quotes NEIFI...........What’s intriguing is how the matchups versus Houston are swinging in our direction. LAA is better at LF, CF, SS, C and DH than the Astros. We are a couple of Wins behind the Astros at 1B/LF (although a recovery by Calhoun and some further aging by Josh Reddick might shrink that). They eat us alive at 2B & 3B but some health luck and Ohtani should make our rotations more equitable (Ohtani immediately becomes our #1 starter?). And I trust Eppler to continue to do a better job at bullpen building than the Astros seem to do. Looking at it that way, I just don’t see a 20-win difference there. So, yeah, the Angels are not an AL West favorite but certainly a contender..........Unless they are not..........

Sports Illustrated, in covering the Ohtani decision, just can’t shake the notion of Mike Trout being traded away to some favorite team of theirs. That’s the lens through which they see a Shohei Ohtani as being the plus for Eppler, because he no longer has to think about trading Trout..........

Albert Pujols might want to start hunting for a nice office to move into in Anaheim..........

And now we are must-see-TV: “The Angels are instantly fun. We’ll see if they’re good, but considering the salary hell they were in just a short time ago, this is one amazing tunaround.”..........


Everywhere In Baseball

Jack Morris and Alan Trammel were voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by The Modern Era Committee. Jack Morris “yes” but Ted Simmons and Marvin Miller “no”? And a Lou Whitaker still “not even getting daylight”? That’s a clown ballot, bro..........

We already got a lot of links to how bitter the Yankees fans and media were after learning how fast that Ohtani eliminated them off his selection board. Well, go look at how The Best Fans In Baseball reacted when they learned that Stanton was not going to allow himself to be traded to St. Louis.............That make this vote on Yankees versus Cardinals even more fun..........

The fun stuff to watch is back up there in Seattle. Jerry Dipoto gutted his farm system.....and is going to park a second baseman in the outfield as his centerfielder......But now he has a heck of a lot of money to sign 16-year olds out of Latin America. Maybe a few of them will blossom before his current roster lands in wheelchairs............


Hot Stove

Giancarlo Stanton agreed to move to the Yankees...........On paper this looks murderous........... Among fan bases that either (A) really hate and fear the Yankees or (B) lost out on Stanton, this all smells like tinfoil hat time..........

The Yankees? Yeah, just being the Yankees. Because they can..........Most of Stanton’s power lays to left field, but it is going to be interesting to watch how many of his right-field fly outs turn into home runs in Yankee Stadium..........It could project to absolute terror..........

And, as happened after previous World Series titles, the hand-wringing of the exodus of top-tier talent out of Miami resumes..........I have a slightly different take on this, though. If Jeffery Loria had simply made Stanton a Qualifying Offer back in 2014/2015, he would have lost Stanton and gotten back one draft choice. Instead, he committed $30 million in salary and got 3 years worth of MVP-caliber production out of Stanton. And the Marlins get back a multiple prospects out of a stocked farm system, a starting 2B worth trading for even more prospects, and a $30 million residual obligation that will run out over 10 years. That’s actually a pretty smart way to buck the QO system. So while some want to redirect anger and say blame Loria instead of Derek Jeter, I’m thinking that Loria ain’t so much to ‘blame’ here in the first place.........

Miami got a bucketload of salary relief, plus Starlin Castro, plus some prospects. I am wondering how the Stanton payroll overhead might now impact the Bryce Harper/Manny Machado market next offseason. But I am even more intrigued at the idea that Starlin Castro, a damned fine and proven 2B, has just been uncorked out of the Yankees franchise. We already see the Mets having similar thoughts.............

One team that needs to get real y busy this week would be the Red Sox. They are breathing some serious trail dust right about now..........

And the Cardinals, too. They, along with the Giants, are in danger of slipping into the realm of irrelevant..........


The Duffle Bag

At least Seattle has the MLS Cup Championship...not!.............This is how an Astros window can start to close. Their key players will start to cost them money lots and lots of money............The Ohtani media barrage hit hard Saturday. 1500 media credentials were issued..........1501 if you count steelgolf..........Baltimore wasn’t eliminated from the Ohtani sweepstakes. They dropped out. Because they don’t like paying posting fees?. Seems like the Yankees just paid the Marlins a “$250MM posting fee”. Was Baltimore uninterested in Stanton, too?...................