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Thor’sLinks: 2B or not 2B? That is the Kinsler

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Eppler licks up Ian Kinsler to plug second base. Halos are the Killer D’s.

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

Welp, the massive hole in 2B has been filled, for a year at least. Billy Eppler marched down the field from the 50 yard line and kicked himself a field goal. Sure, there is a lot of room for disagreement here, but the easiest list for me to reference would be the official MLB forecast. And MLB (updated with Shohei Ohtani as everybody’s #1) had the guys Eppler sent to Detroit - OF Troy Montgomery at #20 and RHP Wilkel Hernandez at #24. So Eppler didn’t get a Jose Altuve or Jose Ramirez, but he didn’t lose a Top 10 guy, either. The Detroit media is not overly excited.

I’m thinking that we just upgraded 2B from a Johnny Giavotella to a Kole Calhoun. And think about this: the group of Maldonado/Simmons/Kinsler/Trout yielded a bWAR of 17.6 in 2016. Sure, Trout and Kinsler were down but Simmons and Maldy were up. Anyway, compare that to the 20.8 of the current World Champs (McCann/Correa/Altuve/Springer). A full season of Trout and a bounce back by Kinsler and we got ourselves a competitive crew here!

Although, if Jim Bowden is similarly impressed maybe I need to rethink this. However, when I add it up the LAA “up the middle” produced a total of 40.6 FanGraphs Defensive Runs Above Average (DEF). I can’t find any other MLB group that comes close, in either League. The closest I could find was Cincinnati, at 31.9. Then I surveyed the rest and couldn’t see any prospects, and turned GA. Leaving it at that, The Halos up the middle are now The Killer D’s.

So if this is OK with Justin Upton, and it is, and if this is OK with FanGraphs, and it is, and we are the only one of the 10 teams on his no-trade list that Kinsler was willing to waive his no-clause for (and it was, which I suppose makes us his 20th most favorite team), then it’s OK with me too.

Have some Watch-What-Happens-With-3B-Next-Offseason-Links:


A Little Bit of Angels News

Ohtani porn: In ranking the very best rookie seasons of Japanese players coming to MLB, you should be drooling at how well Ohtani’s promise stacks up against each of the pitchers...AND...each of the position players..............

Shohei Ohtani has made Mike Scioscia a very popular fella all of a sudden...........

I already linked once to how it is that Ohtani is messing up the code logic for Fantasy software developers. Here is more of that spaghetti. If you are a player, you should expect some serious controls.........

Mike Scioscia sees Ohtani as an asset worthy of “creativity”. Would that be creative as in using Baseball’s best leadoff hitter in the leadoff spot? Or as creative as using a replacement for his slowest baserunner so that he is lined up to score a season-saving run in a critical moment on a day that no longer exists? Nah. Let’s not get crazy or anything..........


Everywhere In Baseball

It’s now been 10 years since The Mitchell Report was released, throwing shade in every direction with the notable exceptions of the Red Sox (which employed the very George J. Mitchell who acted as primary researcher and author) and the Brewers (once owned by Commissioner Selig).............

Bob Costas wins this years Ford Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame. I am more surprised that it took this long. Costas is right up their alley. Literally. He was born in New York.........

We might need to pivot to the next offseason soon. With Giancarlo Stanton now with the Yankees, the Yankees might be falling off the board as a leader for a Bryce Harper. And if Manny Machado gets traded to a reasonable contender, we might see two of the big franchises walking away from Scott Boras’ coming out party. So it should come as no surprise that Boras is floating the news now that the Nationals have already started discussions about a new contract for Harper. It’s a great way to keep Harper in the news, and track the national feedback.............

52 of Aaron Judge’s 154 hits last season were home runs. That goes a long way towards pumping up Judge’s OBP to .422, highest on the team. As a reward, Buster Olney thinks Judge needs to bat leadoff..........

It’s Rule 5 Draft Day, and there are players out there that make a person go Hmmm.....The White Sox have reasons to worry.....The Twins have reasons to worry.....The Blue Jays have reasons to worry.....The Astros have reasons to worry.....and on it goes. I’m actually looking forward to the day when the Angels lose more than one guy. That will be the day I stop worrying about our farm..........

I don’t think we paid enough attention to this. Brian Shaw hit the Free Agent market this year, signing with the Rockies. It’s a 3-year deal for $27MM, for an absolute workhorse who eats innings and pitches well. He would have been a great add in Anaheim..........


Hot Stove

Here is your Angels in on Todd Frazier rumor..........And here is your Angels in on Chase Headley rumor..........

Whatever it is, Billy Eppler is “at the 50 [yard line] and [he has] the ball.” Meaning that he is within striking distance of scoring the trade he desires next, but still has work to do. Sticking with football metaphors, is Billy the kind of guy who punts from the 30 and foregoes the field goal?..........And if Eppler has a deal close at hand, does Jeff Fletcher know a thing or two about assets Eppler is putting up for sale?..........

The Red Sox are overdue for a Big Splash. And J.D. Martinez was in Florida to sell his wares. So, why the hell not?..........And Boras is there to work the spin............

Scott Boras has tabbed the Miami franchise as a pawn shop. He’s probably correct. Yesterday they sold off Marcell Ozuna, and then word came that they are looking to trade Christian Yelich next. But then also came word that they want to hold onto Yelich...........

As I just noted, the Marlins sold Marcell Ozuna...to the Cardinals. Can the Cannot-Afford-Albert Cards afford to go after Manny Machado next?..........

The Indians are looking at Logan Morrison as their Plan B should they not swing the deal for Carlos Santana. This is how prices rise in the marketplace, folks..........

Manny Machado is one incredibly popular dude. I would suggest that this is a clue that the guy is probably a pretty good player..........

Jerry Dipoto, the mad merchant of baseball, yesterday managed to dump some of his international pool rights for pitching depth...........I need a spreadsheet to figure out the net of all the net of all the trades Dipoto has made the past week and a half around pool money...........

More Scott Boras, working the spin to keep Jake Arrieta at top of mind, especially with the Cubs’ brass..........

Joe Smith is rapidly becoming the most well-traveled player in Baseball. In 17 months he has been a Halo, a Cub, a Blue Jay, and Indian and now an Astro..........


The Duffle Bag

I am a little bit late to the game here, but Happy Hanukkah to our Hebrew baseball families! (h/t UniWatch).............I wonder if the upcoming Brewers mini bullpen car giveaway comes with its own remote app, and full HD video?..........Billy Martin was an odd character of modern baseball. An upcoming documentary takes a closer look..........Oh wow. The Winter Meetings have a show floor. With merch and swag, even. I can do that. I do it all the time. And I know they use my company’s shit. I need to swing something here before I retire!...........