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HumpLinks: Yo! Da Links Man Returns!

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Thanks for doing a great job of crowd-sourcing Links. We will be back at it next week.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Introduce Shohei Ohtani
It’s LAA Big Dog week, and today it’s Mike Scioscia, Manager.
Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

Hello, I am back! The missus and I had a fantastic weekend thankyouverymuch. Many great stories to be told over beers, but completely OT around here. One thing I will share, however, is that we did see The Last Jedi. No spoilers from other than I had fun. But, then, I am not emotionally vested in my own mandate for some Star Wars canon, so what do I know?

Oh, I will say this: If I were ever to go to war, I would vote Rian Johnson over to the other side. In any universe over which he does not have complete control, his inability to figure out how to use his assets properly in battle would get us all killed.

But have a taste of Welcome-Me-Back-Offseason-Links:


A Little Bit of Angels News

I did browse the crowd-sourced links days so I don’t want to double up on old news too much. I do want to share my excitement for those pretty cool new video boards being installed that y’all talked about..........

A tiny taste of Trout Porn: yeah, in the world of Fantasy drafts - especially when done by experts and not MFY fanboys - Mike Trout is merely THE most desirable player around which to build any team..........

On the other hand, want to read yet another article based on the notion that the Angels have been wasting Trout? At least, in this case, Sam Miller shares some of the blame..........

The Angels have a couple of players who rank as the very best in Baseball. And yet, they are so good that even though they are highly rated, they are still underrated. Take it away, Mike Trout and Andrelton Simmons.........


Everywhere In Baseball

Derek Jeter held a town hall with fans. Derek Jeter got blown up. He didn’t do himself any favors with lines such as “I can’t sit here and say trust me“, “I don’t expect you to be happy“...........I like the way that Jeter claims that the organization has a plan, but it’s a plan without any timeline. Never seen one of those. I wish I got to work that way. “Yes, boss, I absolutely DO have a plan on how I am going to get that job done. No boss, I don’t have any intention on committing to when the plan will be complete. Maybe next week, maybe next decade. Thanks for the paycheck.”.....And Jeets was asked again and again why not simply add pitching rather than trade away his prize talent. He challenged the interrogators to name the pitchers that should have been added, apparently unaware that Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta, Masahiro Tanaka, Wade Davis, Lance Lynn, Greg Holland, Alex Cobb, and even C.C. Sabathia started the offseason as Free Agents..........By the way, for those of you still confused about the decision structure in Miami, you will find in the article that Jeter was quoted as saying that he had “final approval” on all roster decisions...........

This got a link yesterday but not enough actual reading. It deserves the reading. Here is the part that you need to take away from the article: StatCast is taking over data gathering and input into sabermetric analysis, but StatCast is a black box process that is being changed too much by marketing opportunities and involving far too little dialog and transparency with the open market of baseball data sciences. Most of us live in the orbit where we research and regurgitate the work of actual statistical analysts. But we trust that those analysts are working with public data using peer-reviewed processes. StatCast is threatening to break that, as the title proclaims.........

Stephen Strasburg blames the ASG on his 2017 health woes. Because it threw off his delicate routine. And I am like - barf - what the hell you gonna do if your Nationals actually win a couple of playoff series, dude???.........

Buster Olney, is still living the Free Agent world of 2005..........Let’s show you a better look at what is actually going on, because you are smarter than Buster Olney and I trust that you will remember this when you wake up in the morning..........

Olney was having a good day, though, He then went on to vote for Mike Moustakas landing with the Yankees or Cards (with the Orioles sandwiched in between). No Phillies or Mets, Buster? Moose would be an upgrade in those places. And, for the record, Moose would be a downgrade (in terms of fWAR) from the Todd Frazier that the Yankees just let walk off into free agency..........

The Cardinals must have their own GM, however, as they seem more interested in making a run at Josh Donaldson, a guy who is just slightly better than Moustakas. Slightly. As in “duh” slightly...........

Usually we have to wait until February before we start hearing about stupid ways that baseball players get injured in the offseason. So thank you Martin Perez for filling up the holiday slow news days..........

Minor League Baseball players are so screwed. And the end game here, which should happen before I die, will probably be some kind of work stoppage, which would cripple MLB rosters if it happened during a season, since MLB teams have 15 minor league players they need to keep sharp at all times. When that day comes, it will be the fault of those in positions of power today.........Non-Buster analysts know what’s going on..........

I know this was already linked this week, but I want to keep linking it as it can change often. But, yeah, it is looking good for Vlad to make the Hall of Fame..........And lobbying still goes on for HoF votes. (As if enough voters actually read FanGraphs, or have still not mailed in their ballot)............

Wasn’t it just a year ago that we were hearing about the amazing condition of Noah Syndergaard? How all that added strength conditioning had made him a super-human pitcher? The kind of super-human pitcher that would quickly break down and lose his season and blame it all on being so super-human? So what’s the story this year that makes him be in such prime pitching shape? An offseason of Big Macs and milkshakes?..........


Hot Stove

You already know all about the Dodgers-Braves salary swap over the weekend. I caught that under some headline of some sort of “mega deal” and then read it, exiting with the wonder as to what all the excitement was about? The more intriguing take is this observation on how advanced we baseball fans have become as an audience for Front Office news (the High Heat Stats guy being one unworthy exception). First there is a smackdown of Bill ‘dipwad’ Plaschke, who: “...wrote a ‘relax, fans, the trade makes more sense than you think’ column the next day, but it wasn't necessary and even felt a little dated, as if we still lived in a time when newspaper columnists had to decipher and interpret the otherwise inscrutable movements of those wise souls in the front office genius towers. Fans of both teams got it.“ But the bigger message is that Front Offices should be cognizant of the more sophisticated modern fan base, that does not need instant gratification since it can recognize and appreciate strategic franchise building.........

Yu Darvish is the hot stove right now. After meeting with the Cubs, he is now an object of interest with the Astros..........

Ouch. Adrian Gonzalez might end up being a tasty enough morsel for the Mets? Even though he would only cost league minimum, for what little time he actually was healthy enough to play last year he was aging out of productivity at an accelerated rate..........

Peter Angelos, owner of the Orioles, is so fearful of Manny Machado ending up with the Yankees or Red Sox that Angelos might veto any trade at all, lest some team (such as the White Sox) flip Machado for even more than they spent to get him. That makes absolute perfect sense, right? Because by not trading him he will lose Machado to free agency where Machado can sign freely with either of those teams anyway, and all the Angelos gets back is a comp pick for having extended an easily rejected qualifying offer. Well played..........

We are about to enter Scott Boras season, with all the hyperbole that entails..........


The Duffle Bag

ESPN announces the 2018 Sunday Night Baseball lineup. The Angels are on precisely as often as are the Red Sox! Once. Because that is one of the three times that the Yankees are featured...........The Angels are running a White Elephant Gift promo right now, and here is the very best take..........So Christian Yelich and JT Realmuto want to be traded away from the Miami dumpster that the new ownership is setting ablaze? Oh, hell, no, says Jeter hatchet man Michael Hill..........ARod knows more about phone privacy and call quality than twitter. No surprise there..........Maybe if Jerry Dipoto can duck the fans for 12 months, they will forget about his Ohtani fiasco..........Carlos Rodon knows how to diss on the drug testers..........It’s Luxury Tax Day!. The A’s say thank you to Magic Johnson and company.........