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WeekEnd HaloLinks: Back to Baseball

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The WBC is over. teams will all be restocked with their go-to rosters. One week left of camp to prepare. No more distractions as we focus to the final lap before Opening Day.

Tim Warner/Getty Images

Alright. No more WBC distraction. Over the next few days all MLB teams will have all their players back and rosters will keep getting trimmed down to the final 25-man. Teams are setting up their pitching starts to line up their seasonal rotation. And players will start to get more and more game action each day to ramp up to full speed.

Now we can focus hard on what's left of Spring Training. It ain't much, but it's now damned important. I predict an entirely different tone over these last 9 days of practice time. Maybe we might even get to see a 2nd Trout home run? It's about that time he started heating up. And Pujols. He's playing every other day and his SLG is vanishing.

So, before things get too serious, indulge in some WBC Hangover Links:


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A Little Bit of Angels News

I have decided that when the Angels lose a Spring Training game, Spring Training games don't matter. But the part where a Ricky Nolasco donates yet another strong outing? That part counts. It counts a lot. Out of 4 starts in camp, he has had 3 good ones and 1 mediocre. He is walking almost nobody as he has thrown 101 strikes out of 144 total pitches. And he is carrying an ST WHIP of 1.04. Free money right there, people...........

Luis Valbuena is officially sidelined from 4 to 6 weeks with that hamstring strain we wrote about yesterday. Meanwhile, C.J. Cron has cooled off, but remains in the Top 20 throughout MLB this spring in BA, SLG, and OPS (26th in OBP). So now, aren't you glad we didn't trade C.J. Cron after all?............

And with Valbuena out, for Cron's backup here comes the big opportunity for Jefry Marte.............

MLB will soon be giving us a 1-hour documentary on the life of Mike Trout. Fun, but a little soon, no? The kid is only 25. Only 6 of those years have been of import outside of his own home town. It reminds me of those interviews with some 12-year old child on a talent show gushing as to how they have dreamed of their moment their entire life. Anyway, I have every expectation that MLB will air this program at 11PM on a Sunday night. So I check the scheduled air date of April 9th. Yep. Sunday...........

As FanGraphs ranks left field around MLB, the Angels rank merely above average most because FG ranks Kole Calhoun alone. They don't seem to know how to project his supporting cast at all. If they had given any of his backups any kind of + credit, the Halos would have projected 4th best in MLB............Left field, though, ugh. Well, at least it's not negative. So FG doesn't know about Jefry Marte yet..............

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Everywhere In Baseball

Ok, now I am not saying that this is real. Mike Trout does not call me up and confide in me. But I do find the coincidence of the timing to be delicious. When Team USA won the WBC the other night, this marked the final MLB participation of Jim Leyland's career. He goes out on a high note. So he won't be back for the next WBC, in 2021. This will most likely be the first WBC in which Mike Trout will participate. So Trout will START playing in the WBC when Jim Leyland will STOP managing the WBC team. Oh, reaaaaaally?! "Wonderboy" won't be toiling under the tutelage of Leyland, after all...........

After losing the title game to Team USA, Team Puerto Rico went home to a major party to celebrate their run. It's a great thing, especially considering how they have lived for years and years under punishing imbalance imposed by MLB since 1990 by including PR in the June draft. PR baseball has seriously declined since then, so this is real fun back home. And it's nice that they got to party a bit instead of splitting up and returning directly to their respective Florida/Arizona MLB camps............But then, in a Dusty Baker moment, it turns out that all that had been planned by Puerto Rico in advance of the final game, and wind of the news reached their ears of Team USA. Pro players, being human, latched on to that as motivation. Lucky for us, I guess. The implication is that had not PR made those plans, Team USA wouldn't have had the motivation to, you know, actually win the thing...........And then, guess what? News of Team USA getting new of Team PR's plans reached Yadier Molina of Team PR. So now Molina is really motivated. Unfortunately, Molina doesn't have a game to go out and win...........Mark your calendars for June 16/17/18, when the Orioles host the Cards...........

We already know that Ian Kinsler put his foot in it with one of those "Latin Way versus The Right Way"  baloney sandwiches. The backlash has him walking back his hoof in mouth disease......Yeonis Cespedes is jumping into the conversation by trying to explain the Latin joy......

But then, working hard against the cause of making baseball more fun, we have Jurickson Profar. The guy who just a few days ago got owned by Yadier Molina for hot dogging hard after a single while repping The Netherlands in the WBC, just earned himself a little talking to for losing track of the game at hand. Profar is expected to be a major contributor in Arlington this season. It would be wise to consider mastering the fundamentals first, THEN having a good time..............

Remember way back in the old days when The Great Debate was which player was the best to build a franchise around, Mike Trout or Bryce Harper? Yeah, good times. That debate is so clearly over that now the MSM has moved to a new Great Debate: which player is THE SECOND best around which to build a franchise, Bryce Harper or Manny Machado? And for those of us rubes unworthy of inventing such debates as these, we learn that this appears to be something that has been raging for some time now..........

For the faux fans who show up only for the final event, and ran their routine with the WBC only to crash into the ESPN2 Spanish simulcast, things got ugly. Now, I am not going to justify or defend their behavior. But I am going to defend their failure to find the game on MLBN. At that time, at least for Uverse/DirectTV users, if you went to your Guide and did a search, the only hit for the 217 World Baseball Classic that came back was for that ESPN2 simulcast. This I know for fact, because I am a Uverse customer and I used the search tool in an attempt to jump directly to MLBN rather than scroll through the Guide. So imagine a person interested in watching the game, who might have removed MLBN from their favored channels in their Guide or missed the channel while scrolling or simply chose to search? This is a failure of MLB and at least some of the main carriers of MLBN, and needs to be fixed............

It's that time of the year again, when bizarre ballpark foods come at us hard. Take the Atlanta Braves, for instance. Remember, the idea is that you have to eat this shit off your own lap. Aramark has bold-assed plans all over the country. I'll hunt down pics and reviews as time permits...........

Have some sports biz. AT&T and DirectTV are busted for collusion, but the settlement with the Justice Department still doesn't force them to carry Dodger games...........A new survey shows Millennials leading the charge to the exits of the cable package theme park. Streaming is the new thinging. Pick your fave, pick your time, limit your viewing to those. I'm just going to put this out there right now. This is just another trend enabled by communications technology that allows for the further balkanization of society as individuals are further enabled to isolate themselves into tiny clusters of like-minded fellows. As a guy who has been at an oar driving this tech trend forward for nearly 40 years, I blame myself...........

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The Duffle Bag

Eric Young, Jr., with the cool slide of the day...........The Padres have a built-in promo: Ex Halo Night............Getting between a reporter and free food can be very dangerous. (Also, watch the video. Imagine hitting the big time and getting the dream job of working for a Major League Baseball team, and your job is to speed-load free hot dogs for the Phanatic's hot dog cannon.)..........Looks liike my original idea of special patches for accomplished players is sprouting...........First crazy injury of the year, falling in the shower, and it came pretty late in ST...........It's spring. So it's time to watch one the Phillies' Hooter Girls flub a foul ball. Curiously, this is not a highlight that MLB carries on their video page..........Eric Byrnes is most likely very happy that Team USA won the WBC. Byrnes is less happy that some American players are not participating on behalf of Team USA. For the record, neither did Byrnes............Asshat umpire Angel Hernandez is already at full asshat speed...........

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