clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

HumpLinks: Jonesing in January

New, 111 comments

27 Days until Pitchers and Catchers report!

Seattle Mariners v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Januarys have become the oddest of times for me. As my friends and family can attest, I really indulge in a fantastic holiday season from late November through New Year’s Day. It takes me about a week or two to reset and normalize, which is where I am at. Even under normal circumstances I would start slowly amping up my excitement for LIVE BASEBALL!, but doing this gig has me so embedded into the swirling vortex of baseball news nearly every day that a lot of other things which would usually be some part of my January life have become almost meaningless. I realized just yesterday morning that I was pretty much booked up with life until Tempe, and that my personal calendar had become interlocked with that of MLB. I realized that that must be why I started doing the annual jersey number countdown this year targeting Pitchers and Catchers report, instead of first game of ST or Opening Day.

So I am really getting excited for the season. Exceptionally so. I apologize in advance if things get out of hand by the time we get to March.

It’s another buffet of Endless-Offseason-Links:


A Little Bit of Angels News

ZiPS projections for the Angels are posted. Hey, at least we were not last, or nearly so, this year. By nature these are extremely conservative so get your underwear in a bunch at your own risk. For me, I am left to wonder two things. First, how in the heck can anybody forecast an Ohtani? Do we truly have modeling tools for two-way players? And, second, is these are ultra-conservative and Mike Trout STILL comps out as Willie Mays, WTF are we actually gonna see out of out center-fielder this season??..............

Billy Eppler explains that the Angels are not necessarily committed to a 6-man rotation for Shohei Ohtani. They are open to it, and they are seeing the potential for workload management especially in those stretches of many consecutive days with games. Eppler also seems pretty confident in all the guys he has now for a rotation. So help a guy out. Sosh might need a season plan to lead LAA into figuring out how to flip between a 5-man and a 6-man rotation based on the actual schedule..........

A teensy bit of Simba Porn from BBR..........

Have a look at where we ARE with our bullpen, which is not necessarily where we WILL BE as of Opening Day..........

Food for thought: 2018 might be the last, or next to last, year we see Albert Pujols on a list of worst contracts. His contract ends one way or another after 2021, which is only 4 more seasons. And that is only if Albert and Arte don’t come to some reasonable conclusion earlier. Meanwhile, there is a wave of aging players with big contracts coming up behind Pujols (looking at you, David Price)..........

Oh. Now YOU have to choose! What Fantasy league will you be playing in this year? The one that allows Ohtani to be drafted as 2 different guys, or the one that does not? Yahoo versus CBS explain their stances..........


Everywhere In Baseball

A nice divergence from the main road, where there is to be found a chicken coop to surprise the sports enthusiast in us all..........

As these pages have been pointing out for months and months, Rob Manfred is going to go ahead with his ideas on pace of play. You are getting a pitch clock whether it has anything to do with game length or not.....and it is coming to Baseball whether the players want to have a say in it or not (the CBA has a minor clause that grant the Commissioner such power in off-seasons)..........So while the MLBPA might claim to be allowing Manfred to do as he pleases, they really have no choice in the matter..........

Track the arb season using the annual FanGraphs arb-o-meter..........

Once upon a time the Player’s Union made a big boo boo, and that boo boo has finally come home to roost. A lot of pre-1980 players are cut out from access to decent retirement benefits because the Union forgot to excise the minimum “4 years of service” clause for those older players. Players at that time, and all players since, have known full well that they needed to meet that threshold. But players prior were never informed of such when they were active in their careers, and many were cut out when it was too late to do anything about it. Subsequently, the Union has not wanted to see any moneys taken out of modern pockets and redirected to elder ballplayers in order to restore some level of equity with those who created the union in the first place. And we end up with an awful lot of inequity, and an awful lot of very bad outcomes..........

The Cubs are looking to leap right past mega-TV deals (which might be evaporating, anyway), and simply launch their own network..........

My bad. I forgot to link yesterday to the news that long-time MLB umpire Doug Harvey has died..........


Hot Stove

There is a lot of fodder in this link to digest, mostly about how the recent moves made throughout MLB are impacting the Free Agents still on the hunt for deals. It’s why there is value for teams to wait. The prices for a Lorenzo Cain (who is now quoted as willing to sit out a season to get paid) and J.D. Martinez can only go down as more and more potential buyers exit the OF market..........

But perhaps more informative is this Jeff Passan essay, looking into how broken is the current system (and wanting real hard to point a finger at collusion). Within it I found one really killer quote from an unnamed MLB official: “Of course it doesn’t make sense. We pay you the minimum for three years and arbitration for three or four years, and then you get paid more in free agency for your decline?

That trade of Andrew McCutchen has sure caused a stir on both coasts. First we need to take minute to be reprimanded by Ken Rosenthal that because we have not seen 4,000 games with our own eyeballs we are mere rubes to think that Pittsburgh got the short sheets. because, like, 1982 or something.....The better analysis comes from the other side of he fence from MSM. As expected, that would be from the cool heads over at FanGraphs......Bu the good folks of Pittsburgh are in no mood to be cool. They are furious. As in, really furious. And artciles are all over the place (here, here, here and here are samples) describing the horror that befalls Pittsburgh for losing McCutchen......Yeah, I know that the Pirates have sucked these past two years, but they won 98 games as recent as 2015. That’s a fast plummet to “tear down”. So I can empathize.............Josh Harrison doesn’t want to be the last guy with his finger in the Allegheny dyke. (Which makes me wonder, what with the similar lamentations of J.T. Realmuto and Christian Yelich, are we seeing the birth of NBA-style player-driven star aggregation?).........

Over in NoCal land, the addition of these aging one-time superstars has Giants fans drooling. At least, those Giants fans in the media. the Sporting News has two articles up that could have been penned by Frank Thomas. Ryan Fagan thinks that McCutchen and Longoria are going to erase 2017. And Alec Brzezinski sees the addition of McCutchen as the piece that turns SF into World Series contenders. To remind, the Giants won only 64 games last year. The National League is still the place where the Dodgers, Cubs and Nationals call home. The NL West sill has the Rockies and Diamondbacks. And the Giants still had a pitching staff that was at 4.50 ERA, worse than any of those but the Coors Field Rockies.........

This is getting nuts. The Giants are looking to add to their carnival sideshow of assembled parts by potentially bringing in Jarrod Dyson to play outfield. Dyson is the guy who lost his centerfield job to a second baseman who has never played CF in the pros..........

Yu want a Darvish? I know there are many reading this who do. And every time I read the wishful comment I also read the replies about cost and value. So what IS the true value of Darvish? Can we trust Jay Jaffe here? He is ending up with an AAV between $25.78 million and $30.08 million..........

Ichiro may return to Japan.............


The Duffle Bag

My Spanish truly sucks. I did not recognize this text, and all my searching tells me that Vladdie sent Pujols a message calling him an artist’s support.........Gubi also pops in with birthday wishes and reminds me that, yep, Albert is gonna surpass 3,000 hits this season..........Hidecki Matsui is in the HoF. Not Cooperstown’s. Not the Yankees’. Not in Anaheim. In Japan..........’Stros mania is prevalent in Texas. Trucks and boats and things. Must be pissy to be a Rangers fan there these days. (thanks, UniWatch).........Say goodbye to the Miami Pachinko Machine?..........