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HumpLinks: It’s 3rd and Long

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Billy Eppler ain’t talking no field goals. He wants the touchdown.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Minnesota Twins Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Ok, so Billy Eppler is now on record as stating that he has some good deal in hand, but wants to go with the Big Splash while he has the ball. The football, to be specific. But you know what I like? I like a touchdown AND a field goal. We still have enough time on the clock for AT LEAST 2 scores. So what’s the deal? Are we short on plays in our playbook? Let’s go for it, Billy! What’s the call?...Wait...What?...You called WHAT???

No touchdown. No field goal. No points for you. Get off the field, Billy. Go back to the practice squad.

I offer a smorgasbord of 3-Points-Would-Have-Beat-0-Points-Every-Time-HaloLinks:


A Little Bit Of Angels News

It’s always good news when you don’t have bad news to report. So it is with Shohei Ohtani’s TJ rehab. No bad news, thus good news...........

Trout Porn. Sam Miller is here to remind..........(By the way, Mr. Deputy Manager, Minor League Editor of Talking Chop, how many times does Billy Eppler have to be forced to say no to a Mike Trout trade for you to be satisfied??)..........

I want to throw yet another log onto the embers of the Las Vegas thing. Why? Because it’s my daily labor and I enjoy the fire...........Besides, it’s not as if they don’t love baseball there..........


Everywhere In Baseball

Congratulations to Jayson Stark, BBWAA Spink Award Winner for 2018, which makes him a Hall of Famer. I am guessing that the vote for Stark had me coming in slightly behind him..........

Just because we don’t have actual games doesn’t mean we cannot have actual science. Since I love science, I love forcing you to click on science. But this headline is not a trick: “The Physics of Being Hit by a Pitch”...........

More fun and joy for MLB players well into the future because their union leader is totally lost. While the other major sports are being pro-active about the personal health and medical information exposed to their employers, the MLBPA as headed up by Tony Clark is curiously silent and allowing MLB to move forward..........

Try and keep up. Tampa Bay government takes public money and builds a shiny new stadium to lure a sports team away from some other town. It doesn’t work. Instead, after a very long time MLB gives them a shiny new team: the Rays. This means that the shiny new Rays owner is gifted a run-down ex-new stadium for his shiny new Rays. Except that the stadium sucks, the location sucks, and the fan base sucks. The owners sell the whole package to new owners. The new owners hate the stadium, hate the location, and don’t care much for the fan base. So they want a shiny new stadium in a new location where they draw a better fan base. But since the prior owners got their stadium for free, so should it be for the new owners. They thought they had it. This made Rob Manfred happy. It made all the other owners happy. But then the new owners learned that they won’t get the new shiny stadium for free...Rob Manfred is unhappy...Reboot until 2027. And there is not a damned thing MLB can do about it, because MLB singed into one of those lock-up-your-ass contracts that they wield against other people..........

And you thought Harold Baines to HoF was a bad thing? (Well, you ain’t alone!) How about forward looking? Just so you know, BBWAA HoF voter David Maril is an east-coast guy who clearly loves sports headlines as his primary information source. He’s got 10 votes. He uses only 9 of them. And 1 is burned on Michael Young..........

Nobody wants to tear apart the FOX RSN empire and sell it off piece by piece. So Disney is going to do it for them..........DirectTV’s satellite service is now on death watch..........Sunday Night Baseball move to 5pm a trial balloon for the World Series?..........

Rest In Peace to these baseball people we lost in 2018..........


Hot Stove

Something weird is underway between the Mets, Yankees and Marlins with J.T. Realmuto and Noah Syndergaard at the heart. At the time of this writing it is all rumor-mongoring, but that’s what the hot stove is all about. The Mets are insane, sure, but this just means that the Yankees are right there at the ready to exploit that insanity. The result here might be that the Yankees win what should be a Mets story............It will be interesting to see how all the Mets busy-ness works out. Just because they are making moves does not mean that they are moving forward............

Welp, the owner of the Phillies promised to spend stupid money this winter. He did not lie. Andrew McCutchen for 3 years, $50 million and a club option for a 4th. That would be roughly 2.5 times what I figured he was worth, considering that he hasn’t been the “Cutch” we know since 2015. One could easily argue that - dollars to production based on current prices - this is still a steal, but those valuations always look like replacement insurance valuations to me as opposed to retail dollars..........

The Blue Jays released, unconditionally, a SHORTSTOP! Yes, SHORTSTOP! Troy Tulowitzki was let go, with Toronto still on the hook for $38 million. This smells like the Blue Jays know enough about SHORTSTOP! Tulo’s meds that they don’t see any meaningful career out of his remaining days. But this also means that somebody else could pick him up for the League minimum, assuming that they aren’t scared away first when they see his medical reports, too. (For newcomers, SHORTSTOP! is my take on an HH insider joke.)...........

I am noticing that guys coming into their walk year are real popular trade targets. Lots of teams are either leading with trading them away, or they are already in motion. For example, Ivan Nova went from the Pirates to the White Sox. The White Sox paid the Bucs in international slot money, and a 19-year old starting pitcher prospect...........Meanwhile, the Nationals are trying to bolster their starting rotation, but what the hell...starter Tanner Roark is entering his walk year, so they make him available..........

Scott Boras is pissy that the Nationals principal owner spoke out loud, directly, that Scott Boras is moving on from anything the Nationals are offering. This is, as the link points out, against specific rules in the CBA. That is because one owner announcing to other owners that they are no longer a true bidder, reduces the ability of an agent or player to leverage the threat of ALL owners to be a potential bidder for services. That drives down prices offered. As I have written EVERY.SINGLE.TIME, the MLB Free Agency system is NOT a perfect free market. Not all parties are allowed to know all information during a negotiation. Anyway, Boras does have a point, but the solution for Nats owner mark Lerner is obvious: find his own Jon Heyman..........But that all begs the question: why is it OK for the Yankees GM to announce to every other team that they are not going to be doing any competitive bidding for the very same guy?..........

Love this: “The Angels are so lame, I had to reuse a tweet for the first time. They want a starting pitcher, and until they get one, I’m putting the ENTIRE blame for the slow Winter Meetings on them. Once they get someone/anyone, the floodgates will open. Until then, here’s a rumor about someone they almost got....I was almost on Wheel of Fortune once. That knowledge is just as valuable to me as almost getting Eovaldi should be to the Angels.”..........

SportsIllustrated: “Why Aren’t Teams Lining Up to Sign Former Cy Young Winner Dallas Keuchel?”.....Beyond The Boxscore: “The Reds are lining up for Dallas Keuchel”..........


The Duffle Bag

Dusty Baker owns a solar company. [Insert joke about sun setting 2 hours early here.]...........Ummm, I am not the rocket scientist around here, but wouldn’t a 103mph fastball thrown by a person moving forward at 7mph equate to an aggregate total of 100mph?..........Steph Curry, meet NASA..........So what if Adam Ottavino thinks he could strike out Babe Ruth every time? He would merely be the 6th guy that did that..........