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Thor’sLinks: Rule 5 Day

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Now is when all those roster protection decisions come home to roost.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Oakland Athletics Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

We wrap up the Winter Meeting News, where Billy Eppler will soon come home the conquering hero with Forrest Snow, Matt Ramsey, Dustin Garneau, Wilfredo Tovar, Peter Bourjos, Jarrett Parker and Cesar Puello added to Tempe, and Kaleb Cowart dumped moved to Seattle. I15 is being covered with roses and palm fronds as I write this.

But the biggie deal from the Winter Meets would be the signing late yesterday of Justin Bour. One-year deal. Think of him as the left-handed version of Albert Pujols at 10 cents on the dollar. Seriously. They are both 1B, and compare their 2018 totals. One had 20 HRs across a slash line of .245/.289/.411 with an OPS of .700. The other was 20 HRs and .227/.341/.404 with an OPS of .746. If you didn’t read Rick Souddress’ review last night, would you know which one was Bour?

On the upside, having 3 first basemen will sure come in handy if Ausmus is big on The Shift. Or maybe we could use 3 DH’s pre game, for pitcher, catcher, 2B.

But before we get to Links, we have the Rule 5 Draft. Today is the day. There are intriguing names that might get involved. Here is what it all means.

While we wait for the twitter updates on draft results, sip on these Vegas-Wrap-HaloLinks:


A Little Bit Of Angels News

I am pretty sure that this is the same link I have used each December for the past 4 or 5 now, but Albert Pujols is progressing fine with rehab from his season-ending surgery (surger-IES, in this case this year) and his strong work ethic has him on track for ST............Fortunately, there is a new sheriff in town, and all that work ethic may not matter..........

In the context of Albert, are you one who throws out the term “sunk cost” a lot? If you are, or if you are the other kind of person who cringes whenever you read the term being thrown about, go read this...........

Billy Eppler has a vision that continuing to grow and improve the LAA farm system is a good plan. Well, that sounds good. I like that. It’s better than planning to do the opposite. But that is not the message here. The message here is that Eppler will not be adding to the 25-man by decrementing from the 40-man, or below that. So additions to the 25-man can only come via FA signings. Which come at whatever it is that Arte has told Eppler he can afford. And we all know what it is that impacts payroll affordability............

All that said, it was said on purpose. It tees up the more recent article, wherein Alden Gonzalez is a believer..........

If we shrink the base paths to only 30 feet, Jo Adell is gonna kill it..........

Derek Jeter just poached out of our Salt Lake City coaching staff..........


Everywhere In Baseball

Championships Are Overrated. That’s a provocative title, but the article is a brilliant take down of MFY fan base entitlement. The very best paragraph, IMHO, begins with: “Winning championships is, obviously, the goal of every sports team, but you are not a sports team. You are a fan.” The whole article is excellent, but that paragraph is brilliant. Well, the next one is good, too. I wish I had written that............

Somebody did not get the memo from New York. Craig Counsell, Brewers manager, thinks banning the shift would be stupid. He actually finds the shift strategically fun. And don’t forget, Counsell was a position fielder, and a batter, as well as being a manager..........Unlike, say, a Tim Dahlberg of AP who is just a writer, and who hates the shift. Dahlberg is a BBWAA HoF voter, so he is probably drooling for his chance to punch David Ortiz’ ticket..........

Tony La Russa sat on that very small committee that dumped Harold Baines in the Hall of Fame. he was one of the Chosen 3. So his was 33.333% of the voting power all by himself. And that outcome is taking a bath. It’s a blood bath, actually. Well, the last thing that Tony La Russa likes to hear is anybody telling him his opinion is shit...........

Sorry, but tech will not take over human scouting until the entire nation is smothered in Trackman and StatCast systems............

If you get MLB Network, maybe they will replay this. It was announced online too late for yesterday’s Links. “Eck: A Story of Saving” is a documentary about the baseball life and struggles of Dennis Eckersley. As the text in the link states, Eck pretty much helped invent the modern role of Closer..........

Just a small touch of baseball history, of no practical meaning to any of us I am sure. Strictly human interest. But the Frick Award for Broadcasting will put into the HoF one Al Helfer, who did national radio broadcasts back in the 50’s. I really struggle to put into proper perspective what that contribution really means to the sport we enjoy today. We have such a glut of information at our disposal that we filter out 95% of it and throw that all away, just to focus on the most delicious parts of that last 5%. But if 100% of everything you got to know about baseball was less than 1% of that 5%, would you still be a fan? In Helfer’s time that was the world of MLB, and guys like Helfer had the skill to turn out larger numbers of more passionate baseball fans than we have today. It’s amazing, once you wrap your head around it..........

Holy balls! Stop the presses!! The big news in baseball is NOT what’s been happening in Las Vegas. No! It’s that the MF Red Sox are going to flip two players in their batting order when the season opens next year!!..........

This, I think, is a mistake. The title is the link, and tells all. “Tim Neverett leaves WEEI’s Red Sox broadcasts amidst report they wanted to turn game broadcasts into something ‘more like a talk show’ “.....I say it’s a mistake for a reason. For a brief period, my oldest son and I would sit together and watch ballgames on TV, and soon enough our chatter would take over. One thing would lead to another and we would eventually be running a comedy panel discussion about the events unfolding on TV. My son is extremely funny. On stage live performance improv for years level of funny. I had the thought of running live podcasts as an alt audio to televised games. It was Rev who pointed out that streaming podcasts quickly fall behind real time game action, so I shut it down. But the premise remains true. A format

Oakland has such a great relationship with their sports franchises..........


Hot Stove

That plinking noise heard across the nation yesterday would be the Red Sox competitive window taking it’s first crack. Already spending at a pace that overwhelms everybody else, and with a farm system that is gutted, they will have young superstars coming into major pay upgrades over the next few years and they have to start shedding someplace. The first names to be opened up for movement are Xander Bogaerts, Rick Porcello and Jackie Bradley, Jr. (not counting Craig Kimbrel, who is already gone)............

The Yankees are signing J.A. Happ.....no they are not....yes they are close.....Whatever............

What the hell are the Reds doing?.....Are they really going after A.J. Pollock And Dallas Keuchel?.....And are they really going after R.T. Realmuto, too?..........

The Rays are winning the Tier 2 Charlie Morton bidding war. The Rays are lined up to sign him. Which could be fun, since this is the team that just declared they would be sticking to the Opener strategy. Maybe not so much...........

In a catastrophic turn of events, holding the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas might have had the effect of baseball people actually having to talk to other baseball people face-to-face. Cell phone service has been horrid, and the casino tech to disrupt cheaters might be the culprit..........

Surely it doesn’t really matter to we LAA fans. But in case you still have visions of sugar plans and Bryce Harper dancing in your head, here is a gentle reminder that, as a California-based franchise, we are at a severe disadvantage..........


The Duffle Bag

Everybody in baseball does flow charts now. Never forget that they were invented here. (The very first one....My personal fave.....The most commonly remembered......That membership fave updated.)............LAD manager Dave Roberts is delighted to learn of the Cardinals’ fortune..........maybe we should have dumped a hundred or so Capuchin monkeys into the casinos this week, just to represent..........