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MondoLinks: 8 Shopping Days ‘til Christmas!

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Unless Eppler and company are going to find a Free Agent Outlet at the mall, it’s likely that the coming festivities will be a distraction for all.

Oakland Athletics v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

If this week is slow on LAA news as the past couple of weeks have been, well, at least we have a visible excuse. We are in the last few days before Christmas, with the New Years holiday right behind. Players, agents, Front Office Staff and even owners tend to book non-office activities and not as much business gets done over the next 20 or so days.

So take any news that we do get as a bonus. Otherwise, settle in.

Welcome back from the weekend with Bits-And-Pieces-HaloLinks:


A Little Bit Of Angels News

Brad Ausmus on getting to be on Shohei Ohtani’s side, rather than being the versus

Weekend golfing at Angels Stadium. I really need to loop myself into this (I don’t golf), because it sounds like a groovy Christmas present for some of my friends...........

New Coordinator of Hitting Analysis, Ryan Parker. And all I can add is, my, how far has the Angels’ Front Office bureaucracy climbed. Not only do they now do analysis, but they dedicate one aspect of analysis to just hitting. And they have so many people doing hitting analysis, that they need a guy to coordinate all that analysis of just hitting...........

Billy Eppler signed Justin Bour (it was official over the weekend). Now we have too many DH/1B guys. What the hell is going on?.....What’s the plan for Brad Ausmus? Don’t ask Eppler, he doesn’t know. And neither do the outside experts.........

Steamer is projecting Mike Trout at 9.3 WAR in 2019. As Mike Petriello points out, projections are conservative. 9.3, “conservative”. For my part, I just smile at this shit. These are the same systems that were projecting Trout for 4 - 5 WAR in 2013 (he pulled 9.0), and being the biggest loser in WAR season-over-season. And then about 5 to 6 WAR in 2014 (7.6 actual). The projection systems are loaded with bias, chief among which is human mis-understanding. In Mike’s case, it once was ‘nobody is really that good’, and it now has become ‘let me be the first to predict Mike Trout is GOAT’.........(By the way, it’s now December, and Trout is still stuck at 64.3 career bWAR. I grow impatient!).............

Kalenb Cowart pitching strategy if he ever ends up facing Mike Trout: pretend he has never met the guy, and just throw splitters............


Everywhere In Baseball

The Red Sox and Nationals are the only teams to be paying a luxury tax for 2018. And the tax is a pittance, really. Now, this is a clear indicator of how strongly teams are shaving payroll, as well as how the lux tax acts a cap to suppress wages (good job, Tony Clark!). But it also is an artifact for how Front Offices are seeing how much value there is to be derived out of the production that comes from the younger talent, that which also happens to be less costly in a seniority-laden CBA. But for you and me, fans of the Angels, that tiny penalty should yield doubt about how Arte strives to avoid such a pernicious penalty.............

We discuss the Rule 5 draft. We make commentary about the players protected, players exposed, and the impact of players selected. We render opinions good and bad. We mean nothing. What means something is to live it, as a ballplayer, as a person...............

The Winter Meetings are over, so those who write will write all kinds of recaps......In grading the results, Justin Bour grants the Halos a “B”. Pretty low bar, there, CBS Sports......But Eppler was boring, and didn’t win any of the special recognition honors in the yearbook.......All in all, these Winter Meets were pretty boring stuff......That’s a trend. Maybe they are becoming obsolete......Certainly they showcase how bad MLB is at promoting itself. So just think of all the money owners could save if they just phased them out altogether?..............

UniWatch gives us some quirky historical baseball stadiums...........They also give us The Beatles. But looking at the ball, it looks more like softball than baseball..........

Pennsylvania dives headlong into sports betting revenue............And betting on baseball is THE new gold rush.............


Hot Stove

Gone from the board would be Wilson Ramos, having been snatched up by the Mets. That must be a bummer for many of you hoping for a professional backstop to occupy the roster. Hell, it looks like it is bummer news in the Anaheim offices..........But before they stole Ramos away from you dreamers, they took measure of Grandal and Realmuto. And those come at much, much higher costs, so the Mets passed. Those prices are probably the same that Eppler would have to pay............

All eyes now turn to the Marlins and J.T. Realmuto......(While the Angels, who can’t afford that price anyway, might need to figure out how to afford Yasmani Grandal, or just skip 2019......Or, maybe, Francisco Cervelli?)......The Mets, obviously, are out on Realmuto, and now the Braves are out. The list of teams in need of a catcher is dwindling, and threatening to pass right by Derek Jeter and his asking price............

The Padres picked up Ian Kinsler. 2 years, $8 million.....So Kinsler is in that part of his career where he can cycle between being hte affordable steady-state and trade bait, landing back with a needy playoff-bound team come Julys.........

Scott Boras is a wizard. Only a Mephistopheles could be so accurate in his prediction that he would know Bryce Harper will either sign now, or later than now...........But let’s face it. Selling Bryce Harper might be the toughest job Boras has had to date...........

Joe Kelly took the Dodgers’ offer, because their’s was the offer that he could not refuse..........

Eduardo Paredes has found a home.............And so has Jabari Blash, which is precisely what I recommended back when he was DFA’d.................

Just keeping you in the loop. The reddit guy who broke the Justin Bour story is suggesting that he is aware that the Dodgers and Bryce Harper have a deal. Now, I didn’t say anything about this before, but now we have a second source of tease (also extremely distant from anything official)...........


The Duffle Bag

Marlins Man slaves himself to the Black Sox Scandal..........The Rams/Eagles game was kind of popular (I can testify, as I had to drive through the pre-game LA traffic.) Tommy Lasorda and Mike Scioscia were there. Aaron Judge dropped by...........I am not quite sure that everybody is aware that tattoos are practically permanent?...........For your holiday baseball gift shopping needs...............

R.I.P John Hall, a SoCal sports journalist legend.............