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HumpLinks: 6 Shopping Days ‘til Christmas!

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Here in the final week of last-minute bargain hunting, Billy Eppler has FINALLY put something of interest into your stocking.

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

With all due respect towards IMDB.com: “Due to his insistence that he has a no-longer-visible six foot-tall pitcher for a top-of-the-rotation starter, a whimsical middle-aged GM is thought by his fans to be insane - but he may be wiser than anyone knows.”

Before we begin, SBN launches SB Nation Radio. Not exclusively baseball, them losers, and not exclusively LA Angels baseball.

We have an exciting new future of Who-Has-the-Under-On-Harvey’s-ERA-Christmas-HaloLinks:


A Little Bit Of Angels News

Once Upon A Time, when the world was still 2 years away from seeing the Angels draft the Best Baseball Player Of The Modern Era, a Bill Stoneman and Eddie Bane led brain trust (Tony Reagins would not be promoted to GM for another 4 months) selected 18-year old Matt Harvey out of Fitch Senior High School in Groton, Connecticut in the 3rd round. He was the 118th pick overall. He should have gone in the 1st round, but his agent being Scott Boras AND having a scholarship to UNC dropped him into the Angels’ lap. Harvey did not sign. Arte and Stoneman offered 1st round money, which was about $1.5 million in those days. Boras wanted $2 million. Arte told them to go pound sand....3 years later the Mets would draft Harvey away from UNC. For 10 games in 2012, and then 26 games in 2013, Harvey was murderous. Then he got hurt. He missed 2014. He came back in 2015 and was murderous again for one entire season. He has not been the same since. Injuries came back to visit, and decided to move into his career and take over his entire beer fridge. The past 3 seasons he has had a 5.39 ERA over 340 innings pitched and 1496 batters faced. He got dumped by the Mets off to Cincinnati last season, trying to redeem his reputation. The result was nope, not quite. And during all that time, he was earning almost $17 million of not-Arte’s-money. Now he is looking for a new gig, and few teams are that desperate yet, this being only December. But we are the Angels. And in today’s world, Matt Harvey’s “not quite” is our “fit right in”. Not an upgrade. Not a downgrade. He is the LAA replacement starter. So Billy Eppler took $11 million of Arte’s money, and gave it Scott Boras for 1 year of whatever we can get out of Harvey......It’s not really going to move the needle forward, not unless a super-hero miracle occurs, but it holds the fort with yet another fragile arm using money that isn’t ours. And, on the upside, our pitching staff just got younger!..........

Mike Trout, High School baller. Same swing. Same exit out of the box.............

San Berdoo gets the 2019 California League ASG. Might be kinda fun. Smells like a field trip...........

Ohtani being celebrated, for being celebrated...........


Everywhere In Baseball

BVW is feeling pretty spiffy about his chances after all that trade & signing hoopla............

Here is your monthly reminder that sports franchise owners can be (not necessarily ALL are) absolute entitled asses. The community sports team that they own is not a public trust, there is no relationship with you, and you exist only to enable public processes to grant them welfare..............And, then, such potential for ass-hattery is not limited to sports owners. It can be a profile of execs, too. (The Marlins scammed those citizens out of hundreds of millions for a stadium, and then walked away from owning up to a pay-back clause with any franchise sale.)...........

Joe Mauer retired on November 9. 40 days later the Twins officially retire his number. Tim Salmon retired effective October 2nd, 2006. 4,461 days later, and counting..........

TIL: The new Marlins 1B coach is Trey Hillman, who happens to be the most successful baseball manager in the world.............

Wow. That ARod mega contract, in today’s dollars, would have an AAV of $59.2 million??........

Uh oh. UniWatch, one of the most informative sports blogs in history, is at risk. ESPN is parting ways and the future is uncertain...........

The most influential person in sports? That would be you, you sports betting maven, you...........

A MUCH better Christmas wish list than I have on Amazon..........

What the hell is it about voting with the official HoF ballot that drives a sports writer to perform a public showing of self-analyzing catharsis? Do we really care? Are they really that important?............

The down side to OTT streaming. So many streams to package together, so much opportunity to spend more than you were spending on your cable bundle in the first place...........


Hot Stove

Maybe we won’t see a Machado or Harper mega contract this winter, after all. Do not think that this will have any impact on the value of Mike Trout............

Lance Lynn signing was completed. Note how the dollars keep coming in higher than what seems reasonable. Kinda like every new winter..........

Bryce Harper rumors are heating up.....The Phillies?..........But watch this. Early yesterday Steve Phillips, ex-GM for the Mets, tweeted that he was not buying the Phillies-Harper rumor. “It seems to me that the Phillies interest in Bryce Harper is overblown if in fact they did not meet with him and Scott Boras in Las Vegas...”.....That will not do. Not in Scott Boras’ world where he needs lots of bidders, both real and imagined, driving up his client’s payday. So Boras needs a way to counter this information and maintain the rumor mill grinding the grist of MLB franchise budgets. What to do? What to do? Oh, hell yeah, use Jon Heyman! “Phillies met with agent scott boras regarding bryce harper at gm and winter meetings...”...........

The Cubs signed Daniel Descalso, utility position player. $1.5 million in 2019, $2.5 million in 2020, and a $3.5 million option/$1 million buyout in 2021. I assume Descalso now takes the role that Tommy La Stella was expected to play, but why pay $1 million when you can commit $5 million AND get Conor Lillis-White............

Yeah, I admit that Michael Brantley was one guy I lusted for. Houston lusted for him even more, of course. But if they were going to do that, what if they had done it a week or two sooner? Could that have brought back to reality the Andrew McCutchen contract?...........

This Craig Kimbrel saga is going to end up pissing people off when we get to January/February. He is asking for a fortune across terms that seem absurd, but teams are paying fortunes to other pitchers. There are a lot of factors working against a signing by anybody soon, and we all learned last year what any such delay does to scribes, agents, and union heads...........


The Duffle Bag

Harold Reynolds remains an idiot. Really goo baseball player, and he looks really good on camera. But, boy, how is it possible that the average baseball fan is more knowledgeable about the sport he is supposed to be analyzing?...........Mo’ne Davis has grown from LLWS starter celeb, to now Hampton University softball player............Don’t lose sight of the looming potential impact of eSports on the future popularity of traditional sports revenue streams..........

Rest In Peace, Penny Marshall. You were always in a league of your own..........