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TuesdoLinks: Kole Calhoun is Red Hot

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16 days to Opening Day...

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Am I the only one paying attention to the Spring that Kole Calhoun is having? I know that he doesn’t have 100 AB’s, but his is not that far off the team lead. He’s right in the mix with the expected regulars. But...a .619 OBP? After his down year in 2017? With an outfield that already has Mike Trout and Justin Upton, this could be like free money raining out of right field.

But, in other news, I’m getting my Baseball itch back! I am already finding that I drop whatever I am doing in order to cycle over to MLB Gameday whenever Mike Trout comes to bat. Office work is already beginning to suffer. We need to get to Opening Day so that we get back to night games and I can do my regular job with less self-interruption.

Snack on these Big-Red-Is-Red-Hot-Spring-Training-Links:


A Little Bit of Angels News

Mike Trout, after getting smacked in the helmet over the weekend, is now going to be wearing face protection when he takes his at-bats.....Trout will be fine, but it sounds like he got a call from Jessica.............

I’m noticing a trend in commentary about shameful AL MVP outcomes.. Last week a reddit user pointed out that in 2004 Ichiro was jobbed. Then, yesterday, HighHeat Stats guy noted that Fred Lynn failing to nab the title in 1979. What’s the trend? In 2004 the winner was Vlad Guerrero of the Angels. And in 1979 it was Don Baylor...of the Angels............

Halo fans, meet Mike Scioscia, the LAA manager who believes that relievers are good for more than just 1 inning......This is not the Mike Scioscia with whom you were familiar back in 2015...........


Everywhere In Baseball

Here is a deeper analysis of defense, and how teams might start changing how they groom players to take fielding positions (something that will also impact the Free Agent markets in years to come). That first chart, “Infield Plays by Season“, shows how our suddenly brilliant defensive infield will not have the same import that it would have had a decade ago. We need to change our thinking and be less star-struck, because we might not see the pay-off we were expecting............

We are observing a trend where starting pitchers are becoming a dying breed. This means that 5 years from now everybody will be pissy because nobody is handing out Clayton Kershaw money any longer (Kershaw being due for a raise next Winter)..........

Major League Baseball is beginning to acquire a dialog over dress codes. First we had the Braves all over Ronald Acuna for wearing his hat Fernando Rodney style (the braves, notably, being one team Rodney never played for). Now we have the Orioles granting Andrew Cashner a ‘beard exemption’, and that is newsworthy.Again I argue, teams will have dress codes up until the point they figure out how to make money off of not enforcing dress codes.........

Seattle is still being bit by the injury bug. Robinson Cano has a grade 1 hammy. Does this move Dee Gordon back to 2B?.........Also, Marcus Stroman of the Blue Jays will be losing his Opening Day start due to recovery time, and he ain’t happy about it.

One young man’s dream of a baseball life is at a crossroads. It’s a poignant read, and something that the vast majority of baseball players must go through at some point in their athletic journey.........

More writers moving to The Athletic. I still say they should give me a free pass for all the traffic I send their way, such as this piece from Jim Bowden on what we can and cannot believe in this Spring’s outlying performances, which includes a Garrett Richards take..........


Hot Stove Hand Wringing

Neil Walker finally found a home. But Damn, did it have to be the Yankees? This surely must be s real bad morning for Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar..........

In 2016 the Cubs had the highest team fWAR in Baseball at 38.0. Jake Arrieta was 16th in fWAR that year, at 3.8. That was a big drop from his 2015, when he hit his career peak of 7.3 fWAR and won the CYA. Last year his fWAR was 2.4. So let’s tally that all up. Arrieta’s fWAR over the past 3 seasons has gone 7.3 to 3.8 to 2.4. And in that 3.8 fWAR year THE TEAM he was playing on led all of Baseball with 38.0, and that TEAM won the World Series. Got that? Now read this about Arrieta: “Three years ago, he won the National League Cy Young. The next year he wasn’t quite as good but still won a World Series. Last year he was sharper but wasn’t even a six-inning pitcher.“ That, my friends, is what we call ‘spin’. It’s what Jeff Passan is using to justify his ‘free agency is under attack’ because the Phillies gave only $75 million to a 32-year old guy who is not fooling batters like he used to and who, in 2017, scored 0.1 fWAR ahead of Jhoulys Chacin. look, I like Jake Arrieta. I would have liked Billy Eppler to sign him a long time ago. But Eppler cannot do that because the Angels are already blowing Arrieta’s money this year on Albert Pujols. The Pujols signed back when Jeff Passan must think that such contracts made sense.........

Ouch. Let’s stick with Arrieta a bit longer. In this FanGraphs review we can read the following: “Nobody is going to weep for Arrieta, but based upon the guaranteed money, it does appear that Boras overplayed his hand. In early January, USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale reported that the Cubs, for whom Arrieta pitched from mid-2013 through 2017, were willing to bring Arrieta back via a four-year deal ‘for about $110 million,’ which represents a higher average annual value ($27.5 million) than he ultimately got, unless one simply assumes he’ll opt out without the Phillies overriding. A month ago, just before they closed a six-year, $126 million deal with Yu Darvish, the Cubs reportedly circled back to Arrieta with a similar offer. As he had done when the team tried to secure him via long-term extensions in 2016 and 2017, Arrieta declined.“ Yeah, I would agree that this is more than a little on Boras and not all on the owners...........

Pivot away from Arrieta and over to Boras, who probably wants a do-over. Keeping in mind that while the CBA prevents franchises from discussing contract offer specifics, as Boras knows all too well, that same CBA does not preclude agents from denying in public whether any contract was actually offered or not. So agents take full advantage and deny...deny...deny. Just read that link and see how many times you find out that some player was reported to have been given a rich offer, which they rejected only to settle for a less rich deal, and then find the agent denying that the original offer was made at all. Kind of like Boras did with the Angels and Moustakas reports. Boras should have had his own category in this list as some special kind of off-season loser this year (that same list has Billy Eppler listed as having the Best Winter for an Executive).........

Back to sanity. Keith Law is more than a little perplexed as to why the Phillies pulled the trigger on Jake Arrieta. They are still in the earlier phases of their tank rebuild cycle, and were primed for next Winter’s huge FA talent market. For my part, I find it more than a little coincidental that the Arrieta $75 million deal ends (if the Phillies choose not to extend it) at the exact same time that Mike Trout is scheduled to hit the market (if Arte fails to extend Trout). So Philadelphia is safe to do something like this now if they feel that they won’t be able to compete for the likes of Bryce Harper & Manny Machado in a few months...........


The Duffle Bag

The Astros got their day in The White House..............I finally figured it out. The Red Sox are like those groups you see at Disneyland that go out to Cafe Press and get custom lime green t-shirts printed up top showcase their special outing. This year it’s a decent cause, but with the Red Sox it’s always something..........