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Thor’sLinks: Sunshine don’t last

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These beautiful SoCal sunny days are about to end. And, no, I ain’t talking about the Halos.

New York Yankees v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Game 3 Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

We have just gone through some incredibly lovely times here in Orange County. Not too cold, not too hot, beautiful sunny days with lovely, puffy white, clouds drifting overhead to entertain us. But these good things don’t last forever. They never do. Storm clouds are on the horizon. In the near future, we get nothing but dark and gloomy skies and rain after rain after rain.

If you step back far enough and squint your eyes and re-read that paragraph above, I could be talking about the fortunes of the Angels. After all, I have lived with the sunshine and dark times with this franchise from the 60’s. I know the above to be true.

But I’m not. It’s just a weather forecast.

Cheer up with these Batten-Down-The-Hatches-HaloLinks:


A Little Bit Of Angels News

Money talks, B.S. walks, small change rides the bus. Vegas (meaning “money”) expects this LAA team to win 83.5 games in 2019. (Yep, Vegas uses half games to force a conclusion.) The 2018 team won 80. It would have taken 98 to get out of the AL West and into the playoffs last year. Billy Eppler isn’t even trading water..........By the way, Vegas posts the Astros as the odds favorite.for most Wins. We are in a multi-way tie for 12th most Wins........

There have been rumors this week about the Angels talking to the Giants about Will Smith. No, not this Will Smith...THIS Will Smith. That sounds interesting, doesn’t it? But, who is this Will Smith guy? Would he be of any help? Well, since it is THIS Will Smith, some team is going to be saying hell to the yes pretty soon..........


Everywhere In Baseball

The REAL lesson to be learned from 10-year contracts, as we watch Baseball in contemporary terms, is that there is real value in moving money away from aged athletes and over to younger athletes............

Precautionary words. Once upon a time Miguel Cabrera was fearsome. He has not been for some time now. Although there is still time to restore much (if not all) of his production, his contract will continue to tick-tock for a long time. And it won’t take too much longer for more of this kind of doubt to creep into the minds of baseball followers..........

Farhan Zaidi, the math genius who was key to rebuilding the Dodgers, and has since hired on with the Giants, turns out to be pretty damned good with football, as well. While with the LADs, he killed it in their clubhouse fantasy football league year over year. He did so to the point of players wanting to kick him out of their league. That link is now almost a year old (and was pulled back up by Sam Miller), but I wonder if the Dodger players will soon start wishing that Zaidi was still a fantasy league problem, and not a real-world divisional one..........

The Oakland A’s are prepared to surrender on Kyler Murray’s decision. They expect him to choose the NFL..............

If you read me often enough you can come to the mistaken conclusion that I am anti-labor. I harp on the fallaciousness of collusion accusations and the silliness of misreading industry finances and player values all the time. that it looks anti-labor speaks more to other factors, though. It’s very infrequent that I get to see news that triggers my pro-labor instincts. 2018 was, actually, a watershed year as I was consistently shaming MLB ownership for misunderstanding the value of MiLB players and abusively underpaying them for their contributions to the sport. And I am rarely missing the opportunity to take MLBPA union head Tony Clark to task for failing his constituency. In fact, I blame Clark explicitly for any problems players might be having as the economics of the game goes through the current revolution. And here i shall go again. Read this, about how the new CBA removes a specific Oakland A’s language that protected the A’s as a revenue-sharing recipient, moving luxury tax moneys back into the pockets of big market teams. Pay particular attention to the closing paragraph, where it is made clear that the Players Union was so asleep that ownership need not worry about getting squeezed on finances, so they had no reason to quibble amongst each other over any scraps that the players left for them..........

There are a myriad of little things about the entire industry of baseball that we all take for granted. They existed long before we came into cognitive awareness and are simply glued to the experience like a not unpleasant wallpaper behind the more interesting furniture. But those things did come from somewhere. They did not always exist. Which brings us to this lovely off-season essay concerning Abner Powell. I won’t spoil the read by revealing his contributions here. Just go and discover for yourself...........

I cannot say this too many times. Twitter is the worst. I cannot think of a single redeeming value for its continued existence..........

Major League Baseball Front Office is proud to announce that 2019 Major League Baseball will start with New York-centric Major League Baseball...........


Hot Stove

Yasmani Grandal has made his decision. He moved across the 2018 NLCS field to the dugout of the Milwaukee Brewers. Could you have afforded him for the Halos? One-year, $18.25 million. That’s a whopping $325,000 more than he could have gotten from the Dodgers simply by saying yes to the QO, and for the same period of time. So, yeah, probably. You could have had Grandal for the QO value. That’s arguably the 2nd-best catcher in MLB last year, 30-years old, for $14.9 million more than taking the 23rd-best catcher in MLB last year, who will be 33 early next season. But, hey, it ain’t my money...........

uh...ummmm....ok. Bryce Harper wouldn’t be signing with the Phillies because that is Mike trout territory?..............

Machado is rumored to be up in the +$300 million mark, which is the market projection we all have had for him for years now. But WTF is with Jon Heyman doing trying to invent a “mystery team”?.......... And Machado to the White Sox? Does this mean that Chicago can ‘waste’ his prime years?..........And what are the Yankees waiting for?............

Machado and Bryce Harper might be giant corks in this FA marketplace. This is why I don’t think it’s important to exclusively point the finger at ownership for time factors. Case in point: Dallas Keuchel. And right behind would be Mike Moustakas. Sure, it would be a lot more interesting, fun, and more productive for scribes if more FA signings were happening before the off-season runway ran out (er...excuse me...”comes into focus”). But signing early is rarely the best strategy for the best FA’s, as Scott Boras has proved and as other agents are following suit. And the best FAs command the larger shares of the overall net-new monies being contracted out to labor. This means that it is prudent on ownership to wait along with those big contracts in order to properly understand their financial commitments..........

And because of the immediate above, there is still meat on the bone. Drew Pomeranz, anyone?..........

The Mets have been crazy busy this winter, with a succession of blockbuster acquisistions. But what is surprising is to learn that they have actually LOWERED payroll. That they might be out of money to spend is merely status quo for the Wilpons.........


The Duffle Bag

I encourage you all to give MLTBR.com 3 minutes of your time and thoughtfulness. We will all benefit...........Some baseball things, Noah Syndergaard for instance, should be illegal..........We Pimp The Inevitable. All pitchers must bow upon their inability to reach out and prevent the conclusion..........Go forth and try your hand at naming the new Marlins MiLB team to be stuck placed in Wichita, Kansas..........David Wright’s final career At-Bat had a tiny backstory that is kinda cute..........Say a prayer for former MLB’er Chris Duncan..........Jonny Gomes: D’Backs fielding and baserunning coach. Someday Arizona might hire Jeff Mathis as their hitting coach..........You should already know this, but that doesn’t minimize the shock value..........The 2019 king of bobbleheads?..........