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HumpLinks: Sighing For Relief

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The Angels keeping poking the bushes for bullpen help

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Boston Red Sox, Game 3 Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Not much going on locally, to the extent that I almost removed the Angels News section completely. But then, just in time, we get word that maybe Billy Eppler is among those who might be interested in possibly doing a deal that could potentially result in pitching help with the hope that it would not not gut the farm system.

And that’s as sure as things get around here.

Have some Adverb-Driven-HaloLinks:


A Little Bit Of Angels News

Just in case the Giants punt on 2019, and turn into sellers, Billy Eppler is on line 3 for some bullpen deals...........


Everywhere In Baseball

Listen to Brian Anderson tell you just how hard it is to be a Major League hitter. And then think about how amazing it has been to see Mike trout figure it all out so fast..........

Are you a government worker? Yes? Well, can you afford MLB season ticket packages? No? That would be because you are not a government worker in WASHINGTON DC! The Nationals appear to have enough Federal employees capable for committing thousands and thousands and thousands of discretionary income in advance that they don’t want to lose them to the ongoing government shutdown............

This is the part that I don’t understand. There IS a luxury tax threshold. Going over DOES incur financial penalties. But in the grand scheme of things, those penalties are not so penurious. So why are they feared so much that they act as a soft “cap”? Things don’t really start to stink unless a franchise goes $40 million over the threshold when you are paying a tax, + a surcharge, + draft slots. The first $20 mill over the threshold is chump change..............

This is why I keep reading UniWatch. I had never noticed that the subject of a sports news presser announcing something major would be wearing franchise-specific ties. But they do! Now I will never be able to look away..........

Keeping track of the rising tide that is sports betting, It’s a multi-layered industry baking in the over. In this case, we have an IT exec jumping careers to get into data analytics, selling actionable insights back to the sports leagues and gaming officials that might expose insider activities......... And Chris Christie is back in the news, making some fun arguments if you are a fan of history. He is arguing that State legislators need to keep the Federal Government out of those sports betting businesses that the States are setting up (which speaks to the States Rights privilege tension going back to the very framing of our Constitution)...and, in an amusing flip on a very, very old citizen versus government conflict, he is arguing that private enterprise be proscribed from dipping into the government wallet..........

Directly preceding the Hot Stove report is a great place to alert one and all that MLB payrolls declined by $18 million last season......For some, that is great cause for alarm. Or cause for great alarm. Or something in that order.....By my math, $18 million drop that results in $4.23 billion still spent means that we were at $4.248 billion in 2017. $18 million out of $4,248 billion is a drop of less than 12 of 1 percent. Considering, as the ESPN article points out, that last year’s FA class was a shit show unworthy of time and big money, this is not the moment to be declaring calamity. (<—HARPER/MACHADO WILL FIX THIS.)..........That moment was in the years prior, when there WERE good FA classes and there WERE good contracts being handed out and there WAS a rise in player payroll, but there was STILL a widening gap between payroll and revenues. Very few of today’s hand-wringers were paying attention back then. Most importantly, Tony Clark was in absolute denial..........(By the way, Scott Boras was upset in that 2015 article that players’ share was only 43% when it should be 50%. My math yesterday showed that player share in 2018 was about 42% for 2018. Does that meant that the gap has not widened markedly in the last 3 years?)..........

And, by the way, a not insignificant amount of the FA signing challenge that bugs so many is due to MLB players taking the money in hand with contract extensions, rather than wait out their contracts and take a chance on possibly more money in the bush of FA. Personally, I think the idea of early-career contract renewals is where the industry needs to go. It’s what the franchises want to do by directing funds way from legacy players with short windows of remaining productivity, and it puts more money into the hands of players when they are most productive (and marketable), which also grants them longer terms to see that money grow via investments..........


Hot Stove

Whenever I read about how slow the Free Agency window might be at the moment, I always want to ask that this claim be quantified for the benefit of my understanding. Slow, as in what way? Number of guys signed? Number of guys NOT signed? Amount of guaranteed money committed? There are plenty of way to skin that cat. Well, TheRinger helps us out. They say it is slow, and they use amount of money spent over time as their yardstick. This is good, because now I know how to react. I can notice how money spent is already higher than last winter’s shitty FA class, which is what we expected. I can also note how Manny Machado and Bryce Harper have yet to sign, which will blow out the chart completely once we get there and silence this angle entirely (<—HARPER/MACHADO WILL FIX THIS.)...........And I can fall back on the position that agents such as Scott Boras have as much blame on slowness as GM’s, having come to the conclusion that it is never in the interest of a big-ticket client to sign early.............

So things are going slow. Is the cause and effect an even “peanut butter” spread victimizing all FA’s equally? Uh, nope. Take, for example, those FA’s who happen to be second-basemen. Going into the off-season, we had 19 of them. There are only 30 teams. And only 1 of those 30 teams is truly in need of spending to fill their 2B slot on an aging or declining or mediocre FA. Thus, we have a lot of FAs in the market that nobody needs, all of who will tally on the side of unsigned FAs and monies not handed over to labor. That looks as collusiony as one can get if you are a baseball scribe . It’s a lot like the farmer dropping off a surplus of eggs at your local grocery store at the same time your fridge is already well stocked with eggs. Your failure to go back and purchase more eggs will leave too many eggs to spoil. And it’s all your fault.........

The White Sox are trying to corner the market on Founding Fathers..........It also helps the ChiSox cause to surround themselves with all of Manny Machado’s best buddies..........

The Phillies are not about to lose out on the Bryce Harper sweepstakes without a Phight. It should go without saying that we Halo fans are pulling for the Phils here.........


The Duffle Bag

R.I.P. Lenny Green...........Hey, baseball players are ATHLETES, man. Don’t you be going and doubting the regimen they go through to remain elite...........These dugout mugs would be a lot cooler if they came from MLB game-used bats of your favorite player..........Be honest. Ain’t this one of your Top 10 private fantasies whenever you visit an MLB ballpark???........