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TuesdoLinks: Countdown To The End Of Baseball Days

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The final week of live baseball is both thrilling, and sad.

MLB-Game four of the NLCS between the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images

PLAYOFFS

I am going to assume, as I lay this out, that the rains currently forecasted for the DC area on Sunday/Monday do not materialize as predicted. It’s a long way off and, you know, weather. The Astros play in a ballpark with a retractable roof so the rain forecasted there for Friday is meaningless to us. But that DC forecast could screw up what I say below. I gotta go with something, and I am a native Californian, so i am gonna ignore the concept of water falling freely from the skies.

We are almost done with real baseball for 2019. We have a game tonight (starting at 5:08PM PDT) and tomorrow night (starting at 5:07PM PDT because that one minute is all the difference), then one day of no baseball on Thursday. Then we have for-sure games on Friday and Saturday. That is all that is guaranteed. But after Saturday, the 2019 season is absolutely for certain going to come to an end on some day up to next Wednesday. There is no way that it lasts until next Thursday. Normally that would be when we would say that our miserable non-playoff existence was over, and that we were all starting over equally at 0 wins and 0 losses and lots of things are possible. But our roster is so full of holes that the end of the World Series merely means our climbing of the mountain needs to commence.

So this is our final period of lazy procrastination. Just sit back and enjoy whatever baseball the gods give us. It could be a huge blowout, but it could be a lot of fun and, like I say every fall, it sure beats the no live baseball of Decembers and Januarys.

(By the way, when you think about comparing the two sterling rotations on these two teams going head-to-head, you might look at a Zack Greinke as the weak link. Do not forget that Zack Greinke, with 50 At Bats in 2019, has a slash line of .280/.308/.580 and OPS of .888. That’s the highest OPS by far for any MLB pitcher with more than 8 AB’s over the entire season.)


ANGELS - THE HAPPY STUFF (mostly)

The “industry” may be expecting Gerrit Cole to sign with the Angels. But are you willing to sign Gerrit Cole for David Price money (7 years, $217MM)? Because we can count on the Yankees to afford that. Especially after spending $2 billion this decade with nothing to show for it............

But the Yankees? They never had the rally monkey. Or thunder sticks. or the “X” factor...............

If Cole fails to sign with the Angels, and he stays in the American League, he wants to lobby Mike Trout to get moved up to AAAAAA...........

Aaron Hernandez did a good thing in the AFL. 5 innings, no hits, 1 walk against MiLB all-stars..........This easily put Hernandez on the Top Performers list............

Your LA Angels: 8th-best winning percentage in the American League across this entire decade..........

Moon Joe Maddon gets introduced on Thursday. FOX Sports West will air the event, starting at noon............

I dunno. Maybe I am getting punchy. It’s late. What I think I am reading this is that when the Angles announced they were opting out of their stadium lease a lease clause should have forced them to pay the City of Anaheim $8 million as the opt-out fee. Anaheim kind of fumbled around like bureaucrats are prone to do and the money went uncollected. 5 months later the City voted to reinstate the lease and nullify the earlier opt-out. This they did while the bureaucrats failed to include the $8 million owed to the taxpayers before the City Council unwittingly erased the debt obligation. Ok, that’s pretty bad. The money belongs to the citizenry.....And then I get lost. As Arte went through the reinstatement process he didn’t know about the $8 million, either. Huh? Doesn’t he employ a group of savvy accountants and lawyers who have this kind of lease memorized??.....But, wait, I am not done. In the article Arte is then quoted as saying: “If we had not extended the lease we would have received $8 million.” No, Arte, YOU were not the one going to GET $8 million. You were supposed to PAY Anaheim $8 million. That’s a $16 million swing right there. Do you just wake up in the morning expecting that any time money changes hands between you and a government agency the default is to go into your bank account? You are a businessman. That’s not the kind of error a guy likes you makes. (As I said, I was getting punchy. It was late. Thanks below to Cozar for clarifying WHICH Moreno was speaking, and it was NOT Arte. That makes much more sense now.....There are a couple of other fun tidbits in the article. One is Mayor Sidhu dismissing his government’s knuckleheadedness as a mere “distraction”. And the other is REAL lawyers looking at the lease as written and practically laughing at how fast and loose it is with the mechanics surrounding the payment terms of that opt-out fee.............

ANGELS - THE UNHAPPY STUFF

Because soon we will not have playoff baseball to hide behind, we do have more people digging at the scab of our Skaggs Scandal. Craig Calcaterra chose to not just report on other people reporting stuff. He chose to go off and do his own interviewing of his own industry sources. It’s clear that Craig is an ex-lawyer and not an ex-journalist. His referencing of his sources comes across as pretty shady. But if you look past that and imagine that you are sitting at your favorite watering hole and all those sources are your own buddies within the realm of pro baseball, and then listen to what they have to say, it’s pretty damning. To pluck out the gems in his article (these are comments from sources, not from the author): “More people are going to die if this doesn’t get fixed...I was hoping that Skaggs would be a wake up call, but seeing how everyone is responding, it’s a bunch of ass covering and little introspection.”.....”...he knew that Tyler Skaggs had a ‘pill problem’ years ago.”.....”A lot of people knew Skaggs used recreationally,..but no one thought he was an addict, even if they thought he used it too much.”.....”I’m pretty sure the team had an idea Skaggs was using, [but] they probably didn’t know to what extent.”.....”I’m 100% sure they knew. There’s no way these front offices do not know which of their players are on drugs. Maybe not everyone in the front office knows...but in every front office there is at least someone who is aware of which players are using.”.....”The goal of the league, its teams, and the MLBPA is not to eradicate drug use. It’s to get players to pass drug tests.”.....

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MANAGERIAL MUSICAL CHAIRS

More merry-go-round news. Leading off is that the Phillies are trying to decide between Buck Showalter and Joe Girardi. I don’t have a dog in this hunt and they probably both have their qualities, but of those two one was handed as his first and only gig a roster of pure gold, a roster that had just enjoyed their 13th playoff appearance in a row. The other one has a reputation of improving results (at least on the front end) and twice the experience...........


BASEBALL

The most important thing you may read today, the thing which may have the biggest impact on Major League Baseball in 20 years, will be The Wall Street Journal warning us all against the recent MLB change allowing investment funds to claim minority stakes in MLB franchises. WSJ knows about this shit better than you or I, and they certainly understand the plague that is private equity..........

Kind of a big deal concerning the Astros popped up over at SportsIllustrated last night. Astros Assistant GM Brandon Taubman was in the middle of the post-game celebration, long after the game had ended,and turned and faced women present and began to shout over and over and over: ““Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so f------ glad we got Osuna!”. Another Houston staffer ended up apologizing for Taubman. The Astros have locked Taubman away from the press. At first they declined to comment, but then the PR staffers and the lawyers finally finished their work and Houston has come out on the attack. They don’t deny he sad something, but they claim wrong context and a much milder exchange. There are a few pretty damned good sentences in that SI article. My fave might be: “This is the miscalculation that teams make over and over again. They acquire players with reprehensible pasts for less than market rate and concede that they will have to pay a price in public trust. But when the bill comes due, teams act like they, not the people their actions wounded, are the aggrieved party.”.............Go Howie...........

Cole Hamels sounds like just the kind of guy that Billy Eppler is waiting for............

??? Marcell Ozuna already has multiple teams pursuing him as a Free Agent? And already talking $160MM deals? Has the Free Agent “crisis” expired?...........

Yesterday I linked to how it was that the Angels had multiple chance to snag Jose Altuve before the Astros, but passed. Today I link to inform you that signing Altuve was a risk that the Astros took, for nothing more than a $15,000 bonus. Or, about what Arte spends on lunch every couple of weeks.........

These two World Series teams are loaded with starting pitching talent. Imagine if you could put an Anibal Sanchez, Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer all on the same team? Why, you would have the 2013 Detroit Tigers. And you would lose the ALCS to the Red Sox 4 games to 2.........

Read this article about how the Yankees and Dodgers wish they were the Astros, but do so with the awareness of tanking. The article kindly ignores tanking, but that was the tool that allowed the Astros to grow very rich in a very big hurry across a very small window of time, and end up not needing to hoard prospects when they had a chance to buy a key roster piece on the spot market. It’s why they had the prospect stock to outspend the Yankees and Dodgers..........

You know that baseball teams have a department for analytics. What you don’t know is what those people are about and what they think about and how they integrate into the franchise. Here. Have some insight..........

If you are interested in the idea that MLB has experienced an explosion of home runs, and you wish to seek an alternative explanation beyond a change in the baseball itself, you might not want to exhaust yourself looking into the contributions of pitch quality. Why not? Because we also know that the particular changes to the baseball have an effect on the pitchers’ ability to execute their traditional repertoire. Of course pitch quality is going to suffer. Mr. Effect, allow me to introduce you to Mr. Cause............

Not MLB, but still sports fan attendee ticket packaging trends. The San Francisco 49ers are going to package unlimited food and drink wit their season tickets. That’s because pro sports franchises need to compete more and more with the couch at home..........


STUFF

Javy Baez is now the face of baseball..........Job posting: play video games with Trader Jerry............CC Sabathia says goodbye, and begins by reminding everyone that it did not start in New York. It started in Vallejo, California...........It may not last long, but enjoy baby sharks while we have ‘em. (Normally I am not into playoff rally memes. But in this case, donuts.).........Bob Nightengale is on the verge of making history. Either that, or MLB has become too predictable.........