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MotYLinks: Rookies and Rumors are Rising

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As the country dives into a deep freeze, MLB ignites the tinder under the coal in the offseason hot stove.

San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Mike Scioscia was the first American League Manager of the Year in Angels franchise history. The same guy would win it again in 2009. These are the only times any Halos skipper has won the award (which was only started being awarded in 1983).
Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

THE HOT CORNER

The Rookies of the Year were announced last night. Congratulations to National League RoY Pete Alonso, and to American League RoY Yordan Alvarez.

Neither of these are any surprise. Certainly not after Fernando Tatis, Jr. went back down to injury for the Padres and shut off any suspense between he and Alonso. I did my IBWAA voting back in September and called both winners. Hell, I wrote everything above by noon yesterday and only had to go back and add the MLB link later in the afternoon. If a guy such as me can do that, we have all the evidence we need as to just how brain dead and obvious this was going to be. The only thing to watch was the vote count. Alvarez was unanimous as the #1.....Alonso was almost unanimous. Andrew Baggarly of TheAthletic voted Braves pitcher Mike Soroka #1 and Alonso #2. Don’t bag on Baggerly. Soroka was a beast in 2019 (he was my #3).

(By the way, you don’t have to click thru to this where for $$ Ken Rosenthal gives his awards picks. His are pretty mainstream but I am mentioning this because of what happens when he gets to AL MVP. For each award, Rosenthal lists the Finalists, then states who he thinks will win and who he thinks should win. For AL MVP, he thinks Mike Trout will win. But for should win, he posts “???”. He then explains his cop-out: “Nope, I’m not revealing any aspect of my ballot, not when the penalty this year falls into the category of cruel and unusual punishment: covering all 162 games the Detroit Tigers will play in 2020. Check back on Thursday. I have … some thoughts.” So somewhere within The Athletic there is a buddy bet and this Trout versus Bregman thing must be a bigger squabble than I am aware of...........

Tonight we have Managers of the Year, where I most likely get shut out.


ANGELS

Recall that it was only last Thursday when I slapped us all upside the head to remind that Shohei Ohtani will be back on the mound in 2020, and that Ohtani means a 6-man rotation. This was an important issue that demanded considerable thought and planning for flexibility back before the start of 2018, and it is the very same issue now. It impacts ALL pitchers on staff. Well, the issue made for an excellent question to Billy Eppler on day 1 of the GM Winter Meetings.....And others were standing nearby to jot down the response.....Sadly, Eppler’s answer comes across as though the franchise has not thought that through yet. They might not have that figured out for another couple of months. To which I say: “Hey, Eppler! If Jeff Fletcher and Rhett Bollinger can read HH for their questions and carry them into your presser for us, then your analytics team can just as easily read HH for the answers.”..........

Zack Wheeler is a guy (some of) you have been targeting. He comes with a QO, so he will cost you draft picks. But it looks like Billy Eppler has been reading your comments here and is inspired to check in on him. That’s the way I figure it. I doubt Eppler had heard of Wheeler before reading about him here. No way that could have happened without you all..............

($$) - Conversely, here is a horse of a different color. Long has it been believed that the Albert Pujols contract was, in and of itself, the anchor that would drag the Angels out of the top end of any Free Agent market until after it expired. After curiosity about Granderson, it may be the most common subject of commentary. Well, there are still years left on the Albertross deal, but it already no longer matters. Billy Eppler says Angels have ‘ability to be aggressive’ in free agency. For those of you without a subscription, Eppler follows that up with a “...if we want to.”.........

Once Upon a Time, 29 years and 1 day ago now, Randy Johnson and Chuck Finley combined to no-hit a Japanese All-Star team in the Tokyo Dome...........

Shohei Ohtani representing MUFG in Japan...in LA Angels gear. Yeah, that’s me replying that you and I know MUFG here in SoCal as Union Bank..........


HOT STOVE ACTION AND OTHER RUMORS

Oh great. Day #1 of the 2019 GM Winter Meetings and we already have people whining over the slow Free Agent signing activity..............

A lot of teams are already rumored to be a good suitor for Yasmani Grandal. But the Angels are not one of them..........

This offseason will probably bring a blockbuster trade. Well, let’s qualify that because in a slow winter it doesn’t take much to bust some blocks. We are talking about at least one name out of the following: Mookie Betts, Francisco Lindor or Kris Bryant...........

To remind, baseball has a luxury tax and this is how it works.....Not that the Giants are going to care about it his year..........

The Yankees are not going to let Stephen Strasburg and Gerrit Cole land anywhere on the cheap. Nor will they let them land anywhere without at least checking in. That’s a FWIW update, because we don’t really know if it means anything material...........


BASEBALL THINGS IN GENERAL

(h/t reddit) In honor of yesterday having been Veterans Day, Baseball’s Greatest Sacrifice.............

Old guys in baseball, the new hidden leverage factor. If true, that flipped rather quickly. My guess, though, is that the difference where old guys contributed more highly for playoff teams is that playoff teams are better at picking the right guys who happen to be older. It’s not a function of just being older and with more experience..........

I hate reading this. It seems like only yesterday that the notion of great third basemen seemed to be a dying concept. It was frustrating to me because I have been laser focused on the hole that LAA has had on the hot corner for years and years. So now that I learn that MLB has a glut of great third basemen, it’s even more grating to know that the Angels have been failing to get themselves one.............

I promised you on Friday that I would catch you up with weekend articles in this series....Here is MLB’s most problematic contracts in the AL West. Someday soon we won’t have the Albert Pujols contract to kick around anymore.........And here is yesterday’s MLB’s most problematic contracts in the NL East edition...........

The Royals stole 117 bases in 2019. Only the Rangers stole more, with 131. Stealing bases was probably the one thing that made the 2019 Royals fun to watch. But now manager Ned Yost is gone and he has been replaced by Mike Matheny, and Matheny has this reputation for hating base stealing. But is that reputation accurate?. If you are seeking roto leverage in your leagues next year, you might want to read the answer.........

Lou Whitaker into the Hall of Fame. Make it so. But stop listening to me and, instead, listen to Jay Jaffe. He’s kinda the world expert on these things...........

MLB franchises have decided not to rub their super power in the face of the Players’ Union any more.....Yeah, “not in their best interest to keep doing so” because, you know, it’s just frickin’ praying for MLBPA lawyers to swoop in and own their stupid as f$#k asses for being so blatant. More proof that we don’t have enough female GM’s in sports.........

I had never thought of this before. Looking at what life is like to be an employee of an MLB franchise? Maybe Glassdoor can offer some insight. Overall, the Angels rank towards the lower end of a spectrum that is still quite positive. Because working for a pro sports franchise can do that. It’s why there are so many interns. Why staff up heavily on FTE when people might be happy to work for free? The article does not fixate on LAA but when I look I see mostly reviews from folks who have to push ticket sales. Those are all over the place. The Strikeforce team member cheerleading away is humorous. Maybe I should be surprised not to find the Rally Monkey? Back to the article, though. There is some good (and expected) insight. And the Diamondbacks look to be notorious asshats salting their own reviews. Sounds right. This is the team with executives who don’t want fans from opposing teams showing up behind home plate..............


STUFF

Nelson Cruz tees one up. I am assuming that he got a call from NASA shortly thereafter..............I helped on the Shohei Ohtani ad in Japan up above...........I have no idea about this one in Taiwan..........Did you think, as I did, that the reason that the Padres were brown (in the first place, not just the coming re-do) was because of the ubiquitous concept of Spanish catholic friars wearing brown habits? That would be you and me making a common mistake. Either that, or it’s an article from The Onion...........