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WeekEnd HaloLinks: Catch Him If You Can

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Yasmani Grandal goes big as the White Sox go bigger.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v New York Yankees Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

THE HOT CORNER

Some teams got fresh coal for their hot stove yesterday. Other teams got fresh coal for their holiday stockings.

There are lots of angles to riff off of with the Yasmani Grandal signing. Mine is the temptation to start score keeping to line up winter winners and losers (and...OK...so I take some shots below...), but mostly I will restrain myself.

Instead, here, let’s consider that so far we have some hope that this will not be yet another offseason full of conspiracy theories and writer frustration. In the last 10 days we have had 3 decent signings, with $126 million committed. Will Smith, then Chris Martin, and now Grandal. We have also had Adam Wainwright, Tyler Flowers, Nick Markakis sign deals. (And another $3-6MM that the Braves committed to Darren O’Day before that.)

Things are happening. With or without Scott Boras, and it ain’t even Thanksgiving. Boras might have to pick up what moneys are left over.


ANGELS

Mike Trout is just as anxious for things to start happening as you are. The difference between Mike and you and me, though, is Mike is the guy who will be answering the phone calls to pitch Anaheim to prospective Free Agents............

Trout Porn: Career summary to date..........

Trout Porn: what every one of his home runs since 2015 would have looked like if you were sitting in left field. Don’t forget to duck!..........

Jo Adell thanks you for sticking with him this year..........


HOT STOVE ACTION AND OTHER RUMORS

Yasmani Grandal was signed off the shelf quickly, and aggressively, by the White Sox. 4 years, $73 million dollars (AAV of $18.25MM). This is why I don’t rosterbate much. We have had 8 episodes of “If I Were Billy Eppler” and not a single one went after Grandal to fix the black hole behind the plate in Anaheim. In fact, in all those presentations Grandal is barely even mentioned. So I am more akin to being a GM for some team that barely averages 70 wins over the past 5 seasons. Proof that I don’t know shit about this kind of stuff. But what I DO KNOW, is that we have a far more active off-season at our feet than the past couple of winters. I see that as an indication of the quality of players that comprise the market, and some meaningful relationship between those players and various team needs. Something is afoot if a Chicago White Sox is leading the charge...............

That something afoot with the White Sox, is afooting now in the general direction of Zack Wheeler. This is important, because it shows that one team really is serious about making shit happen, and happen fast before other teams figure their own shit out. And that team does not appear to be your team. That charge that I described the White Sox leading above? That included the Angels who, yes, ($$) were “in” on Grandal. Familiar territory. 2019 pre-season familiar...........But one might want to wonder: what is the difference between one 72-win team that paid $136MM to get there and missed out on making a serious run at Grandal, and another 72-win team that paid $83MM to get there and had no problem on-boarding Grandal?............

Grandal off the market makes for one huge step-down for anybody looking to improve at catcher. And, at the same time, that huge step-down will now cost an awful lot more than it would have on Wednesday..........And as you pivot to the suddenly redundant James McCann, consider that the White Sox don’t appear to be stupid. They know what they just did to the catcher market. McCann is gonna cost you..........

The total roundup of all the 40-man protection moves from Wednesday..........And a roundup of the stuff that was happening behind the scenes, obscured by all the 40-man maneuvering..........

Great comedic quote of the day: “Playing in New York is not for everybody. And maybe Gerrit Cole will thrive in New York. But if you told me, as the top free agent on the market, and I’m a West Coast guy, and the Dodgers and Angels are sitting there drooling over me. I’m probably going to look there before I look at the Yankees.” This was said by none other than Mark Teixeira. Without irony..........


ASSTROS NUTZ

MLB has officially announced that the scope of their investigation now stretches from 2017 through the 2019 season..............

A new YouTube video has come to the fore courtesy of the Internet Detective Agency. This one supposedly applies Artificial Intelligence to counter-analyze the Asstros analytics-driven heroes and seek out the whistling patterns. This ain’t trash can stuff and, yes, this is the World Series...........

(h/t reddit) Some insight into the controlling nature of Asstros owner Jim Crane................

A reminder that we open 2020 in Houston. And ESPN will be there..........And a little bit later when the Asstros hit the road, they start in Oakland. Where Mike Fiers might be pitching. And ESPN will be there..........

The Houston Front Office is draining. A year ago Mike Elias went to the Baltimore Orioles and took over as GM and immediately fired a bunch of FO employees. Very McKinsey of him. That worked out well as we all know, what with 108 losses and all. Yesterday it was announced that Eve Rosenbaum has decided to move from Houston to Baltimore. and become Director of Baseball Development. For the Asstros, she has been international scouting..........

That 2017 Wikipedia joke popped back up yesterday. So I went looking and, yup, there is a nice little wiki war going on behind the scenes......And it’s been going on with the World Series MVP wiki as well.............


BASEBALL THINGS IN GENERAL

A little more depth to the conversation about eliminating MLB affiliation with 42 lower-level MiLB teams. That “Dream League” thing is just silly conjecture. And MiLB is not going to lay down and just let MLB roll over them............

And Rob Manfred came out and walked through the official talking points to the press directly. But instead of shredding his B.S. myself, that work was done rather efficiently for me so I will just link you to that. And that point about stadium quality that Calcaterra makes is an excellent point. Manfred and crew are looking to shut down some of the finest MiLB stadiums in the country because they claim them to be sub-standard, while they make MLB players compete year after year in a ballpark that oozes raw sewage.................

The owners voted their approval of John Sherman to join their little club, as new owner of the Kansas City Royals.................

And, those same owners approved of Greg Johnson to take over as the new controlling owner of the Giants. This moves Larry Baer over one chair, which is how MLB owners dealt with one of their own being caught on camera “ in a physical altercation with his wife”...........

Derek Jeter might probably receive a unanimous election into the Hall of Fame. We should compare his vote totals to Scott Rolen, because facts..............

But, yeah, it IS time to start paying attention to HoF voting, as ballots are starting to become public. Ryan Thibodaux’s brilliant Tracker is right here. Jeter is on all 4 pulicized ballots so far, including the ballot of Steven “I used to work for Newsday and there is no world beyond New York” Marcus.............For example, Marcus does not know about a place called Colorado..............

Time to say goodbye to the careers of these baseball celebrities...........

Ken Griffey Jr. - JUNIOR! - just turned 50-years old. Yikes..........


STUFF

It truly is a valuable thing to remain consistently healthy over the course of a very long career. It helps even more when that career sits on top of an extremely talented cake of other players. It makes for awesome career counting accumulations, which tricks a lot of people into thinking this is what makes one great.........Detroit Tigers infielder Jody Mercer just broke the anthropological story of the past 300 centuries..........More evidence that baseball is woven right into the very fabric of life in America.............There are times when taking your ball and going home is precisely the right thing to do. Such as when you are a youth baseball ump and the stands are full of asshat parents...........

OT, but still sports interesting: On Wednesday ex-NFL kicker Fred Cox died. In the article reporting on Cox’s passing and history, Cox is tagged with being the inventor of the Nerf football. It was 1972 and there is a nice story about inventing something safe that kids could play with without leg injuries. He partnered with some guy named John Mattox and took the idea to Parker Brothers and the rest is immortality. That’s the ESPN story. Fun, heart-warming, and a testament to the inventiveness of one of sports’ greats. But one has to wonder about the ESPN research department, because that Nerf story is simply not true................You can do a search for “inventor of nerf football” and find nothing but the Cox myth, getting perpetuated everywhere. But search instead for “inventor of nerf football -cox” and you hit Toy Hall Of Fame inductee Reyn Guyer..............