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HumpLinks: Too Much Lighter Fluid in the Hot Stove!

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It’s the first week after baseball and the mills are already spinning furiously.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Oakland Athletics Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

THE HOT CORNER

We have this thing for Internet baseball writers who are outside of the BBWAA, called the IBWAA. Each year we get an Awards ballot and a Hall of Fame ballot. I went and compared the Awards ballot I submitted with the finalists named for the BBWAA awards. The BBWAA most things correct this year, but not all. Here are the places where they got it wrong:

In the AL MVP Finalist list they included Marcus Semien, a guy I loved all year. Obviously they have a strong resistor in place that drags down pitching, because I had Gerrit Cole. Yeah, I know, by many measures Cole was not even as good as Justin Verlander on his own team. Cole did lead the AL in ERA, strikeouts, ERA+, FIP, SO9. And he was only 9 innings pitched off the league lead. I am mostly hanging my hat on how Cole ran from June 14th on out. It was historic. He went on a tear of epic proportions and his dominance every 5th game was MVP worthy

In the AL CYA, I gave the 3rd Finalist spot to Lance Lynn instead of Charlie Morton. The two were close, but Morton was fading the last 2 months compared to Lynn so I flipped it to Lynn.

In the AL RoY the BBWAA handed their #3 Finalist spot to John Means instead of my choice of Cavan Biggio, I guess the BBWAA has no resistor in place for pitchers as rookies. I expect fans of a pitching starved LAA franchise to love a John Means over any other kind of rookie.

For AL Manager of the Year, I went with Bob Melvin where the BBWAA went with MFY Aaron Boone. Boone’s team won 6 more games than the A’s and did so with a lot of injuries, but Boone is riding shotgun on a team that was expected all season to be a strong enough franchise to knock off the Astros and Dodgers for the WS title. Nobody was saying that about the A’s.

Over in the National League, the BBWAA likes what Craig Counsell did with the Brewers. I preferred what Dave Martinez was doing with the Nationals. As the playoffs rolled on, more people started to hop on board the Martinez bandwagon but by then it was too late.

Finally, for NL CYA, neither myself nor the BBWAA favored a Patrick Corbin or Stephen Strasburg as a Top 3 (I had them 4 and 5, respectively, because we get to submit 5 names). For some reason I can no longer explain, I went with Walker Buehler and the BBWAA went with Hyun-Jin Ryu. There can be no explanation other than I was absolutely correct when I did that back then. If anybody can figure out why please let me know.


ANGELS

I didn’t check back through recent history. You guys got this news that Mike Gallego is Joe Maddon’s new bench coach, right? Maybe it was Gallego who was the magic up there in Oakland and not any of those other guys?...........

Kole Calhoun thanks you. I’d like to thank Kole right back. It’s a crappy outcome, but inevitable when a franchise has a Jo Adell rising quickly and a Calhoun rising in cost but not rising in parallel productivity. Had Kole been more productive, and across an extended period, Billy Eppler would have had a chance to get some player talent back in exchange for all the years under the halo. Kole is out of a job (but will hook up somewhere on a 1-year deal). We lose Calhoun for free (but open up a roster spot for Adell in the near future)............

And about that Jo Adell fella. He is still killing it..........


HOT STOVE ACTION AND OTHER RUMORS

Qualifying Offers were extended to 10 players. Gerrit Cole gifts a draft pick back to the Astros. Stephen Strasburg gifts a draft pick back to the Nationals. Zack Wheeler gifts a draft pick back to the Mets. Madison Bumgarner gifts a draft choice back to the Giants. Why did I pluck those out? To alert you to the paucity of top-level picks that will be available for Eppler when we get to June...........Or, consider the Nationals. They will lose TWO players with QO’s in Strasburg and Anthony Rendon. That gives them some draft advantage towards signing 2 guys who opt out of QO’s, such as Madison Bumgarner and Zack Wheeler, right?..........

To nobody’s surprise, J.D. Martinez is perfectly happy with his current contract and will NOT be opting out, making the Red Sox financial life any easier. Don’t expect that this means Martinez is a lock for the 2020 Boston roster. The Red Sox will still have him at the top of their list of options to reduce payroll. He now becomes a hot trade rumor and the White Sox, for one team, totally covet him..........And the same thing is to be said about Jake Arrieta. He also is opting IN...........

The Cubs are hanging on to Anthony Rizzo..........The Yankees are keeping Aroldis Chapman and that might have tax threshold implications..........And the Braves are holding on to both Nick Markakis and Tyler Flowers using some contract trickery. Markakis and Flowers stay in Atlanta, still get the same amount of money over the next 12 months, while Atlanta frees up $4 million towards 2020 payroll allocations..........

It seems like only yesterday that Didi Gregorious was lined up to be a MFY cornerstone. He gone, and he gone with no strings attached..........

Beware the availability of Julio Teheran..........

The Cardinals are an above-average team in terms of success. And they like the stability of that. So much so that they are packaging up their leadership into an act of parallel contract extensions. President, GM and Manager.........

You might end up getting Gerrit Cole, but Houston Astros owner Jim Crane is going to make sure that his divisional rival pay for Cole through the nose. As if Scott Boras needed any help..........And if a Stephen Strasburg is coming home to SoCal, the Padres will be more than happy to trump Arte and the Dodgers. Strasburg was born and raised in San Diego, by the way.........

Joe Girardi is the new manager of the Phillies and not the Mets because, well, Brodie Van Wagenen is intimidated by Joe Girardi........... ($$) - Carlos Beltran got the gig because he lunches well on the Upper East Side..........(The Mets’ GM needs to tighten up his professionalism just a tad.)...........

We finally figured out what the Royals were doing with their open manager position. They were hoping to one day grow up and be just like the Cardinals..........


BASEBALL THINGS IN GENERAL

The Modern Baseball Era Committee has released the names of the fix-it ticket recipients for Hall Of Fame worthiness. Marvin Miller, Lou Whitaker and Ted Simmons in that order. Full stop. The rest of that Yankee/Red Sox/Dodger shit can take a seat...........

On this I think we can all agree. MLB needs a salary floor. or rather, every single team needs to have a salary floor...........

Super Two date has been lowered to 115 days...........

($$) - Branching out from The Atlantic League and coming to a Minor League stadium near you, Rob Manfred is rolling out RoboUmps..............

($$) - FOX Sports is also looking at upgrading the umpires, possibly bringing one into their broadcasts..........

And I wonder. Will someday we be reading about how MLB has failed to install the most accurate RoboUmp system for the playoffs/World Series?..........

This is fun. The Nationals’ World Series championship was for everyone. I suppose that it because “everyone” now joined us here in the AL West and hates the Astros? Blame yourselves, everyone, because the Astros built themselves using all the tools you gave them and all the loopholes you left exposed............

One could say “Hinch Didn’t Blow It – The Nats Won It”. One could also say “Hinch failed to use the best pitcher on his staff at the highest leverage moment of the final game of the World Series, and we will never know how the Nats could have handled that.”..........

World Series games lasted as long as they did because...commercials + playoff game + additional pitcher dawdling. The upside down excuse supporting pitcher dawdling just slays me: “It’s no wonder the union has pushed back against pitch-clock proposals that would disproportionately penalize one class of employee for the league’s relatively unimportant business interest”. Uh, let’s expose the bullshit there. It’s one class of employees who have created this problem which threatens to ruin the market viability of the entire business! Should the other 9 classes of position specialists (including DH) see their livelihoods threatened because of the emotional persnicketies of 1 class?...........

Baseball no longer has any multi-use stadiums. No more football players getting tackled on the infield dirt. No more carving off and replacing the pitchers mound. All that work was a pain in the ass, really..........

Will Yoenis Cespedes ever play MLB baseball again? Who knows? The Mets certainly do not..........

Life can be a bitch, and baseball is not fair. Being a god of the regular season does not protect you from being a goat of October............

I make note of this because The Mothership is now worried. When I was a young lad The Great Fear was of corporations buying up media outlets and using them to advance corporate interests instead of providing unbiased information as a public service. In reality, we have corporations buying up media outlets and everybody getting all upset because the information being generated fails to be biased. Who’d a thunk?..........


STUFF

Live TV, because TV news just thinks real life is their version of My Little Pony.............Millennials are killing the World Series trophy..........Rhys Hoskins needs new friends..........We got jobs! The Padres are looking for a decent UI coder.....The Indians are looking for an area scout. For what area? I don’t know. maybe Greenland.....The Rangers seek a math whiz to pay them for the privilege of working for an MLB team.....Of those, I would recommend that San Diego gig..........Christian Yelich just likes beer brewed in vats the size of aircraft carriers...........Very well done..........