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MondoLinks: AL West is Getting Best-ish

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MLB talent is flowing into our division. Billy Eppler is working up hill.

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Albie Pearson;Bill Rigney Photo by Ralph Crane/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

THE HOT CORNER

Something to think about. The AL West is getting pretty damned good. Trader Jerry must be on some kind of leash because he has been extraordinarily quiet, but the Astros are the AL champs, the A’s were a WC team, the Angels and Rangers are gathering serious talent.

The AL East has the Yankees, of course, and the Rays will always be there. The AL Central has the Twins and maybe the White Sox are choosing to rise as soon as this year. The AL West might end up second only to the NL East in divisional strength.

We need to keep this in mind. We could add 2 more great pitchers and a pretty good catching staff and still find ourselves facing down 57 games of fierce, playoff-caliber, games.

Personally, I want to be facing down those 57 games with 2 more great pitchers and a pretty good catching staff. And I would want those things in place so that I could enjoy my holiday seasons. But then I have a different level of urgency than people paid to actually be doing this shit.

But, in the end, Billy Eppler is rolling the stone up hill. That’s a task that does not have a very good history.


ANGELS

Soooo, the Angels won the favor of Anthon Rendon over the Dodgers because of that whole Magic Johnson thing? Ironic.............


HOT STOVE ACTION AND OTHER RUMORS

3:52 PM · Dec 14, 2019 = Interesting competition for #IndiansKluber, sources tell The Athletic. #Angels cautiously optimistic..........

4:48 PM · Dec 14, 2019 = #Angels out on Kluber source tells The Athletic..........

Notice how quick that went. The Angels were “in” on a Corey Kluber trade for about 56 minutes. I imagine that this conversation between Billy Eppler and Cleveland GM Mike Chernoff went something like: ring...ring...ring....”Hello, Billy! Thanks for calling. Have you thought about that deal we spoke of in San Diego?”.....”Uh, yeah Mike. And we are good with Rengifo plus Thaiss plus Sandoval.”.....”Um, yeah Billy, about that. We looked around and have other offers that we feel better about. We want Marsh”.....”We spoke about that, Mike. Brandon is a no-go. We are keeping Marsh. Thanks anyway. Good luck.”...<click>...Mike Chernoff to his team: “Shit. Looks like we are stuck with Delino DeShields and Emmanual Case from the Rangers. At least we get to dump Kluber’s salary.”..........

The next thing Cheroff says out loud: “I wonder how the world will see this deal?” Ummm, let me warn you, Mike.......Not so good.....Not so good at all..........

Madison Bumgardner is no longer a possibility. He joins an ever lengthening list of potential pitching upgrades for the Halos which have become no longer a possibility.....Bumgarner signed a 5-year, $85 million deal withe the Diamondbacks. $15 million per year feels pretty light, and most certainly should be well within whatever budget Arte has given to Eppler. Maybe they don’t want a lefty. Maybe they see 5 years on an arm running out of gas as a bad yet..........

MLB Free Agent guys jumping into overseas contracts instead of waiting to get dicked around by MLB Front Office strategies? (A) I will believe it when I see Kole Calhoun do it, and (B) These are the kinds of guys that MLB Front Offices are not going to miss anyway, so current math does not reward MLB 03-something middle class players. If anything, getting a contract quick and getting out of the USA creates one less player languishing and causing public relations embarrassment...........


ASSTROS NUTZ

The Asstros have confessed to cheating, although the confession is laced with “we didn’t do anything anybody could have done” (“they denied that any special cameras were installed”) and “we thought everybody was doing it” (“in line with industry standards”)............

Clayton Kershaw on the Asstros cheating during the 2017 MLB playoffs: “...when technology comes into play, if that is really true, it sucks. Unless we get to win the World Series, I don’t really care what the punishment is. But it does suck, no matter what.”..........


BASEBALL THINGS IN GENERAL

If there is one thing that economic bullies do not stand for, it’s the idea of being bullied right back. Not satisfied with just whining that MLB was caught in a bad P.R. spot due to all the backlash against their intention of gutting MiLB to save themselves a few bucks, Rob Manfred realized that the whining was not working and went back into battle with a full scorched policy: bow to our demands or be eliminated from earth completely. And don’t you just love the tactic that MLB is threatening to use. “If you don’t bow we shall be forced to take our baseballs and find some other city waiting in the wings for the fantastic opportunity to pay for all our capital and operating expenses.” And where have we heard this one before? It’s as if they still believe this is their One Magic Bullet for getting their way. Wouldn’t it be funny if the Rob Manfred legacy is the he was the commissioner who finally figured out how to piss off Congress enough to inspire Congress to strip MLB of the anti-trust exemption?..........

The officially bad MLB Front Office messaging has made it out to all the franchises, something that I would surmise to have been an important private meeting recently in San Diego. A baseball executive wants to go “toe-to-toe” with Bernie Sanders on money matters? These guys couldn’t go “toe-to-toe” with me and win this argument. They want to spew about “poor facilities” when they are targeting some of the finest and most modern MiLB stadiums in America, AND they still play in a ballpark that spews raw sewage. They want to improve MiLB player pay but just lobbied Congress to eviscerate any expectations an MiLB player might have for even making a minimum wage. They want to argue in favor of all the things they could afford to do on behalf of the 75% of the players remaining if they got to stop paying 25% of the players they employ now, but the amount of money that 25% of players now cost amounts to one Keynan Middleton, or about 8/100’s of 1% of the most recent valuation of the Kansas City Royals..........

($$) - For how long have you felt that the Albert Pujols contract was the worst one in baseball? You think that because of the delta between what Pujols has delivered versus what he was paid, right? Well, to expose just how brainwashed you are to think in favor of baseball owners, here is an interesting twist. Joe Posnanski takes us on a journey of these contracts, made more telling by the recent Gerrit Cole mega-deal. Lots of folks want to walk away and warn of how bad that contract will look down the road. What the Winter Meetings’ big contracts can tell us about baseball today. But no, by those exact same standards the worst contract in MLB in 2019 was that of Juan Soto. Sot’s season was worth about $36 million (Fan Graphs bucks). He was actually paid $578,300. That’s a $35.4MM gulf, far far wider than that of Pujols’. Remember, the metric is the delta between what a player delivered versus what he was paid. The worst contracts are pretty most all on the players’ side...........

The Rangers new stadium in Arlington - which the Halos shall open when they reveal to the world Anthony Rendon the third baseman that the Rangers did not get - yeah that stadium caught fire all by it’s lonesome over the weekend...........

Because the Sacrifice Fly Rule has not always been what it is today..........

($$) - Poor MLB Front Office personnel. We fans just don’t understand all the agony they suffer as they labor over keyboards and lattes.....“People might say they don’t understand this trade from the team’s perspective, but the team has spent many hours talking through the trade and thinking about how this will benefit us, but the public is quick to be like, I don’t understand why they traded that guy,” said one front-office executive. “It’s a combination of player evaluation and also general roster construction. Sometimes a trade will happen because you need someone to play a position in Triple-A.”.....To which I say, it’s not the public’s fault that they can discern a crap move in seconds, and a crap move is a crap move regardless of how long it takes to try and talk you way into believing that it ain’t a crap move. Most of the time, it’s the obvious that is true.....(By the way, don’t you love that line about needing to get a guy to fill a necessary spot on a AAA roster? It’s as if Minor League baseball is important or something.)..........

Yahoo! layoffs. Just because you are on the Internet does not mean you are guaranteed a success.........


STUFF

Josh Donaldson is a good son. Not a great son, though. A great son would have bought the Gran Turismo, or waited until May and got her the Modena.............That Babe Ruth 500th home run bat was auctioned off in Laguna Niguel this past weekend. A cool $1 million.........Trevor Bauer has a point. “Rob Manfred is trying to ruin baseball at all levels.”...........