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WeekEnd HaloLinks: One Last Trip Around The Bases

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A final roundup of baseball news from yours truly.

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TIM SALMON ANGELS

THE HOT CORNER

Let us all raise a pint to the end of a chapter.

I started writing articles here at the request of Rev almost a decade ago. I had been commenting since about a year after the SBN conversion and he saw something in my writing that he deemed worthy of a larger role. He gave me that initial voice, for which I shall remain eternally grateful. After a little bit of false starts I did a Friday article that I tried to stuff with as much stuff as possible to tide the community over to Mondays. Then I realized that nobody was doing anything on Mondays, so I took that up, as well.

Things went swimmingly until 2015. In April of that year we had #cesspool, and by May as the masthead collapsed and reorganized I had assumed the duty of every weekday. At first it was just to keep the community stitched together and give time to heal a little bit. It wasn’t too long before I felt that I had turned myself into a fixture and that I could not safely walk back from my commitment without impacting everyone. I had established an unwritten contract with you all, and I was honor bound to keep to it.

It was fantastic to see the rise of contributors once again, and especially the keen contributions when I needed to park a DIY Links bucket and so many stepped up and did great things. I was able to slap myself back awake and admit that what I have been doing is do-able by lots of others, some of whom might be pretty eager to gain a voice. “Halos in DE” first and foremost.

So, for a while now I have felt pretty good about that point in the future when my Links would come to an end. The community is strong enough and vibrant enough and diverse enough to sustain itself just fine with or without what I personally have been doing. Lots of others can do what I do. Lots of others can do something else with the slot that I have been filling. Lots of others can find ways to inform and inspire discussions in other ways than I have been doing. We had grown this kaffeeklatsch into about 5000 page views a day. We have been successful. It’s a very fine thing.

The only part of my life plan that changed is the due date. It was going to be Friday, December 31, 2021. The fast-moving world of business and the ever-evolving world of government oversight altered those plans and here we are today: the last edition of my version of The Best Damned Daily MLB News Roundup on the Internet. It comes on a Friday, December 20, 2019. And I sincerely thank each and every single one of you, even those who told me to leave them alone (you know who you are!). Vaya con Dios!

It is finished.

Fuck.


ANGELS

Billy Eppler is working to fix the LAA rotation starting from the back, and working forward. Julio Teheran was signed to a 1-year deal for $9 million. Decent thing, not to be dismissed. He eats innings, and if you combine his ERA+ across innings pitched, he is the best arm this rotation has seen since Garrett Richards back in 2014..........

Jack Santora is rising through the MiLB ranks of LAA. He has just been named manager of the IE 66’ers..........

Mike Trout, a Top 5 baserunner among all MLB players of the 2010’s also ranks as a Top 5 Slugger............

Shohei Ohtani is finished with TJ rehab. He opens in Cactus League Stadiums everywhere coming this February...........


HOT STOVE ACTION AND OTHER RUMORS

Billy Eppler is back to chatting with Team Ryu and Team Keuchel. At this point in the offseason that is not news. And at this point in Billy Eppler’s career, talking to obvious targets is not meaningful information. But it’s what we got.............

Since Cleveland opened the door and allowed shoppers inside, things have gotten more fun for hot stove followers. Trevor Bauer went off to Texas and proved that the Indians are willing to deal, so we have teams looking to nab Francisco Lindor. First it was hard towards the Dodgers. Now Lindor is being assessed by the Reds...........(Do we need to start thinking about the Reds in the 2020 playoffs?)..........

And while those doors are open, why not ask about Mike Clevinger?..........

Justin Smoak is not a particularly great player.....It’s possible to compare him favorably against an equally unimpressive Eric Hosmer.....It’s just that every time I was in attendance against Seattle or watching a Seattle game on TV, Smoak would do that one good thing he would do all week and it would hurt the Halos. Smoak is now a Brewer. 1-year, $5 million.........

Beelzebub is sipping ice tea this week. A Major League Baseball Player agreed to take a pay cut. Yeonis Cespedes agreed to lower his 2020 salary from $29.5 million guaranteed, to only $10 million. This makes it far more likely that the Mets can trade him away. Apparently, Cespedes and the MLBPA realized that the Mets had a solid case against him for violating his contract in the manner of how he injured himself. I don’t recall ever reading what he was doing down there on his ranch that caused the injury, but supposedly it had nothing to do with horses..........


BASEBALL THINGS IN GENERAL

“Minor league baseball is for everyone.” If ever there was a single sentence which exposes the most powerful marketing channel to remain engaged with future generations of potential fans, this sentence is it...........

($$) - Another team on the MLB hit list: Bluefield, West Virginia. “It’s part of growing up,” [current Toronto Blue Jay catcher Danny] Jansen said. “It’s part of learning. It’s your first taste of pro ball. I’m never going to forget it. We had a great team, great manager. The people there loved it. Some of them come every single night, man. I wouldn’t change anything.”..........

If MLB DID walk away from MiLB, what would they do to replace it? Well, for one thing, they are arrogant enough to think that they can simply flip to some independent leagues and nobody is going to notice that all the stadiums got worse and all the travel got worse and none of the pay got better and none of the food got better...........

Ok, so now let’s roll back around and look at this issue, and all the details, in a far more serious manner. Sheryl Ring (lawyer) walks us through a brilliantly linked overview and walks us towards one possible solution. I recommend bookmarking this article so that you have something to fall back on in the coming months. I use the term “overview” because certainly there are whole chapters of details to this issue. But this piece does introduce some compelling data points that are not commonly discussed or written about. For one, I did not know that MiLB teams pay MLB for the use of their players. When you do the math on how much MLB would save by cutting 25% of MiLB salaries, and add back the MiLB fees to MLB, we are talking about only $5 million savings for MLB per year. But that is close enough, when combined with the Congressional support MLB has to suppress MiLB wages, that it becomes possible for MLB to re-engineer MiLB into a new revenue stream. Ring also notes that until this moment, MiLB was complicit with MLB in suppressing player pay. MiLB is not really on the players’ side. So she walks us all towards the conclusion that the optimal way to prevent the coming mess is for an existing union, such as the Service Employees International Union which is not beholden to protecting senior union membership, step in and unionize the MiLB players immediately, giving them a voice in all this............

Gerrit Cole got himself a monster contract. Historically monster. Like 10th most monstrously if adjusting everybody into 2019 dollars. Yeah. Only 10th! And for people who want to call Arte “cheap”, click and go red the article. He is paying the 6th AND 7th largest contracts, ever. At the same time. And only 1 of the 5 larger contracts are to a player still playing. Well, kinda playing............

Hey Yankees! About that big money contract you are giving to Gerrit Cole? Yeah, no. You do not get to trick Jacoby Ellsbury into paying the first couple of seasons of that............

Billy Beane is also not a fan of the three-batter minimum. I am beginning to think it’s not going to make a huge difference in any direction. It’s not going to shave many minutes off the average game lengths, and not going to have a big overall impact on LOOGYs

All of human civilization is riding a wave of accelerating force that is hurtling towards some unknown shore. If you do not know how waves work, they are rather shallow and broad and difficult to measure out in the open sea, but they become compressed as they approach a rising land mass and they swell up and rise into the air and all that pent up energy bashes the shit out of the shore, grinding ricks into grains of sand. Think of all that energy over time as a hockey stick. We are all riding the hockey stick. It’s not just climate change, it’s everything. More shit is going on through the most recent 10 years than over the balance of human history. Next year that number might be 9. And baseball is not exempt. Even as we settle in to the notion that Front Offices have finally absorbed the analytics movement and information is becoming weaponized within the sport, baseball analysts are already taking their talents and branching back out from baseball and off into broader social services. That is a breathtaking realization. You just got comfortable with the state of analytics in baseball, and the analysts are already moving off to the next big thing..........

That swoosh coming to the chest of MLB players everywhere? $1 billion to MLB..........

Hmmm. Maybe I was right and never wanted MLB access at all. I thought it was simply because I didn’t want to have to lick any boots to tell my stories. Apparently it was because there are a lot of weird and shitty interactions and behaviors that must be overcome just to do a job..........(h/t reddit)...........

Cliff Lee. Not a Hall of Famer, just a guy who was really really good and didn’t want to play for the Angels..........

Hmmm. Jet fighter pilot or having to earn a living striking out Mike Trout? Yeah, Noah Song, take the fighter pilot gig. Lots easier............

A massively brilliant set of photos. The first shot is a cool black and white of the original Yankee Stadium and the last vestige of The Polo Grounds (probably a football game going on in the pic, as the Giants were in San Francisco by then). But one of the comments is a Google link close to the same view today. New Yankee Stadium next to the lot where there is an open baseball field where the original Yankee Stadium once stood, and in the background you can see the Polo Grounds Towers where The Polo Grounds stadium used to be............


STUFF

Aloha right back at ya, Burlington!. eyespy will be well pleased............Have a job: StatCast Analytics intern..........Note to self: Do NOT go posturing in front of Zack Greinke...........My math actually says 2241 At Bats. I have Derek Jeter’s career OBP at .3772091 and Barry Bonds at .4442946. Adding another 2242 AB’s sets Bonds at .3771894 while only 2241 keeps him at .3772148. Yeah, that’s some Major League quibbling. But who’s counting?

OT: The Top 10 Sports Announcing Bloopers of the 2010s..........