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WeekEnd HaloLinks: Trout Heaven

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The Historic Polar Vortex rolls over Millville, while Trout preps for desert sunshine.

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Boston Red Sox v Anaheim Angels Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

The Midwest starts to thaw out from their historic freeze, grateful that it is now warm enough to simply start snowing again. Now the remains of that frozen belt gets to buckle the Northeast. That is Mike Trout territory. Single digit temps have hit the region already. What we need is more weathermen to keep us posted. But, with position players down to their last couple of weeks before reporting in Tempe, now is not the time for Mike to be running around in his GORE-TEX chasing the vortex. Let’s hope he and friends are already out here in the warm and wet Southwest.

Yesterday was a big birthday date for MLB. Jackie Robinson, Ernie Banks, Nolan Ryan...Tommy LaStella??? BBR shows 59 Major League baseball players having been born on January 31. Nolan Ryan has the most career bWAR with 81.8. Ernie Banks is 2nd with 67.5 and the great Jackie Robinson is 3rd with 61.4. All three of those guys are in the Hall of Fame. Somewhat further down the list is our own Tommy La Stella with 1.1. Tommy might not be a Hall of Famer, but he sure does keep good company. Oh, by the way, Seattle’s one-time hopeful Yunieski Betancourt (out of MLB since 2013) is at the bottom with -2.0 bWAR.

Back to the Stirrups Grand Promotional Overhaul Plan —

BOBBLEHEAD MANIA: People love their bobbleheads. But they don’t love ALL bobbleheads. They love GETTING all bobbleheads. Crowds on bobblehehad nights prove that out. But I troll the thrift and antique stores all over SoCal with the missus and I find LAA bobbleheads surrendered for the taking, everywhere. I find them outside of SoCal, too, by the way. Even as far as Salem, Mass. But there is a common thread to those I see people happy to part with. Those are the ones that are just a player, standing on a pad, smiling and wobbling. No offense to the player, but their adoration is rarely long-lasting. Even for players, bobbleheads need a gimmick. Unique bobbleheads are NEVER resold on thrift store shelves. So here are some free out of the box ideas for bobblehead giveaways.

How about a Big A bobbleclock? Not the stadium, but the “A”......We could do a throwback California Angels bullpen bobble cart - that is rechargeable and remote controlled!.....We have a Mike Trout, of course. He’s our own annual superhero. But this one is Mike the weatherman, and the bobble is a tornado. Having a thermometer as part of it wouuldn’t be a bad idea, either.....And then we can do Ohtani. But Shohei is a two-way phenom, so we should have a dual bobble in one, with bobble Shohei the pitcher pitching to bobble Shohei the DH.....If we are going to have a dual bobble, we can also do Victor and Gubi, both bobbing. With an AM radio inside that is tuned to AM830.....Marvel superheroes, with removable helmets and reveal different LAA players. (This is where we load up with Andrelton Simmons and Justin Upton and...well...Albert Pujols I suppose.). Yeah. We say goodbye to Star Wars. Hopefully before Disney gets to Episode LIII.....And, finally, for the more traditional, we could do launch a Legends Series, something that stretches across every season. Start with The Cowboy himself, working through the great names who played under the Halo. Each would have an upscale base which would house an audio track and when the owner pushes a button some memorable event is played. Autry could sing, one of Ryan’s no-hitter, Carew’s 3000th hit, Reggie’s 500th home run, Erstad makes the catch, etc.

There. Years worth of bobblehead ideas that do not exist anywhere. Most are interactive. Halos win.

Now let’s soak up a weekend’s worth of Super-Bawling-HaloLinks:


A Little Bit Of Angels News

After his most recent progress check-up, the medical staff confirms that Shohei Ohtani won’t be ready for DH duty by Opening Day............

Billy Eppler: “The outfield was pretty much the only area that we didn’t really address...” Because Matt Harvey + Trevor Cahill + Dillon Peters = playoffs!............

You might consider Mike Trout to be the greatest player ever to don the jersey number of 27. You might now be suspicious that I am leading you into a dialog about Vladimir Guerrero. Instead, I am going to remind you about Scott Rolen. To date, Rolen is still is the player with the best career who wore #27 at least once. BBR proves this out. (Rolen is still 5.88 bWAR ahead of Trout). But here is where things deceive. Trout has ONLY worn #27. Rolen’s career lasted from 1996 through 2012, and he only wore #27 for a part of 2002 through 2007. 25.9 bWAR in that jersey number...........


Everywhere In Baseball

Jackie Robinson Centennial..........

Arbitration hearings have commenced. Wouldn’t it be extremely interesting to watch all of the arb panels decide in favor of all the players?............

Nolan Arenado and the Rockies avoided their arb hearing. They reached a settlement for a new record, 1-year $26 million deal..........

Oh crap. The Rangers are going to force Mike Trout to play on artificial turf when the new stadium that the owners bilked out of the public coffers finally opens............

The Red Sox got their World Series title. The Red Sox have a huge payroll that they apparently can no longer afford. The Red Sox have a crop of young talent that will keep on requiring significant raises in order to retain. And, to do all that, the Red Sox have turned their farm system into a swamp...........

Last year: “Why won’t anybody sign Eric Hosmer?”...This year: Eric Hosmer represents the worst contract on the San Diego Padres..........

Kyler Murray can’t make up his mind. Why won’t any sports league claim Kyler Murray? This can only mean that Roger Goodell and Rob Manfred are colluding!!..........

Deadspin really chews in to how things got to where they are now concerning the CBA, and relations between the players and owners. There is some excellent meat on the bone there, for those of you too young to have been sitting through it all. Except for one teensy-weensy little omission. That would be the way that the union has rolled over and played dead on money and contract issues in recent cycles in order to worry more about things like personal comforts...........

One can spend all the time they wish trying to figure out which stat best predicts a Hall of Fame induction. It’s an interesting mental exercise for the winter. But until stats take into account things such as character clauses and bonehead voters, I am not going to agree........

I rag on the MLBPA all time concerning their disregard for MiLB players. Sheryl Ring at FanGraphs looks at the attempts by MLB to exempt their employees (minor league players called to training camp for evaluation - what MLB lawyers want to describe as trying to make the team) from AZ voter-enacted minimum wage laws. And she suspects that the MLBPA might finally be charting a new course..........

Service time manipulation seems like something easy for the MLBPA to fix. The current service time calculation method is laboriously complex. I refuse to believe that the lawyers who argued over it could do the math even with their calculators. Simplifying the language leads to simplifying the terms. That closes loopholes. The MLBPA ignored the opportunity completely in the last CBA. This season might be the trigger that lights their fire...........

Service time also bites the butt of a lost generation of retired MLB vets. We heard about Micah Bowie already this week. meet another guy who slipped through a crack only 37 days wide, David Clyde. When you think about how the population of these guys is evaporating over time, and how much money MLB and MLBPA have now, and how little the modern baseball players are going to need out of pension funds in the future, this is an easy fix and one that comes with a lot of public goodwill. But you already know that I think that the leadership of MLB and MLBPA are idiots...........


Hot Stove

“Why isn’t anyone bidding for Bryce Harper??”, asks the New York Times (That’s an article to which I linked earlier this week).....Because, you dumbass NYT writer, you are projecting your ignorance and choosing to ignore the fact that the Bryce Harper sweepstakes is down to four teams........One of those teams is the Padres, who are traveling to Las Vegas to meet with him, and taking along with them the Padres owner reps, just in case............

RHP Brandon Maurer signs a minor league deal with the Pirates.....It occurs to me that minor league deals are rather pernicious. If you want to point a finger at greed, start here. Remember that MiLB players are outside the league minimum wage rules of the CBA, and not protected by the union......

Wade Miley. Astros. 1-year, $4.5 million with $500K in incentives. That would be about 1.7 Cody Allens with fewer questions at less than half the price..........

We probably need to extend out hot topic of the hot stove meme from HarpChado to HarpChadoMuto. Because a trade for J.T. Realmuto is actually the third biggest coming seismic quake of our winter..........

In the old days, a trade by the Dodgers to snatch a Corey Kluber would have been a no-brainer. These ain’t the old days. My best guess is that the modeling tools being used by the LAD whiz boys places far more value in the cost-versus-production projections for their farm prospects, than it does in the recently declining efficiency of a 32-year old proven superstar in his last year of contract control. I would hope that their models would discard Kluber’s amazing 2017 as an outlier and see that as the explanation for why he appears to be in decline, when he is still a stud. And I would then hope that they recall that prospects are nothing more than promises until they are proven. It looks, instead, as if they think that winning a game or 3 in the World Series every year is an entitlement..........


The Duffle Bag

Oakland going with the white elephant sale promo for their ST caps...........Job Postings! The Giants are looking for an operations analyst.....But the Dodgers are looking for a -hoo boy! - Quantitative Analyst.....You will notice that I always post stuff about analytics openings. that’s because over the past few years I have been showcasing the math trends in FO’s. Teams ARE looking for more than those jobs, however. The Angels, for example, are looking for a bathroom attendant.........Thank you, UniWatch: a scratch off baseball stadium chart. It really works, but for my money it’s more fun to leave the mystery unrevealed forever.........66ers are going Looney Tunes..........