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HumpLinks: Shohei May, or May not.

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Ohtani’s rehab curve could get him back into the lineup in May. Emphasizing could, there.

Anaheim Angels v San Francisco Giants Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

I know it’s only the DH/baserunning genius of Shohie Ohtani’s skill set, but having him back in the lineup just feels like it has more upside than Albert Pujols of Justin Bour at DH. This isn’t me dissing Pujols. it’s me admitting that I get a lot more excited and engaged to watch when Ohtani steps into the box. Like Mike Trout, Ohtani At Bats are must see. They are ‘get the hell out of my line of sight, Mr. peanut vendor waiting for change from soccer mom!’ moments. Or, if at home, they are my wife saying ‘so I was talking with...blah...blah...blah...blah...wait, is she still talking?’ moments.

Opening Day for the Angels is March 28, up in Oakland. The first game of May is May 1st, a home game against the Blue Jays. That will be Game #32. The last game of May is May 31st, up in Seattle. Game #58. Somewhere in there Skipper Brad is hoping that Ohtani in back in uniform. That would be anywhere between 20% of the way into the season, and 36%. 1/5th to 1/3rd. Now it feels like November all over again.

But for you, you are already behind because I am drowning you in ST-HaloLinks:


A Little Bit Of Angels News

Shots fired. If an MLB team is like any other human organization to which I have been exposed, there are tiers among the membership based on how closely each member aligns with the leadership. The further down the membership stack, the less aligned with leadership one happens to be. And the leadership rarely cares, because they don’t see their success or failure hinging on those distant members. Conversely, the higher up the stack, the greater the odds of being named “captain”. So you read this (if LAA and MLB allow it to remain posted) and immediately think “Hmmm, lower-level guy during the Scioscia era”. I think differently. As a former leader myself, I took pains to prevent such tiering within my department. It was tough, because my 27 reports were spread around the globe. Therefore, when I read this I think “Hmmm, Sosh was not quite the leader I had always presumed him to be.” In any case, Brad Ausmus is here to serve youth, and set them free. If MLB ain’t gonna pay ‘em, let’s make ‘em as happy as we can.............

(h/t reddit) In the latest twist to that ongoing saga of Disney trying to sell of the FOX RSN’s (which I have been following at the bottom of the Everywhere In Baseball section for months now, and this will teach you to stop ignoring them!) Fox Business is reporting that Arte Moreno is looking into the possibility of buying up some of those RSNs. Building a TV broadcast empire would grant Arte an outside revenue stream to match that of the Yankees. Not that he would spend it all on payroll, but it could easily fund a Mike Trout...........

Ok. I can be as silly and giddy as the next guy when it comes to the Halos. But Taylor Ward is the next Josh Donaldson??.........


Everywhere In Baseball

The Giants players, ironically, have risen to become one of the loudest voices showing frustration over the off-season. I say ironically because, as I pointed out yesterday, they are the poster children for franchises blowing it out on payroll with nothing to show for it (2nd highest payroll, 9th worst record). But at least Jeff Samardzija is coming to the table with suggestions. And at least those suggestions are not all about players at his seniority level.............

Derek Jeter is getting the band back together..........So now Verlander and Bumgarner and now Yelich can be pissy about TWO baseball players not paying baseball players..........

Tim Tebow, you are missing out on your athletic career hail mary..........

FanGraphs updates the kids the forecast on upcoming draft classes. Third in their series this week...........

J.T. Realmuto got traded. You knew that. I already linked to a stat review of the haul that Derek Jeter got back and that POV was less than enthusiastic. The older-school, human eyeball, pro scout POV (at least from one scout), thinks that the Marlins did real good. This is a good litmus test on the state of the art for both methodologies. Let’s follow............

This should be enlightening. Showtime is going to be broadcasting a 4-part documentary on the legalization of sports gambling. It starts way out at the end of March, too far out for me to set my DVR (yet). But it sounds like a great way to learn a few things..........


Hot Stove

Sorry Giants. Thanks for playing but, no, Bryce Harper shall not be entertaining shorter-term deals. Jon Heyman Scott Boras will not allow it...............And this happened right after Vegas put the Giants as odds-on faves to land Harper. Somebody betting against the Giants yesterday early is going to make an awful lot of money..........

Is there any leverage for Scott Boras in telling the world that Manny Machado’s offer from the White Sox is probably lower than rumored? No? I didn’t think so. So maybe this report from Heyman is trustworthy..........But if Manny Machado IS getting a rich offer from the Padres, and Boras feels that Harper deserves even more, then this stare down between megastars is going to keep dragging on.....For his part, Machado is doing a good job of trolling social media. If I were that famous and in such demand, I would enjoy having sport with the idjits of Twitter just as much!.........

Back in December Trader Jerry was in the middle of a huge 3-team deal that moved 5 players and lots of cash around the American league. In all that, Edwin Encarnación ended up in Seattle. Encarnación was receiving MVP courtesy votes as recently as 2017. But it ain’t 2017 any more and Edwin is set to cost somebody almost $22 million in 2019. Dipoto did not want that to be him, not when he has taken the Mariners into full tank mode (why do I capitalize the names of teams that are tanking? I need to stop showing them that level of respect). But, ha! Nobody wants to bail Trader Jerry out of his obligation. So I guess the fallback plan is to hope that Encarnacion busts back to his 2012 - 2015 form and draws some trade deadline love from a team just outside the playoff race (typing that with sweat on my brow)...........

Finally. I have been skewing this section with jabs about MiLB deals all month. Instead of crying about how many guys remained unsigned (since nobody is filtering out the guys who should be considering a change of venue), we should be noticing how many guys HAVE been signed, but to shitty contracts. Maybe having so many members potentially subject to the lifestyle that the MLBPA has allowed for minor league players will get the union to wake up and help out the farm players..............

Jacob deGrom is laying down the law. Sign me now or watch me follow in the glorious footsteps of HarpChado..........

Gerrit Cole goes to arb. This is how a tanking team’s window begins to close, when all those salaries start to pile up without having a plan for rebuilding planes in the air, success becomes hard to sustain. Let’s see how well Houston compares for the years following their WS title, versus how the Halos did through 2009...........

Sergio Romo signed a 1-year deal for $2.5 million plus incentives. But the REAL news is who signed him. The Marlins?..........

This is why the A’s are looking into using an Opener this season. They can’t shed Brett Anderson. It’s not that Anderson is horrible, it’s that he is not proven durable. He’s a starter who has faced as many as 700 batters in a season only twice. Oakland should sign Romo and use him as Anderson’s Opener..........

When BVW (or any FO person) opens their mouth to explain away a strong pursuit of HarpChado they do themselves no favors. Eppler and Moreno may want to fume when I write stuff like this but, truly EVERY SINGLE MLB FRANCHISE HAS THE FINANCIAL POWER TO AFFORD WITHER GUY. Every. Single. One. Most franchises have the wealth to afford BOTH. They choose to not spend their money that way. The players don’t like it, and I can understand. But they chose not to have a CBA in place that helps their cause and the owners are running their businesses in accordance with the opportunities granted to them. Saying, instead, that one’s roster is full is just stupid talk. Only the Red Sox, Brewers and Yankees have a better deal going on out in RF that Harper could bring, and every one of them would see an enormous upgrade at either SS or 3B with Machado. The Mets calling on Jed Lowrie as the reason that they aren’t interested in Machado?? The Red Sox saying they are happy to be competing without a bullpen? That’s like chum in the waters of collusion to union lawyers and agents. So just stop it, you guys. Just say it like it is: those players and their agents want to lock us up at a roster position for much longer than we want to be locked up. Happy to pay the millions, unhappy to be constrained for a decade at any of our 25 precious roster slots. Simple as that...........


The Duffle Bag

The big news out of the MLB Front Office yesterday is that the official MLB 150 year anniversary logo will feature the...er...um...official MLB logo...............If Bartolo Colon doesn’t hook up with anybody, the Montreal Expos finally died..........Simba find in MLB The Show..........I used to work in a 54-story building. I know this fear..........