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Thor’sLinks: Tempe Turns Red

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Players take the field, Rex takes the photos, and I’m green with envy.

Anaheim Angels v Oakland Athletics Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Not a single thing could I type that could convey the wondrous return of baseball as well as these things. So I will just shut up and let you enjoy.

Turn the sound up..........

Turn the sound up..........

Turn the sound up..........

Turn the sound up..........

No need for sound here. Enjoy Rex Fregosi brightening your day..........

There. Now let’s move on to Tempe-HaloLinks:


A Little Bit Of Angels News

Some Words of Wisdom from Shohei Ohtani (a guy who remains VERY popular) - Once he knew he need TJ surgery and accepted his fate, he had a choice. He could miss a month at the end of 2018 or miss a month at the start of 2019. The difference was that by the end of 2018 he was in a groove, and improving against MLB pitching. Why throw that away and start cold all over again to get back into a groove in 2019? Shohei took advantage of the competitive window while it was hot, and there for the taking. “I think that’s ultimately going to help this season. I might miss the first month, but in the long run I think it’s going to help myself and the team.”.............

Shohei says more stuff here, but the audio on Ippei is so weak I just sat there and enjoyed the Ohtani porn..........

Some Words of Wisdom from Matt Harvey. To paraphrase: “Yeah, These past few years I sucked.”..........

Welcome to the big chair, Skipper Brad.....You made a good first impression on Ohtani..........

Welp. My rose-colored glasses concerning the health of our starting rotation did not survive the first 24 hours. Nick Tropeano announced shoulder a shoulder set back over winter..........

Zack Cozart had a very long off-season. I mentioned this the other day, that this is an odd-numbered year. Look at his numbers during odd years versus even years. You heard it from me (the Prognosticative Kiss Of Death, by the way): 2019 Comeback Player of the Year watch..........

We had the national press in Tempe yesterday (along with the foreign press, for certain). Bob Nightengale himself. And his big scoop is that Skipper Brad is not going to be anybody else...........

(By the way, why do I keep using “Skipper Brad”? I just can’t help myself.)..........

Victor’s merch has a decidedly vintage flavor to the graphic designs. When I look at this one, the old Atlanta Crackers logo leaps to mind...........


Everywhere In Baseball

FanGraphs Prospect Week marches on. Their Top 100. Search for ‘LAA’..............

Oh jeez. Biometric scanning to get into a ballpark??? “MLB is so pre-occupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” (Go get ‘em, Malcolm!). Seriously, go watch this. Putting the data that would be your personal fingerprints and facial structures up into that realm where (in time) it will result in real value to companies and governments and bad guys alike, none of whom have to involve you in any of the ways that are positive but can all attack you in all the ways that are negative, just to see a baseball game (and pay them to see it!) is a really really bad idea. And, really, MLB is only doing this so that they can control secondary markets for tickets..........

Maybe Alex Bregman ain’t such a bad guy..........

Dice-K (over in Japan) with the first freak injury report of the 2019 ST season..........

In the discussion over moving or lowering the mound, facts suggest that this is a barn door already left open long enough. Pitching velocities have peaked, anyway..........

The Cubs will be launching their own Chicago sports network, as expected. They are partnering with Sinclair to create Marquee Sports Network. Set to start in 2020. Let’s just say that Sinclair is an interesting choice for a franchise looking to grow territory..........

Arte Moreno may have a major competitor for his bid to buy some of those FOX RSN’s. That competitor would be the other 29 partners of his as represented by MLB itself..........


Hot Stove

The Phillies signed Aaron Nola to a major contract restructuring. It could end up at $56 million across 5 years. Nola is only 25, and was not even arb eligible until after this upcoming season...........

Nola would not have been FA eligible until after the 2022 season, which is 4 more years, anyway.. So instead of going into the FA pool at age 29, it’s now set for 29 or 30 if the club picks up the option, That is still prime window, and only 1 year diff. But that doesn’t stop some folks from getting pissy: “Nola can also feel very good about this, because it’s a guaranteed $45 million, but you wonder how much the free-agency conditions factored in. It could be that Nola just really likes Philadelphia. But the last thing the free-agent market needs is even fewer players reaching it in their prime.”...........The worse passage comes even earlier in that link: “...no player is going to come out and say “I signed this extension because free agency is bad now.” But Aaron Nola has become the latest player to give up a free-agent year or two. Not for free, obviously. He’s going to get paid. It’s a question of whether he’ll get paid enough. It’s getting harder to calculate what “enough” even is.’ People, seriously, let’s recap. Worse-case scenario (and I use the word ‘worse’ here with great reluctance) is that Nola just sold his 2023 career season, when he could have been in the first year of his initial Free Agency contract, for $16 million. The guy is making just above league minimum now. He sold whatever discount that might be in that one year for the $38.75M he will receive out of this new contract............

This could be a trend and, if so, it worries agents and other players. I suppose that the worry is that young players would be underselling themselves by grabbing the bird in the hand, versus the two in the Free Agency bush. A bush that is, admittedly, rather feeble right now. As a fan sitting outside and not having any accurate view of this, I can say that the agent/player worries look silly to me. It’s kind of like “Hey, shit, don’t be going all eager and happy to get a huge payday! You are the kind of guy who can set the market for my mid-tier scrub later on, when you are the big name Free Agent who refuses to take the big pay day by sitting on your hands and waiting for a mythical bigger payday. My guy can make more money by riffing off of you, and you can blame it all on everybody else, anyway!”..........

Players winning arb decisions: Trevor Bauer, Gerrit Cole and Alex Wood......As the article lays out, the players are winning most of the more important arb decisions...........

Bryce Harper’s personally buddy tells us that Harper finds the process of Scott Boras and he dragging out the bidding wars to be “slower than [the media] thinks it is.”..........

Pat Neshak wakes up, 40 months too late. Realizes that maybe it was a bad idea to agree to this current CBA..........Player agent wakes up, realizes that his tactics for making himself money through baseball players is about 5 years out of date..........

MLBPA head Tony Clark is angry that you and I might get to know what is really going on with this Free Agency market. It’s a lot easier to paint a target as the bogeyman when the facts are all kept secret..........But then we get this followup. If FO staff are leaking contract info, they are leaking it to the media. And they are doing that because the media wants to feed off that information. And the media is fast-acting to turn right around and publish it. The media is complicit with creating the problem for labor. But media IS labor. So this article wants to agree that leaking is bad, without confessing that they are the bad guys..........And don’t forget, there are only certain kinds of leaks that the media likes to have happen..........

And here I am still in a contentious mood. The Mothership pulls up some good context to debate the value of Craig Kimbrel. But I have to argue back, anyway. I refuse to accept that the previous markets (years past) were correct. They were what they were and the players who were living it to exploit them got rewarded, sometimes handsomely. But those were markets fueled more by asymmetrical information. If there remains any asymmetry in the information, we can all probably agree that it is the agents who are now disadvantaged. The market has changed. They make the old markets look silly, not the other way around......(P.S. - what is the source for ‘surplus value’? If it’s the $8.5M to $10M per WAR number bandied about, how archaic is that is it’s based off of what we must now accept as archaic markets?)..........

Maybe Maybin sticks with the Giants..........I guess that would take them out of the Harper bidding?..........


The Duffle Bag

So, your dad ain’t playing for us anymore? We’re the Royals, and we ain’t gonna you anymore...............Mario Impemba has found a new job after the Rod Allen dust-up and firing. He will be platooning on Red Sox games..........Johnny Cueto loves to ride horses. Johnny Cueto’s horses don’t seem to enjoy Johnny Cueto riding them..........I predict that baseball culture will be the last to learn that the beard phase has passed. And that the Red Sox will be the last to learn that fact within the baseball culture..........