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WeekEnd HaloLinks: Frankly, Great.

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With the passing of Frank Robinson, baseball loses greatness to history.

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Padres v Angels Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

It is always sad when we lose a member of the Baseball family. But when we lose a Great member, a solid citizen, a legendary athlete, a trailblazing leader and administrator we are all poorer for it. Frank Robinson is dead. But Frank Robinson lives on.

Most of you, I would gather, never saw Frank Robinson as a player. Most of you might not have even been born by the time he retired from his playing career in 1976. But just look at the marks his accomplishments left all over his playing days. It’s very, very rare that a baseball fan gets to watch such a career first hand. That level of dominance creates that legend and stamps an image not only on the record books, but on the game itself. It’s transcendent, eternal, and eventually mythical.

Robinson is a pillar upon which the game you love today has been built. You probably had not even thought about Robinson for months or years until you read on these pages recently that his health was failing. But when you worship baseball, an important part of what you are worshiping is that foundational part known as Frank Robinson. His is a standard that even our Mike Trout has yet to eclipse. It’s an anchor point in history, and you are honor bound to pay homage.

But, amazingly, Robinson’s imprint on the game did not end there. He became the first black MLB manager. He would move on from there into the Front Office. Going further, he would serve various important functions within the Front Office of MLB itself. Only time stepped in and put a cap on Frank Robinson.

The Internet is loaded with testimonials from those who knew him, played with him, played against him, and tried vainly to document the impact he has had on our sport. Go read. Go learn. Go ponder. But do so before time steps in, for it will. It puts a cap on all of us. That’s the marvel of a Frank Robinson. He was great, and he made his greatness out of being no less human than you and me.

Frank Robinson is now a memory. We go forward, with Countdown-HaloLinks:


A Little Bit Of Angels News

Here comes Brad Ausmus............

The 2019 Angels College Classic has been announced. It’s free, by the way, and starts next week in Tempe.............

PECOTA projections are out. Looking at the AL West, the Astros are built to win. And, because of the large margin of error, all the rest of the Division can end up in every possible result. The Angels could end up in second place, or they could end up in last place. They are...uh...the Chicago Cubs?.............


Everywhere In Baseball

MLB is getting rid of the DL. Because the”D” in “DL” stands for “Disabled”, and disabled people protested the MLB Front Office. Instead, we will have the “IL”, or “Injured List”. This is because we live in a time when we not only are adding words to the English Language, but we are removing them nearly as fast. “Disabled” can no longer mean “incapacitated by illness or injury”. So that thing where a baseball player breaks his leg, suffers and injury, and is therefore incapacitated as a baseball player? That’s no longer injured AND disabled. Just injured............

Tony La Russa responds to national mockery of his committee’s naming of Harold Baines to the Hall of Fame, with a long defensive essay. Mostly, it’s all about counting up the numbers behind various important categories where Baines reached high numbers, and then comparing those numbers to other Hall of Famers. Let me be the first to point out that Baines played in more baseball games than all but 19 other players in MLB history. And only 36 MLB players ever took a bat and walked up to home plate in history. Baines deserves honorable mention in the Hall for his longevity, but the reason his counting stats are so high is not because he was stellar with what opportunities he got, but because he got a lot of opportunities........

There ain’t going to be a Suntrust Bank much longer, so the Atlanta Braves are going to need a new name for their ballpark.........

Hal Steinbrenner does have a tough job, trying to keep happy his egregiously entitled fan base and all that media vultures that feed off them. I’ll give him that. But whining his whiny little ass about how people focus on revenues, but fail to empathize with poor Hal over his expenses?? “I hear everything about our revenues, I hear nothing about our cost.” Well, OK, dipshit. Publish your true books and let me see all those costs versus all those revenues so I can say how sorry I am...........

Kyler Murray has decided to attend the upcoming NFL combine, hoping not to get hurt of course. The situation he is creating is going to be wacky when you think about it. If an NFL team drafts Murray, that will mean that we will have TWO professional sports franchises at risk of losing their draft moment to the other sport. Neither league has a mechanism to restore that pick to the franchise in the event that Murray chooses the opposing sport..........

The DH is a LOT older than you thought...........So are baseball labor negotiations............

Why does everybody have to do everything the hard way, when the easy way is well-understood and proven? Don’t waste time trying to promote moving the mound back to curtail pitching. Just make the frikkin’ thin lower again. Pitchers will lose a lot of physical leverage, helping to lower velocities..........

Here we go again. Service Time Manipulation hand-wringing, this year over Baby Vlad and Fernando Tatis, Jr. Gee, if only there were a mechanism for the MLBPA to sit down with owners and work out ways to protect players making the transition from “We Don’t Give A Shit” status to card-carrying union membership? Oh yeah, they do. It’s called the CBA. Maybe all these writers should be hammering Tony Clark as to why he ignored this topic as recently as 2 years ago? Why did he give the owners a tool with which to work, only to bitch about them using that tool he left in their toolbox?...........

In your lifetime, MLB will be dominated by 3D Instant Replay. At that point, I wonder about the value of actually attending a game in person?............

For your weekend assignment: a very long and in-depth essay concerning MiLB Drug Testing...........

Charter Communications is raising their fees again. (A), because they can and (B) because the content they carry is costing more for guys like Charter, because content wants more of your money. And because of (B), this is coming to a carrier nearest you, even if it ain’t Charter..........


Hot Stove

The Phillies pulled off a blockbuster trade with the Marlins to move J.T. Realmuto out of Florida and up to Pennsylvania, while Derek Jeter hauled back a hoard of prospects worth a wheelbarrow of future production.....As Jeff Fletcher points out, there is no way that Billy Eppler could have rationally matched what the Phillies spent....Mostly because the Phillies spent stupidly, just like they promised they would........The Marlins asked for the world, and they ended up getting it.....Philadelphia now needs to lock Realmuto up, long term......Because Realmuto really is a very good catcher.............

I am hopeful that MLBTR catches up with all the action, so that I can re-tabulate the number of unsigned FA’s left on the board. With this level of action, we won’t have a large backlog of guys looking for gigs as camps open. Just the biggest of names, and the guys who should be retiring. And I can crack down on that ongoing claim of “over 100 guys still haven’t signed”. Anyway:

Josh Tomlin, MiLB deal with ST invite and $1.25 million for MLB time, plus $2.25 million in incentives. With the Brewers...........

Hunter Pence, MiLB deal with ST invite and $2 million for MLB time, plus $1.25 million in incentives. With the Rangers...........They also signed Matt Davidson, 1-year MiLB deal with an ST invite and $1..5 million for MLB time..........

Ryan Flaherty and Dioner Navarro, MiLB deals with ST invites. To the Indians............

Devin Mesoraco, 1-year MiLB deal with an ST invite and $1.75 million for MLB time, plus $250K in incentives. Back with the Mets..............

An interesting theory on what Scott Boras is doing with the Bryce Harper negotiations: “It feels more like Boras is trying to manipulate the demand by pulling more clubs in at a lower level and trying to build it back up again.”...........


The Duffle Bag

Khris Davis has batted .247 4 straight seasons. So with all the changes that have occurred from 2018 to 2019, guess what ZiPS projects Davis to hit next year?............”Zack” is back...........Get a job with the Astros? Nah. Take that job doing data visualization with FiveThirtyEight. That is cool beans..............