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Thor’sLinks: Day One of TroutEver

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Mike & the Angels made it official yesterday, announcing the lifetime marriage of Mike Trout and The LA Angels

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Texas Rangers v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

As I travel those Intertubes dedicated to Phillies fan support, indulging in the bitter taste they have in their mouths after years of blowing off the entire LAA franchise as a mere way point in the inevitable journey that results in the Phillies cap that Mike Trout will be wearing in the Hall Of Fame, I keep tripping over a couple of tidbits. One would be, of course “thank God we signed Bryce Harper!”, and the other is the idea that the Angels have nobody to help Trout, and nobody is on their way. If only there were somebody with some way to bring those two thoughts together?

Hold my beer.

In 2018 Bryce Harper has a dWAR of NEGATIVE 3.2. For his career, he had his dWAR as a rookie (1.5), and has gotten above 0 only once, with 0.4 in 2015. His career dWAR is NEGATIVE 3.0. Let’s not consider 2018 as some kind of outlier. The Phillies did NOT sign Harper for his defense. If they could convince Rob Manfred that MLB games would be 45 minutes faster if teams could park a 10th fielder behind the trash can in the upper deck next to the last hot dog stand behind the RF foul pole, guess where the Phillies would place Harper? The Phillies signed their mega-buck savior for his bat, and his bat alone.

Position players use bats for offense. To do things like, say, create runs. Runs are important. They are required to win games. Winning games is the objective. So Harper’s bat will need to be in the lineup a lot, and productive a lot, in order to overcome his defensive liabilities and deliver on his role as Phillies savior. Short of the ability to be productive with his bat, Harper is nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nice guy, probably. Fun guy, sure. But bat first. Make runs first and foremost. In 2018, surrounded by a loaded Nationals team, his wRC+ was 155. Pretty damned good. Only Trout was better (191) among LAA batters in 2018.

And that brings us to the other part. Because Shohei Ohtani, as a two-way player, was limited to part-time DH duty with HIS bat. Harper had 695 Plate Appearances. Out of those he realized 550 At Bats. And he yielded 155 wRC+. Ohtani saw only 384 PA’s and only 341 AB’s. With only 62% of the official AB’s as Harper, Ohtani yielded a wRC+ of 152. Are you seeing that? Harper at 155 wRC+ and Ohtani at 152 wRC+. Harper with 38% more batting opportunity, and yielding only 2.5% more runs created.

Shohei Ohtani will get a LOT more At Bats in 2020. Bryce Harper better return to MVP form or he will NOT be as productive at the plate as Ohtani. Phillies fans are are celebrating a new guy they just got, who might not even be as formidable as the guy we already have and which they overlook altogether. And they are doing that to find the silver lining in why they are good without Mike Trout, and why Mike Trout made a mistake.

The Angels have their issues, but those issues don’t include a lack of a talent such as Shohei Ohtani. And Mike knows that. Mike knows there is more to the LAA franchise, and more to the LAA pipeline. Mike also knows that Bryce Harper will never add any value on the mound. Not ever.

Think of Shohei Ohtani as our Bryce Harper. A left-hand hitting run producer who ALSO will return to be a top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher. And we have Mike Trout. We win.

Have some And-The-Future-Begins-HaloLinks:

*and apologies to Erick Aybar and Aybar fans everywhere. He got slighted on the cover photos this week with the Trout news. I promise to make it up. Later.


A Little Bit Of Angels News

It. Is. Official. No more being careful about the actual truth to the reports..............So have a tee.............

Because Mike Trout is just a great guy, he is now forcing the accolades for being a great guy.............And, ultimately, “Maybe he’s not the problem here. Maybe we pay too much attention to assholes.”..........

Trout has worked to fix his high fastball weakness, but he has some ways to go............

In counting up the winners and losers of the Mike Trout extension, among the losers is the AL West. Career-wise to date, Trout’s slash line against division opponents is .308 / .418 / .576 with an OPS of .994. 106 home runs, 27 triples, 102 doubles, 546 total hits, 321 walks, 45 intentional walks, 85 stolen bases, and 292 RBIs...........The Astros have a window wide open, but as this article points out, Trout is here to stay and break glass, and the Houston roster is only going to get more and more difficult to afford to keep together while the Halos youth arrives.........

Sheer Trout Porn..........Trout’s teammates love him..........Why did Doug Gottlieb have to ‘defend’ anything? Oh, that’s right. We still live in a world where Colin Cowherd is granted a mic..........Ok, more Trout porn. This time through the lens of his contract............

Mike in the news with his contract puts pressure on 2 parties: Billy Eppler to deliver a playoff team, and pressure on MLB to exploit the marketing window opened wide by this news event...........

Just a question, perhaps the mathematical equivalent of being pedantic, but if one wishes to compare the blockbuster deals of ARod versus this one for Trout, wouldn’t it be more accurate to adjust for inflation on each contract, year-by-year versus some AAV adjusted from Day 1 or Day 999?..........

Matt Harvey is being under-bought in the world of roto baseball. He might not be CYA material, but he projects to be much better than fantasy players are given him credit for being. Buy now..........

Anaheim is expecting a plan from the Angels in the coming months pertaining to stadium parking lot development. The idea is that the profits from such development would fund a new stadium. Note the bottom, where an Anaheim City Councilman pulls off some weak-assed joke wanting us to believe that since the Halos can afford a contract to Trout, they can afford whatever they want. If that’s the way that this council rep thinks things work, Anaheim residents are in trouble...........Anaheim does not see Long Beach as a real risk..........

Kaleb Cowart rolled through waivers and has been outrighted to Salt Lake City. Good luck on the pitching re-development, Kaleb.............


Everywhere In Baseball

With Trout’s contract now on record, what is next for baseball? Yeah, that’s the $500 million question..........

The Red Sox may seem complacent, but they are more stuck than satisfied. They gutted their farm to load up, hampering their ability to swing deals in order to re-tune. They already have the highest payroll in MLB, and that is threatening to go even higher with kids like Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts, with Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers right behind those. It’s why they couldn’t think about retaining Craig Kimbrel. it’s why their bullpen is now in tatters.............And Mookie Betts is not going to be taking any home town discount for pre-Free Agent extensions..........

One game into the MLB season, and we already have dizzying numbers. As I type this, the mariners are in 1st place in the AL West. In the first game, we had 16 runs scored off of 16 hits and 9 walks, and 5 of those hits were home runs. The A’s ran through 7 different pitchers ON OPENING DAY. And the total game time was 3 hours, 24 minutes..........

Say what you will about Mike Scioscia, but you bet your ass this would never have been an issue in one of his clubhouses. Phillies manager Gabe Kapler needs to look in the mirror.........

I am not a Front Office scout or analytics maven. Nor do I have all the data and insights. But I would guess that teams would rather have given the 2015 version of Gio Gonzalez a multi-year contract back in 2015 when he was 29. At 33, getting back to his 2015 self would be a good thing, never mind his outlying 2017 season. But unless Gio’s agent sent out messaging beforehand that Gio was expecting a significant offer, it’s surprising that he did not get any offer of any level, at all until the Yankees came calling..........

Craig Kimbrel finally getting some serious contract action. With the Brewers.........

Imagine reading today that the Angels have signed Jo Adell to a long-term, $77.5MM deal. Adell has yet to make the show, so this would just be mind-blowing. But that is exactly what the White Sox have done with Eloy Jiminez. 8-years, $77.5 million. That is money that was NOT spent on 34-year old veterans in the past couple of off-seasons..........

I am not sure that I am following this line of reasoning. In the mix between Trout, Nolan Arenado and Manny Machado, how is it that Arenado comes out as the potential best bargain? Arenado is a great player, no doubt, but he is at best 2/3’s of a Trout. And he and Trout will be getting paid pretty much the same annual salary for a while, starting next year.

Caveat emptor: FanGraphs is adding catcher framing to their data tables. The better a catcher is at framing, the bigger the negative impact that has on what would have been the pitcher’s WAR..........

Dustin Pedroia thinks that the Red Sox aren’t letting him play because they are scared of him coming back too fast and getting hurt..........

Lovely long form. The Sultan of Sod. George Toma is the country’s greatest groundskeeper, ever..........

It’s 2019. We have had a lot of baseball this century. A lot of All-Star baseball players. A lot of Superstar baseball players. A lot of Hall of Fame baseball players. If one had to create a list of the very best Super All Star Team of the Century, how many of the guys on that team would be Hall of Fame worthy? (Answer: pretty much all of them.) How many of those would only be in their late 20’s? (Answer: 2.) And how many of them would be inner circle Hall of Fame worthy? (Answer: 1.)..........

Rest In Peace, Trailblazer Charles “Chuck” Harmon..............


The Duffle Bag

Bookmark this link when you hear your bar buddy rip off RBIs as a measure of some dude’s greatness..............Just Yasiel being Puig..........Isn’t this the same A.J. Preller that no other MLB GM will ever trust again?..........Looks like somebody forgot to train the Japanese fans on the whole Ichiro story..........He had his old man moment, setting yet another record. But let’s hope that the fans there get a clue for this morning’s game, which should be his final final ever appearance..........Khris Davis. Khaptain Khansistency..........