Friday, June 2, 2017

Slant Pattern Mailbag

By Kevin Beane

It's time again for a Slant Pattern mailbag. As usual, I don't receive any actual reader mail, so I will instead poach the letters, tweets and emails other sportswriters get for their columns.

Floyd Teter asks the L.A. Times' Angels mailbag:

We've seen quite a bit of speculation regarding the idea that the Angels might trade Mike Trout to improve both the major league roster and the farm system. But let's pretend for a minute that Mike Trout is an Angel for the duration of his career. In that event, what is the path (if any) for the Angels to return to the playoffs sometime in the next five years? Or do you think that Trout will become the Ernie Banks of this generation if he is an Angel for his entire career?

First, the good news: Trout is only 25, and there is absolutely no way of knowing how competitive the Angels will be in 10 years, when Trout may still be very good.

The bad news, though, is plentiful. Trout just tore his thumb, and while that should only sideline him 6-8 weeks, that sounds kinda awful and hopefully won't permanently and negatively alter his style of play, the way NFL players say turf toe does.

In addition to having an underwhelming supporting cast around Trout, Bleacher Report ranked the Angels' farm system last in baseball going into spring training, and said it's "not particularly close."

So no matter what path the Angels take, the farm system needs blown up and rebuilt. In the meantime, they do have a few players besides Trout (Kole Calhoun, Matt Shoemaker, Bud Norris) that could net decent prospects to ease the transition, if the Angels are willing to endure a historically bad season in the meantime. Otherwise, they will need to spend at a Red Sox-esque level, for several years probably, in free agency. I don't think making modest improvements to the farm system and modest improvements in free agency will cut it. They need to do something drastic if they want to really compete in fairly short order.

Next, Michael Sullivan writes to

Since the NBA is now trying an awards show, and have announced the top finalists for MVP (and maybe other awards, but I don't much care about any other award) why wouldn't they just invite the All-NBA first team as the 5 finalists for MVP?

You seem to think that top five players and all-NBA first team are one and the same, and they aren't. The all-NBA team attempts to put together an actual, if hypothetical, team you could put on the floor and have most or all positions covered. If the top five players turn out to all be point guards, and are the top five vote-getters for MVP, the NBA will not put out an all-NBA first team of five point guards.

That's one reason. The other reason is five guys is not a party, and if I know the NBA and how their marketing works, they will want a party atmosphere. I say invite every player in the NBA. Will Iman Shumpert overindulge in Bud Light Lime and puke on the commissioner? Will Joakim Noah drunkenly grab the mic from Kenneth Faried during karaoke, only to fall ass-over-teakettle in spectacular, to-be-viral fashion? Only one way to find out!

Grant K schmoozes this to Sports Illustrated's name-dropper extraordinaire, Peter King:

One potential saving grace for the Iggles in that nine-game stretch from hell is their depth in the offensive line. I am going way out on a limb, and predicting 10-6. Bob Ford agrees with you, so the two best sportswriters in the country disagree with me. Which probably does not bode well for my prediction.

Dear God, please show me the alternate universe where the writer didn't call Peter King one of the best two sportswriters in the country, so I can see if this letter got picked for his mailbag.

As to your observation, I don't disagree with your sentiments on the Eagles' O-line, but that brutal schedule stretch is brutal: eight games, five against 2016 playoff teams, six against teams with winning records last year, and one of the two gimme games is a cross-country game, against the Rams. The offensive line isn't going to win those games by themselves, and I don't think Wentz will start hot enough against the weaker front-end schedule to get Philly to 10-6.

An anonymous dude wonders aloud

If you're the arresting cop for Tiger over the weekend, or any high-profile person, how hard would it be not to ask for money in exchange for driving them home yourself? I don't think I have too shitty of morals but that's literally the first thing I think of when I read this stuff.

"Why don't cops here barter in bribes and corruption like they do in third world countries," you mean? Or better still, "Why don't they implement a personal justice system that not only exists so that you profit as an individual, but creates a dichotomy where you get better treatment by virtue of being wealthy?"

I'd actually say yeah, your morals are actually pretty crappy.

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