Hey, look at the relief pitcher with the girly backpack!

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The New York Times has a story today about the trend of making the low-man on the bullpen totem pole carry the bullpen supplies in some children’s backpack.  Usually a girl’s backpack with My Little Pony or something on it.  It’s a hazing thing, of course.  Two observations:

First, I hate that the alpha and omega of baseball hazing seems to be equating ballplayers with little girls.  That’s the joke, see. No ballplayer would want to be a little girl!  Ugh, grow up.

Second, my eye-rolls notwithstanding, they’re probably not necessary. Because as everyone knows, the minute the New York Times picks up on a trend, it means that the trend has already passed.  I’m sure they’re on to something totally new now.

Report: Angels to sign Cody Allen

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels and reliever Cody Allen are in agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The value of the contract is not yet known.

Allen, 30, was looking for an opportunity to close and the Angels can certainly provide that. He will likely be the favorite to break camp as the closer. 2018 was the roughest year of his career, however, as he finished with a 4.70 ERA, 27 saves, and a 80/33 K/BB ratio in 67 innings. Among Allen’s six full seasons, his 27.7 strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate represented career-worsts. FanGraphs also shows him losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.

The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John surgery early last season and he likely won’t return until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker, who handled save situations in Middleton’s place, was non-tendered by the Angels in November and ended up signing with the Twins. The closer’s role is Allen’s to lose, it seems.