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Willians Astudillo admires the heck out of a winter league home run

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The hot stove season is colder than Nidavellir before Thor jump-started it, and I don’t see any Gods of Thunder walking through that door (oh please, you saw the movie). So let’s warm ourselves up a bit with some epic home run-admiring.

The home run hitter was Twins catcher Willians Astudillo, who is currently playing in the Venezuelan Winter League for Caribes de Anzoategui. No word if he’s running like the wind, but he’s raking down there, and has led his team into the postseason.

Last night he hit a big eighth inning homer and, oh my God, just watch his reaction:

If he took that knee and watched that ball fly out like that in a major league game every white dude over the age of 50 who had ever played high school baseball would be stricken with a case of the vapors and every bearded pitcher from the U.S. south or western exurbia would give taciturn quotes about how “that’s just not right.” Madison Bumgarner would likely stroke out. Frankly, I’d be worried about him.

The rest of us, however, thank you, Mr. Astudillo. We thank you for bringing us a bit of baseball joy in what has become a slog of an offseason.

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.