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TuesdoLinks: Take another shot of courage

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One by one our touchstone artists are leaving us behind to deal with our baseball dreams via our own devices. But we are fans. It's our mojo to create our own courage. We are strong enough to hope, still.

Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

David Bowie. David Margulies. Alan Rickman. Glen Frey. (Hell, even Dan Haggerty.) The heavens are opening up and the Angels are staffing their bullpen. Our mortal, soil-bound, seraphs are far less successful, dissapating even. I mean, really, there are only 4 starting position players from as recent as October (Pujols, Giavotella, Trout and Calhoun). And while the ONE upgrade is major (Andrelton Simmons), it's only one. The aisles in the Free Agent mart are now nearly bare and we are facing a long, long summer of lowered expectations. But, in the end, as fans we are fierce to seek solutions, to know hope, to dream again. Those artists above showed us the way.

And there is reason to be excited. Baseball is near!

We are down to 4 Weeks to go until pitchers and catchers report. Here is how to fill out your Spring Training Advent Calendar of things to do until then. And after you have your calendar all filled out, come back here for TuesdoLinks:

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Everywhere In Baseball

Uptown: Mike Ilitch, now 86 years old and not long to experience an MLB title in what time he has left, had no problem diving in a scooping up Justin Upton. The deal is purported to be $132.5 million over 6 years, with a player opt-out after year 2. That's an AAV of just over $22 million per year. This leaves Yeonis Cespedes as last top-tier outfielder standing, and his team now has a good baseline of deals against which to compare. The AAV's would be Jason Heyward @ $22.125 AAV, Justin Upton @ $22 million AAV, and Alex Gordon @ $18 million AAV (I am leaving out Chris Davis because he doesn't count. His contract is probably seen by the other franchises as a mistake.).............And things like the Tigers signing Upton creates new pressures on teams such as the White Sox to respond as the AL Central powers up. For example, maybe the White Sox need to go all in for Cespedes............

Blue Days ahead in Toronto?: I hinted at this yesterday, and Ken Rosenthal goes deep into the idea. When the arb filing numbers for Josh Donaldon were announced, the differences between the player and club were miniscule (certainly as a percentage of the overall offers). Last year they low-balled him in the arb process, which is their right. And this year they may stick to their guns over that 3.8% and not negotiate away their differences before the hearing, which is also their right. But they have to know they are not making any friend out of Donaldson, who will one day have the power to choose whether or not to stick around in Toronto and be a long-term anchor to their hopes.............

Chap Stuck: Speaking of arbitration, Aroldis Chapman and the Yankees are way, way apart (Chapman at $13.1 million, the highest figure in MLB, and the Yankees at $9 million). I doubt that the Yankees expected to get zapped with such a gap when they traded for him, but here we are. This is only the first challenge for he Yankees. They still have to figure out what will happen with Chapman and any suspension?..........

Expansion: Should MLB expand, which is a long-term MLB plan, where should it go? International (Montreal/Mexico City/Puerto Rico)? ............

Baseball Biz: As the Minor League suit concerning minimum wages works its way towards an actual court date, minor league players now have a decision to make. Before February 11th they have to announce whether or not they wish to be a part of the suit. They don't benefit if they say no, but they risk exposure and petential retaliation from their owner franchise (as illegal as that might be) be they say yes. Knowing what you know over the past few years, if you ultimately worked for Moreno/Carpino, what would YOU do?...Yeah, that's what I thought...I am doubtful, however, about any long-term impact on minor league opportunities should the minimum wage laws ultimately be extended to minor league players. Sure, the system will change. But if there is one thing we can all count on, it would be extremist fears over new market models made by those vested in the status quo. It might actually end up with a more exciting outcome than can be imagined today. Kind of like what happened when the music industry was blown up in favor of more direct artist to audience pathways...........

Even more minor leaguering: The college sports cartel has decided that people who are not in any way under the control of that cartel are allowed to pursue their own financial interests. How very big of them............

Losing Ground: The scrap heap and the scavengers that circle that heap are appearing, once again, to be our only hope for talent salvation. Maybe there is a gem there, and maybe not. But just to give you all one more tidbit of evidence concerning how Arte is backing himself into the competitive corner of any tier 2 franchise: Yu Darvish will be returning to haunt us..........

History Bonus: The 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings were the first pro baseball club, and they went 57-0 that season. From deep within the MLB archives comes this winter distraction: the only image of those Red Stockings in action. Make sure to read the final paragraph about where the shortstop is positioned...........

Personal Meandering: Finally, I saw this list, and I just had to ask the question...........

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