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LeapLinks: An extra day of February ST Camp

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Planet Earth still uses outdated counting stats. If we could get Gaia a subscription to Baseball Prospectus, maybe we could skip this need for February 29th.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Last night was the Academy Awards so, as I do every Leap Day when it is the morning immediately after the Oscars, I lead with movie-related stuff. In truth, I didn't even watch the festivities. Not sure yet if I missed anything. Most likely, I'm just going to start following A's reliever John Axford, who is pretty damned good at predicting how things will end up.  Besides, were there any good movies out this past year about baseball? When was the last one' 2013 with 42?

I work in the technology industry. Over here, we have this very important thing known as The Gartner Magic Quadrant. Forget about the Gartner process itself. This is a baseball blog and I'm not gonna go off on the silliness of that thing What's important is that through the art of over-simplification, the readers of those charts have their eyeball drawn to the upper right quadrant of their ratings square to seek out winners. Well, what happens when we don't review some random techno-thingy but, instead, we rate baseball movies? We get our eyeballs drawn to the upper right quadrant to seek out winners. Don't get too upset. There is a high degree of subjectivity to this sort of thing.

Much like all the subjectivity that goes into my personal opinion of what is worthy for inclusion in today's Links:

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Everywhere In Baseball

Black Times Ahead: With Bud Black having returned, however briefly since he is probably Option #1 throughout all of Major League Baseball the second some manager inevitably gets fired, you might want to dive in and re-acquaint yourself with the man. I know you all have super high hopes pinned on his shoulders there in the Front Office above Mike Scioscia..........

Nothing But Nets: The Angels are joining many other franchises and extending the protective netting behind home plate. It's not a big deal, just 10 feet more on each side. But it's not the first time the netting has been extended. The 2016 netting real estate will be 26% larger than it was in 2013. Just think of all the people now safely protected while enjoying their cellphone chats with their friends back in the neighborhood............

Baldo Brief: Maybe it's really just a better approach the second time through the baseball season process here in America. Or, maybe it's the payoff to all the work that Scott Boras Corporation is doing with their new young client in preparing him for life here in the USA and having his agency know how to get spin out there and redirect the narrative. But Roberto Baldoquin is reportedly now totally adjusted to life in the US of A, and is fully embracing the landscape. That would be 180 degrees away from last year. So somebody needs to find a way to blame Jerry...........

Media Training: When players come to Camp, they need to work on multiple things. Flexibility, stamina, strength, fielding, batting, base-running, fielding, sunflower seed spitting, and - most important of all - all the top cliches for responding to the media............

Arte Gaining on International Scouting: There are two ways that Arte can catch back up with the other MLB franchises in their work in scouting throughout Central and South America, and working with the many academies there. One way to invest in people and travel and organizational command and control over all that. The other way is for some country to undergo hyperinflation and political upheaval, such as we have in Venezuela right now, and have MLB close all their academies there, ending up being on par with everybody else by having nobody working in country............

Beat The Clock: The 3-second mound visit rule is probably going to amount to a lot of nothing. If there would ever be a time when mound visits might go to extended lengths, it would be a World Series. So MLB timed the mound visits during the past WS and checked them against the new rule. Not a problem at all. So don't be looking for this rule change to help you beat traffic...............

Cole in His Stocking: Gerrit Cole had himself a particularly brilliant 2015 season. He was both a Cy Young and MVP candidate, and we can sum up all his brassy stats with his 148 ERA+. To reward him the Pirates offered up a new contract for this year (Cole won't be arb eligible until 2017). Cole had little choice but to sign it. $541,000, which is what he made last year. In other words, F U. Neither Cole nor his agent, Scott Boras, are very happy about that. Frankly, it's not as if we have not seen this precise level of "eff you, kid" before. In 2013, after winning Rookie of The Year, making the All Star Team, earning a Silver Slugger award, and getting robbed of a well-deserved MVP award (coming in #2 behind Mr. ZOMG Triple Crown), Mike Trout got that same bust-in-the-chops contract. $510,000. In the Pirates' case, they excuse it as being part of their standard framework for raises before a player reaches arbitration. Anyway, the story is actually a little worse. Initially, the Pirates made a mistake, offering only $538K, forgetting about the $10K bonus Cole earned as an All-Star. So, after protest, and given the chance to get their heads back on straight, the magnanimous Pirates tore up that first offer of $538K and came back with $541K. Big whoop. nad they told Gerrit that if he didn't like it the Pirates would just fix his salary at the legal minimum. Nice guys..........

Rowing Backwards: Union Boss Tony Clark is pretty upset over the Dexter Fowler/Baltimore Orioles negotiations reports in the press last week (when reports were being cast about incorrectly that he had signed). Fowler's agent was pretty upset. So Clark, as Top Player Rep Dude, needs to play the upset dad and be pretty upset, too. And, to take out some vengeance, Clark wants to look into press access in general when the union sits down with the owners at the upcoming CBA negotiations. Which would be stupid. Shutting off the media is something that never, ever, works and will only backfire in the most miserable way possible..........

Embarrassment of Riches: Ian Desmond finally got a job. The Rangers signed him to a single year deal. Desmond ends his Free Agent embarrassment and gets $8 million and the chance to dive back into the market next offseason when the Free Agent class is pretty weak. Rangers lose the 19th pick in the upcoming draft for a guy that plays a position that is already taken. Must be nice to able to toss away first round picks on a one-year guy. Sure, the Rangers can extend Desmond a Qualifying Offer and get a pick back next year...BUT...what if the whole QO process is shit canned in the new CBA? And, even if it's not, the Rangers won't get the #19 pick back. They would get a Compensatory Pick, essentially the TRUE round 2...........

QO: Alright, we have had the Qualifying Offer in two successive paragraphs. Time for a third strike. The QO is definitely going to be on the table and discussed over the next year. Even though more players are starting to see the value in signing their Offer, that's the very definition of too little, too late. So it's going to be talked about, and it's going to change. If it changes a lot it would an upheaval. If it changes a little it might be akin to this suggested Fan Graphs tweak. This is Dave Cameron anticipating the Ian Desmond deal. Cameron argues that MLB and MLBPA should just consider not surrendering a 1st round pick if a team can sign a protected Free Agent to a one-year deal. On the one hand, it sounds like a simple fix. On the other hand, it sounds like yet one more epicycle on an ever more complex cosmology that needs to be dumped altogether...........

Pastry Penalties: Adam Jones, the greatest center fielder in the history of our Western Galactic Quadrant, is famous for post-game pies to the face. You know, the basic comedy maneuver that folks have done millions of times for more than a hundred years. Well, some complete killjoy has decided that since we have now reached the year 2016, pies to the face are unsafe. Jones' pie act has been banned. Go figure..............

Dodging Bullets: Justin Verlander crossed paths with a violent carjacker in the middle of the carjackers crime spree, and didn't even know it until well afterwards. That's the kind of thing that could have gone a lot worse if the timing were slightly different..........

Flipping Out: When you hit a walk-off grand slam home run, what do you do for your bat flip? Well, with Jose Bautista the new baseline, the new effort is to fling the lumber all the way to third base..........

MLB At Bat: The MLB At Bat app gets its yearly upgrade. Some cool stuff for people using iPads. I'm honestly impressed that enough people follow MLB nightly using iPads that MLB vests yearly upgrades with that audience at the forefront..........

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Graph of the Day

C. J. Wilson: Notice that Wilson's Batting Average Against works out to be pretty effective last year...




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