A formula to predict injuries? That's cool, for many, many reasons

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This is rather interesting for several reasons:

The ability to predict how players’ bodies will fare is a holy
grail. With an actuarial approach, [Dodgers’ trainer Stan] Conte seems
to have a head start in the pursuit. He is trying to build a formula
that will give teams a competitive advantage and help them avoid
players who spend their days in the training room and not on the field.

Interesting because, obviously, if there’s any merit to the research, it could revolutionize the game.

Interesting because Conte makes a big point that he’s coming up with
this formula “on his own time,” rather than during business hours,
which suggests to me that he’s going to try and make a buck off it
himself someday rather than have it be the intellectual property of the
Los Angeles Dodgers. As your attorney, Mr. Conte, I advise you not to
put any down payments on phat real estate yet, because the law has a
very different idea of what belongs to you and what belongs to your
employer in such situations.

Interesting because, if it works and benefits the Dodgers, it will
necessarily harm their division rival, the Giants. Why is that
interesting? Because Conte was the Giants’ trainer back in the Barry
Bonds years. Moreover, Conte was famously undercut by his boss Brian Sabean
when Conte went to him complaining about drug dealers hanging out in
the locker room back in 2000. Basically, he asked Sabean if it were OK
to kick Greg Anderson out of the locker room because he was a known
steroids dealer. Sabean didn’t object. But then Conte, no idiot, asked
Sabean if he’d have Conte’s back if Barry Bonds got angry about it and
tried to have him fired. According to the Mitchell Report, Sabean
basically told Conte that he was on his own if that happened. You don’t
have to be genius to see that Sabean’s baloney in this regard set up
Conte as a potential scapegoat in the event someone ever raised a
ruckus about the Giants’ tolerance of Anderson, Bonds and steroids (“I
told the trainer to do what was necessary. If he didn’t . . . “). It is
for trying to throw his own people under the bus, more than any dumb
trade he’s ever made, that everyone should loathe Brian Sabean, and it
is for that reason that I hope Conte’s little formula works and ends up
killing the Giants.

Finally, it’s interesting in that, no matter how good this ends up
being, it’s going to be of somewhat limited utility because of the
prevalence of sheer dumb chance and freak accidents.

Speaking of which, check out the kid on the far right of this picture
laughing at Ryan Dempster breaking his toe. I wonder if Conte can
figure out a formula that calculates the severity of the beatings he’ll
take from the kids at school once the pic starts circulating.

Zach Britton settles with the Orioles for $6.75 million

Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Zach Britton delivers a pitch against the Boston Red Sox in the ninth inning of a baseball game at Fenway Park, Tuesday, June 23, 2015, in Boston. The Orioles won 6-4. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
AP Photo/Steven Senne
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The Orioles and closer Zach Britton avoided an arbitration hearing, agreeing to a $6.75 million salary for the 2016 season, Jon Heyman reports. The club has now handled all of its remaining arbitration cases and won’t have to go to a hearing with any players.

Britton, in his second of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $7.9 million while the Orioles countered at $5.6 million. $6.75 million is exactly the midpoint between the two submitted figures.

The 28-year-old lefty saved 36 games in 40 chances last season for the O’s while putting up a 1.92 ERA with a 79/14 K/BB ratio over 65 2/3 innings.

The Blue Jays will also try to sign Josh Donaldson to a multi-year deal

Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson gets up after being unable to handle an infield single by Boston Red Sox's Mookie Betts during the fourth inning of a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston Monday, Sept. 7, 2015. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
AP Photo/Winslow Townson
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Tacking onto Friday’s report that the Blue Jays will attempt to sign Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion to multi-year deals, Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the club will try to do the same with third baseman and defending American League Most Valuable Player Josh Donaldson. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports notes that Donaldson’s arbitration hearing is scheduled for February 15, so the two sides will have 10 days to hammer out a contract.

Donaldson, 30, is entering his second of four years of arbitration eligibility. After earning $4.3 million last season, Donaldson filed for $11.8 million and the Blue Jays countered at $11.35 million. The $450,000 difference isn’t much compared to some of the other disparities among arbitration-eligible players and their respective clubs. Jake Arrieta and the Cubs, for example, had a gap of $6.5 million.

This past season, Donaldson let the league in runs scored and RBI with 122 and 123, respectively, while batting .297.371/.568 with 41 home runs and 41 doubles. He earned 23 of 30 first place votes in AL MVP balloting, with runner-up Mike Trout of the Angels grabbing the other seven votes.

Reds prospect Juan Duran suspended 80 games

Banned
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Juan Duran, a minor-league outfielder in the Reds’ farm system, has been suspended 80 games following positive tests for the performance-enhancing drugs Drostanolone, Stanozolol, and Nandrolone.

Duran is 6-foot-7 with big-time power, averaging 23 homers per 150 games since 2011, but he also strikes out a ton and struggles to control the strike zone. He spent last season at Double-A, missing a lot of time with injuries and hitting .256 with six homers and a .728 OPS in 59 games as a 23-year-old.

Duran is on the 40-man roster and is considered a quasi-prospect, but he’ll be ineligible to play until July and figures to head back to Double-A once reinstated.

The Blue Jays will talk long term deals with Jose Bautistia and Edwin Encarnacion

Jose Bautista Blue Jays
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Ever since Alex Anthopoulos resigned as Blue Jays’ GM and Mark Shapiro took over as team president, a distinct air of frugality has set in over Rogers Centre. The go-for-broke attitude that fueled Toronto’s fantastic second half last year was repudiated and long-term, sustainable building has seemed to be the order of the day.

But the Jays aren’t going to go crazy with that: ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports that the Blue Jays plan to have long-term extension talks with the agents of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion during spring training. This, combined with the still-remaining possibility that they can avoid arbitration with MVP Josh Donaldson and hammer out a long-term deal could mean some serious spending by the Jays before Opening Day.

Or this could just be talk from the front office designed to buoy the spirits of fans. Locking up all three of them to long-term deals may be hella expensive and may not be possible. It’s also the case that, given their ages — Bautista is 35 and Encarnacion is 33 — it may not be advisable to lock the both up. As always, it depends on the terms and how generous Rogers Communications plans on being with the Jays’ budget.

But the chatter is now out there and expectations are poised to be set.