Link-O-Rama: Twins are a little verklempt, fight amongst themselves

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* It’s not often that you’ll see a batter get plunked in the leg by a pitch and then angrily yell at someone in his own dugout, but that’s exactly what happened yesterday with Delmon Young. And the Twins are blaming rookie reliever Jose Mijares for the whole mess.
* Billy Wagner has pitched in 16 games since returning from Tommy John elbow surgery, posting a 1.80 ERA and 24/8 K/BB ratio in 15 innings, and may be ready to work back-to-back games in the playoffs if needed.
* With three games remaining the Angels have already set a franchise record for runs scored in a season, as their 869 runs rank second to only the Yankees at 898.
* Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that Daniel Cabrera “is open to the idea of working more as a reliever in the future.” I’ve often wondered why no team has turned Cabrera into a reliever yet, because for all the talk of a mid-90s fastball and occasionally overpowering raw stuff he has a 48-64 record and 5.10 ERA in 154 career starts while never posting an ERA below 4.50. Time to give up that dream.
* Upset by his recent inactivity in the Brewers’ bullpen, Seth McClung has been venting his frustration on Twitter.

MLB to crack down on sign stealing

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We’ve had a couple of notable incidents of sign stealing in Major League Baseball over the past couple of years. Most famously, the Red Sox were found to be using Apple Watches of all things to relay signs spied via video feed. Sports Illustrated reported yesterday that there have been other less-publicized and unpublicized incidents as well, mostly with in-house TV cameras — as opposed to network TV cameras — stationed in the outfield and trained on catchers, for the specific purpose of stealing signs.

As such, SI reports, Major League Baseball is cracking down beginning this year. Within the next couple weeks an already-drafted and circulated rule will take effect which will (a) ban in-house outfield cameras from foul pole to foul pole; (b) will limit live broadcasts available to teams to the team’s replay official only, and the replay official will be watched by a league official to keep them from relaying signs to the team; and (c) other TV monitors that are available to the clubs will be on an eight-second delay to prevent real-time sign stealing. There will likewise be limits on TV monitors showing the game feed in certain places like tunnels and clubhouses.

Penalties for violation of the rules will include the forfeiting of draft picks and/or international spending money. General managers will have to sign a document in which they swear they know of know sign-stealing schemes.

As was the case when the Apple Watch incident came up, there will not be any new rules regarding old fashioned sign stealing by runners on second base or what have you, as that is viewed as part of the game. Only the technology-aided sign stealing that has become more prominent in recent years — but which has, of course, existed in other forms for a very, very long time — is subject to the crackdown.

While gamesmanship of one form or another has always been part of baseball, the current wave of sign-stealing is seen as a pace-of-play issue just as much as a fairness issue. Because of the actual sign-stealing — and because of paranoia that any opponent could be stealing signs — clubs have gone to far more elaborate and constantly changing sign protocols. This requires mound meetings and pitchers coming off the rubber in order to re-start the increasingly complex series of signs from dugout to catcher and from catcher to pitcher.

Now, presumably, with these new rules coming online, teams will figure out a new way to cheat. It’s baseball, after all. It’s in their DNA.