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During Slow Offseasons The Brewers Keep Finding Deals

The Milwaukee Brewers took advantage of an ice-cold hot-stove season last winter to become the rare team to win in the offseason and in the regular season. By agreeing Wednesday night with free-agent catcher Yasmani Grandal on a one-year, $18.25 million deal, the Brewers again took advantage of an opportunity to find tremendous value. As most teams zig in another slow offseason, the Brewers, again, zag.While Grandal didn’t have a great postseason with the Dodgers last fall, he was one of the best players available on the free-agent market. According to the Baseball Prospectus version of wins above replacement, which includes a catcher’s pitch-framing ability, Grandal was the 14th most valuable position player in baseball last season (5.0 WAR) and the eighth most valuable player per plate appearance (5.8 WAR per 600 plate appearances) among qualified hitters.That was not a fluke.In terms of total value, Grandal was the No. 1 position player by WAR per plate appearance in 2016 (8.7 WAR per 600 plate appearances), and he ranked seventh in 2017. Over the past four seasons, he was worth 21.2 total WAR. That’s star-level production. He turned 30 in November, so he’s not ancient in baseball terms. But despite all this going for him, Grandal settled for a one-year deal.The switch-hitter offers rare power and patience at the catcher position. Over the past four seasons, his walk rate of 12.8 percent ranks 19th among all MLB batters. His .453 slugging mark ranks third among all qualified catchers, and his 116 weighted runs created plus, a measure of offensive ability that adjusts for park and run-scoring environments,1100 is league average. trails only Gary Sanchez and Buster Posey.Not only is Grandal’s offense rare at his position, but his ability to frame pitches — to get more borderline pitches called favorably — gives him tremendous value at the plate and behind it.Grandal led all catchers in framing runs last season (15.7 runs saved above average). He ranked fourth in 2017 and second in 2016. Even as catchers as a group have improved their ability to receive or frame pitches, raising the floor of the skill, Grandal has maintained his edge. By runs saved, framing is more valuable than blocking balls in the dirt, an area in which Grandal is not as adept.Consider the following visual evidence of Grandal’s magic behind the plate last season. As a Clayton Kershaw slider darted slightly outside the strike zone, Grandal’s glove moved it back to within the confines of the zone. A pitch that should have been called a ball then appeared to be a strike.Grandal managed to softly absorb this high-and-away Kershaw fastball and make it appear to finish as a strike. It’s a subtle but valuable skill.Grandal was attached to a qualifying offer, meaning that the team signing him would have to surrender draft-pick compensation. As a revenue-sharing recipient, the Brewers will surrender their third-highest pick in the draft. The qualifying offer slightly diminished Grandal’s value, but qualifying offers are far from the only — and far from the greatest — issue conspiring against free agents. Even after last winter’s lack of free-agent activity, Grandal likely expected that he would be able to do much better than the deal he got. He not only turned down the Los Angeles Dodgers’ qualifying offer earlier in the offseason, but he also reportedly rejected a four-year, $60 million offer from the New York Mets.Instead, Grandal becomes the latest free agent to receive far fewer dollars and years than he had initially sought.The average salary in baseball declined last year for just the fourth time in the past 50 years and the first time since 2004, according to the Associated Press.Through Wednesday, the 73rd day of this offseason, 10.2 percent of available free agents2Our pool of available free agents includes any player with major league experience who was granted free agency or released in October and November of each season. That excludes players signed internationally or those waived by a club before the season ended or later in the offseason. had signed for a total of $856.2 million, according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis of data from The Baseball Cube. While that’s an improvement over the same point of last offseason, when only 6.5 percent of free agents had signed for $550.5 million, the total dollars spent to date are still down from 2016-17 ($1.017 billion through Day 73), 2015-16 ($1.697 billion), 2014-15 ($1.308 billion) and 2013-14 ($1.452 billion).And the share of free agents signed is trending above the past two offseasons, but it’s still trailing the previous three: As the free agency landscape changes, some teams seem to be looking for openings to give them an edge. Grandal has been the Brewers’ only guaranteed free-agent signing so far,3They have also reportedly agreed to a split deal with pitcher Jake Petricka, meaning that the contract would depend on whether he makes the big-league club. but it’s a significant addition in their quest to repeat as National League Central champs.Sara Ziegler contributed research. read more

Ohio State baseball tears up the base paths in pursuit of postseason

The Ohio State baseball team (24-20, 8-10 Big Ten) is making a run for the Big Ten tournament – literally. OSU was eighth in the Big Ten as of Wednesday and one-and-a-half games behind Nebraska, Michigan State, Penn State and Illinois, all tied for fourth place in the Big Ten. The eighth-place Buckeyes are trying to steal their way back into the race for sixth place and qualify for the Big Ten tournament. The Buckeyes have been tearing up and down the base paths so far in 2012, and were third in the Big Ten in stolen bases as of Wednesday, according to bigten.org. OSU, with 17 stolen bases, is just seven behind Big Ten leader, Illinois. The Buckeyes have blown past their base-stealing pace from last season, in which OSU tallied 35 total steals in all competitions. Players and coaches alike said stealing bases is important to a team’s offense and has multiple benefits. “Stolen bases help us out a lot as hitters,” said sophomore center fielder Tim Wetzel. “It gives us RBI chances and the whole point of the game is to score runs. And as a defense, when a team runs on you, you can’t be as loose because you have guys running around. It just helps the flow of the game and helps the offense perform.” OSU coach Greg Beals said stolen bases can influence a game and throw off an opposing defense. “As a catcher, I have a great understanding of what (a stolen base) does to an opponent’s defense,” Beals said. “What it does to pitch calling and what it does on the field, taking away from double play opportunities. It does a lot for you offensively and affects their defense quite a bit.” Beals said he likes having the ability to steal bases, but a team needs the right personnel to do so. Of the team’s 68 overall steals, 23 have come from junior infielder Kirby Pellant, a transfer in his first year with OSU. “You have to take advantage of every little opportunity to steal a base” said Pellant, the starting shortstop. “Stolen bases are a big part of the game. If you hit a single and steal a bag, it becomes a double. When you can get one to start an inning it gets the whole team going.” Wetzel, who has 10 stolen bases in 2012, said it’s important for a team to be in sync before a steal. “We talk about it a lot if we think we have a good read on a (pitcher),” Wetzel said. “Second time through, we’ll talk it out and say, ‘First pitch I’m going,’ so we’ll just know to take and let him steal a bag.” OSU’s next game is Friday at home at 7 p.m. at Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium against Northwestern, the first game of a three-game weekend series with the Big Ten opponent. read more

Football Ohio States No 1 recruiting class not indicative of crucial misses

Urban Meyer watches the B1G Championship game against Wisconsin from the sidelines in the third quarter. Ohio State won 27-21. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorFive-star offensive tackle Jackson Carman had been Ohio State’s No. 1 target for months. He was the top-ranked player at a position of need and the top player in Ohio.In the end, Urban Meyer and his staff couldn’t seal the deal, and Carman ditched home for another top program — Clemson.Carman, along with defensive end Brenton Cox, safety Jaiden Woodbey and quarterback Emory Jones all left Ohio State for other programs in the final two weeks leading up to Wednesday’s decision date, leaving Meyer without even more transcendent talent than the 20 players that signed to his class Wednesday.On paper, the 2018 class is perhaps Meyer’s best ever as a head coach. However, it should not be overlooked. For a time, Ohio State had four five-star recruits with a chance at five. It ended Wednesday with two, while conference rival Penn State added its third.Carman wasn’t committed to Ohio State at any point in time like Cox, Woodbey and Jones. But it’s expected that the Buckeyes should land the top prospect in Ohio every year. Since Meyer arrived in Columbus, he has landed the top recruit in the state of Ohio every year with the exception of 2016 when five-star offensive tackle Tommy Kraemer went to Notre Dame. As for the other three, it’s difficult for a program to keep players who further from the school committed for a long time, when top programs close to home are knocking on the door.Woodbey, a five-star safety from California, committed in February, but flipped and signed with Florida State Wednesday. Cox, a five-star strong-side defensive end from Georgia, committed to Ohio State in April before decommitting Dec. 6 and signing with the Georgia Bulldogs Wednesday. Jones, a four-star dual-threat quarterback committed to the Buckeyes in July 2016, before flipping and mailing his letter of intent to Florida Wednesday.Those three decommitments in the last two weeks of the early signing period hurt Ohio State and have great implications.The first impact is the optics. Losing three players in less than two weeks, with two being five-stars and another being a highly rated dual-threat quarterback, makes it look as if the coaching staff is losing its touch. That’s probably not the case because Meyer has been an excellent recruiter his entire career and his 2018 class is still ranked as the top class. But given that Penn State landed a five-star Wednesday when Ohio State lost two, that’s added pressure for the Buckeyes’ coaching staff to hold onto prized recruits.Second, Meyer, and quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator Ryan Day had to find a second option to Jones late in the process. Now, they ended with a solid option in three-star Matthew Baldwin from Austin, Texas, who led his team to a state championship game Saturday, but Meyer probably would’ve liked to not rely on flipping a quarterback late to have one for this recruiting class. Baldwin was previously committed to Colorado State.Ohio State’s depth at safety isn’t hurt too much with Woodbey’s departure from the class, but with Cox’s decommitment, Ohio State had to flip three-star Alex Williams from West Virginia just to have one end in the class. Without Carman, it has just one offensive tackle in four-star Max Wray. Both are positions of need.Meyer has already had discussions to play Williams at tight end, so Ohio State would only have three defensive ends for next season, pending a potential commitment from four-star Tyreke Smith. Wray is the fourth offensive tackle on next year’s roster.Ohio State finally beat Alabama in a recruiting class, but it limped to the first finish line Wednesday with key misses that can impact a program for years. That’s something Meyer will have to live with. read more

Govt plans 2nd nuclear plant in Barishal PM

first_imgPrime minister Sheikh Hasina speaks while inaugurating the Golden Jubilee programme of Barisal Sher-e-Bangla Medical College (BSMC) through video conference from her Ganabhaban residence on Monday. Photo: PIDPrime minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday said the second nuclear power plant would be constructed in the southern part of the country.“The government has already conducted survey in several islands in Barisal and we will choose any of those islands to construct the country’s next nuclear power plant,” the premier said this while inaugurating the Golden Jubilee programme of Barisal Sher-e-Bangla Medical College (BSMC) through video conference from her Ganabhaban residence.The prime minister said a feasibility study is also going on to supply gas from Bhola to Barisal aimed at flourishing industries in the region.Health minister Mohammad Nasim spoke on the occasion from BSMC premises while state minister for health and family welfare Zahid Malik was present at the Ganabhaban.Later, the prime minister exchanged views with government officials, teachers and former students of the college and assured them of taking projects to resolve the residential problems of the teachers, students, nurses and staffs.Pointing out her government’s plans for development of country’s southern part, the prime minister said the region was neglected for a long time. Barisal, once known as the ‘Shashya Bhandar’ (crop storage) and ‘Venice of Bangla’ has lost its glory due to negligence.The present government after taking office in 1996 has been conducting massive development work in the southern part of the country particularly for improving the communications system.‘We want to regain the glory of Barisal through boosting agricultural production, industrialisation and infrastructural development of the region,” she said.The Padma Bridge along with rail line would play important role in socioeconomic development of Barisal, she said adding that the rail line on Padma Bridge would go up to Paira Port via Barisal. A feasibility study of the project, with the support of the British government, is being conducted, she added.Sheikh Hasina said bridges are being constructed on Paira River, Bishkhali River and Agunmakha River to establish direct road communication from Barisal to Bhola and Barguna.Sheikh Hasina said the Paira Port will be turned into a deep sea port in future. Construction of a 1300 MW power plant is about to be completed, she said.Sheikh Hasina said to ensure healthcare services for all the government has established 18,500 community clinics and union health centres across the country. Besides, the government has taken steps to ensure food security and nutrition for everyone.The government has established institutes for treatment of kidney, neurology, cancer, ENT and ophthalmology, burn and plastic surgery as well as created post graduate nursing institutes to provide high quality nursing services to patients.Later, the prime minister through a video conference from her Ganabhaban residence inaugurated four multistoried building comprising 345 flats constructed at Doyagonj and Dhalpur for cleaners of the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC).LGRD and cooperatives minister Khandakar Mosharraf Hossain spoke on the occasion while senior secretary of the LGRD and cooperatives Jafar Ahmed Khan gave a presentation on the project.Mayor of DSCC Mohammad Sayeed Khokon, chief executive officer Khan Mohammad Bilal and a number of beneficiaries of the project spoke on the occasion from Doyagonj side.The government in 2013 took up the project for constructing five residential buildings at Doyagonj, five at Dhalpur and two at Sutrapur at a cost of Tk 1,900 million for cleaners of the city corporation.Under the project four buildings were inaugurated today, Monday and construction work of eight other buildings is going on.Addressing the function the prime minister hoped that children of the cleaners will get proper education and prepare themselves in operating modern equipment of cleaning.She said the government would procure modern vehicles and equipment for conservancy department of the city corporations to conduct daily cleaning operation.“We want every homeless person to get home. The cleaners provide us services to keep our neighborhood neat and clean. So it’s the duty of the government to give them a clean environment to live in,” she added.last_img read more

Iceland Ambassador celebrates the launch of three Icelandic lifestyle brands in India

first_imgAmbassador of Iceland, H.E. Thorir Ibsen and his wife Dominique Ambroise Ibsen hosted a dinner reception at their residence recently in the capital to celebrate the launch of three Icelandic Companies Mýr, Geosilica Iceland and Ankra (Feel Iceland) in India by the Embassy of Iceland in association with Indo Icelandic Business Association (IIBA) & Midori.The crème de la crème of the capital present at the do engaged in thoughtful conversations with the members of all women’s lifestyle delegation from Iceland having roots in ‘Startup Iceland’.On the occasion, Ambassador of Iceland said, “I firmly believe that there are ample business opportunities between Iceland and India especially in the areas of geothermal energy, life style and cutting edge high tech industries. The opportunities are out there waiting to be seized. Early completion of the India-EFTA Free Trade Agreement would certainly boost the business confidence between Iceland and India.”last_img read more

The overall settop box market including cable s

first_imgThe overall set-top box market, including cable, satellite, IP and hybrid set-tops, will grow modestly in 2012, to $14.7 billion (€12 billion), according to market research firm Infonetics Research.Its report suggests that future set-top revenue declines will be offset in part by a shift from cable set-tops to hybrid IP/QAM receivers and from satellite set-tops to hybrid IP/DVB-S receivers, the fastest growing set-top segment. It also found that Motorola is maintaining its worldwide revenue share lead among set-top box manufacturers, followed closely by Cisco and Pace.Infonetics also forecasts that the global video infrastructure market, including IPTV, cable and satellite video infrastructure, will grow by 9% in 2012, to over US$875 million. Much of the future growth in the video infrastructure market will come from MPEG-4 HD encoders, Infonetics said.last_img read more

Researchers discover unique approach to treat some chronic inflammatory diseases

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Apr 12 2019Inflammation is a balanced physiological response — the body needs it to eliminate invasive organisms and foreign irritants, but excessive inflammation can harm healthy cells, contributing to aging and chronic diseases. To help keep tabs on inflammation, immune cells employ a molecular machine called the NLRP3 inflammasome. NLRP3 is inactive in a healthy cell, but is switched “on” when the cell’s mitochondria (energy-generating organelles) are damaged by stress or exposure to bacterial toxins.However, when the NLRP3 inflammasome gets stuck in the “on” position, it can contribute to a number of chronic inflammatory conditions, including gout, osteoarthritis, fatty liver disease and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. In a new mouse study, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine discovered a unique approach that might help treat some chronic inflammatory diseases: force cells to eliminate damaged mitochondria before they activate the NLRP3 inflammasome.The study, published April 11, 2019 by Cell Metabolism, was led by senior author Michael Karin, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology and Pathology and Ben and Wanda Hildyard Chair for Mitochondrial and Metabolic Diseases at UC San Diego School of Medicine, and first author Elsa Sanchez-Lopez, PhD, a senior postdoctoral researcher in Karin’s lab.In a 2018 study published in Nature, Karin’s team had shown that damaged mitochondria activate the NLRP3 inflammasome. The researchers also found that the NLRP3 inflammasome is de-activated when mitochondria are removed by the cell’s internal waste recycling process, called mitophagy.”After that, we wondered if we could reduce harmful excess inflammation by intentionally inducing mitophagy, which would eliminate damaged mitochondria and should in turn pre-emptively inhibit NLRP3 inflammasome activation,” Karin said. “But at the time we didn’t have a good way to induce mitophagy.”Related StoriesUK charity invests £1 million to develop potential therapeutic for Parkinson’sStudy sheds light on complex caspase-1-induced cell death mechanismsUTA professor awarded $2.88 million for novel research on Lou Gehrig’s diseaseMore recently, Sanchez-Lopez was studying how macrophages regulate their uptake of choline, a nutrient critical for metabolism, when she discovered something that can initiate mitophagy: an inhibitor of the enzyme choline kinase (ChoK). With ChoK inhibited, choline is no longer incorporated into mitochondrial membranes. As a result, the cells perceive the mitochondria as damaged, and cleared them away by mitophagy.”Most importantly, by getting rid of damaged mitochondria with ChoK inhibitors, we were finally able to inhibit NLRP3 inflammasome activation,” Karin said.To test their new ability to control NLRP3 inflammasome in a living system, the researchers turned to mice. They discovered that treatment with ChoK inhibitors prevented acute inflammation caused by uric acid (accumulation of which triggers gout flares) and a bacterial toxin.By several measures, ChoK inhibitor treatment also reversed chronic inflammation associated with a genetic disease called Muckle-Well Syndrome, which is caused by mutations in NLRP3 genes. One such measure is spleen size — the larger the spleen, the more inflammation. The spleens of Muckle-Well Syndrome mice are on average twice as large as normal mice, but their spleen sizes normalized after ChoK inhibitor treatment.NLRP3 inflammasome promotes inflammation because it triggers the release of two very potent pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines: interleukin (IL)-1? and IL-18. According to Karin, there are existing drugs that can block IL-1?, but not IL-18. ChoK inhibitors, his team found, can reduce both cytokines.”There are several diseases, including lupus and osteoarthritis, whose treatment will likely require dual inhibition of both IL-1? and IL-18,” Karin said. Source:https://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/pressrelease/in_mice_eliminating_damaged_mitochondria_alleviates_chronic_inflammatory_diseaselast_img read more

Apple takes a very untech approach to solving fake news human editors

Credit: CC0 Public Domain Explore further Citation: Apple takes a very un-tech approach to solving fake news: human editors (2018, March 20) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-apple-un-tech-approach-fake-news.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. ©2018 USA Today Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. We all agree there’s too much disinformation on the Web. YouTube tries to crack down on conspiracy videos Russians and bots played havoc with Fakebook and Twitter during the 2016 election, because nearly anyone can join and post on social media networks and much of the ad-buying is automated.This week Apple said it was serious about tackling the issue, and bought a magazine subscription app with popular titles (including Consumer Reports, Vanity Fair and the New Yorker) to beef up its News smartphone and tablet app.Meanwhile the YouTube video network, fighting a backlash against conspiracy videos that anyone can post to its platform, went in a totally different direction to battle fakeness—turning to crowd-sourced Wikipedia to provide viewers with links to what it hopes are authoritative viewpoints.Let’s take a look at the two approaches.Apple’s News app is on the front page of every iPhone and iPad, and promises to give users a curated, personalized view of the news, with bigger pictures and fonts than seen when reading stories in apps or on the Safari browser. Apple said in 2016 the News app had over 70 million users, and while it hasn’t updated the numbers, it does say the app has grown substantially since.At the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas this week, Apple senior vice-president Eddy Cue said his app is differentiated from what we see on Facebook and Twitter in that it’s vetted by human curators and thus, more authentic.”We want the best articles, we want them to look amazing and we want them to be from trusted sources,” Cue said, per Deadline. “So we don’t have a lot of the issues going around.”On Apple News, publishers big and small can sign up to have their work included in the app, for free. But unlike on Facebook, on News, would-be publishers need to submit at least three articles to Apple before being approved.Not so at YouTube, where some 400 hours of video is uploaded every minute, without prior oversight.The video network has been caught in a two-year battle against conspiracy and extremist videos showing up as legitimate news videos, and it has taken several steps to fix the issue, by de-monetizing them and removing their ads, and now, also at South by Southwest, in announcing a new strategy.YouTube will add links from the crowd-sourced Wikipedia online encyclopedia to conspiracy videos. If you’re scratching your head on this, so are we.Wikipedia is even easier to game than the YouTube algorithm. Anyone can edit a post and add their spin to it —whether that be the biography of President Donald Trump, the history of the Santa Monica Pier or a post about the blogger Lance Ulanoff.The longtime tech journalist woke up one morning and found that his listing has been updated, falsely, to say that he was “a member of the French Foreign Legion.”It eventually got updated, but Ulanoff doesn’t think YouTube will find much success with its Wikipedia fix.”It will be like a band-aid that will work at first, and within a few days it will be tattered and dirty,” he says.The problem, he notes, is that once Wikipedia is used to verify the bogus videos on YouTube, those same people who make and post the videos will descend upon Wikipedia to synch the facts with their point of view, he says. “It’s a very slippery slope.”The bottom line: kudos to Apple for a terrific app that has so far not experienced the issues found on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and for the video network —nice idea, but it’s back to the drawing board. Next? read more