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Good morning baseball fans and happy Monday! It's also Happy Leap Year!
The big news coming out of Sunday was Ian Desmond finally getting signed, inking a one-year $8 million deal with the Texas Rangers.
Emma Baccellieri of Beyond the Box talked about the 1899 Cleveland Spiders and tanking in 2016.
Considering that the 1899 Spiders were pieced together quite literally from replacement players, it's not surprising that the hypothetical 2016 Spiders equivalent project as replacement level more or less across the board. But look at those names, and picture them—this weird, sad, fictional collection of major league flotsam and flameouts and let-downs—as an actual team, battling through a full 162 games together. Imagine Eric Sogard as the single most promising player on a squad. Imagine Kyle Kendrick (and that's current Kyle Kendrick, not 2007 Kyle Kendrick) as an ace.
In a simulated season against a major league-average team, run through SaberSim, the hypothetical modern version of the Spiders went 43-119—better than their 19th-century counterpart, and far worse than the teams with the bleakest outlook for 2016.
Which is all to say, even for the most pessimistic and downtrodden of Braves and Phillies fans—it could always be worse.
Here is the MLB-Week in Review.
Niel Weinberg of Fangraphs attempted to Frankenstein and build a backup catcher.
There’s a saying to the effect that “knowledge is knowing Frankenstein isn’t the monster and that wisdom is knowing Frankenstein is the monster.” While the facts indicate that quotation is based upon Mary Shelley’s 19th century classic, it seems nearly as applicable to the journey we’ve just completed.
Aside from (hopefully) being entertaining, this gives us a little insight into the various skills possessed by baseball’s largely forgotten warriors. For most people, seeing the backup catcher in the lineup is eyeroll inducing, but the difference between backups and starters is really just that backups don’t have a complete game. Every one of the skills we selected here passes muster relative to the league’s stars. Sanchez’s bat (if it’s as good as projected) would be league average for a catcher. Hedges would be one of the better catcher-runners. And Stewart is easily in the conversation for best defensive catcher in the game. Our hybrid catcher is a good catcher.
It’s a little tricky to finagle a number, but if you really buy the framing and give this player 450 PA, you could squint your way to 5 WAR. It’s probably safer to call the Frankencatcher a 3-4 WAR option, but this amalgamation would legitimately be an above-average backstop.
Here is the MLB Blog Review.
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Today in Baseball History: It's Leap Year, so there isn't anything major that happened on February 29. Make your own history.