We are now less than a week away from almost all pitchers and catchers reporting, and the two biggest free agents on the market — Manny Machado and Bryce Harper — have yet to sign. The rumor mill around them continues to swirl, but we’re tired of not knowing for sure where these two will play this year. So we thought we’d take matters into our own hands, instead of simply waiting around for the latest hot-stove updates.To that end, we called on our friends at Out of the Park Baseball (OOTP), a strategic simulation game that allows players to put on their general manager hats and run their own teams. We asked them to simulate out the careers of Harper and Machado a bunch of times under scenarios where they sign with a bunch of different teams. Think of it as the multiverse of MLB possibilities that still could play out, depending on where these two superstars end up signing.It’s important to note that this is all guided by the game’s artificial intelligence, so it’s based on a simulation engine primarily intended for fun gameplay.1Though it can be a pretty serious simulation, as far as these things go. Perhaps you’ve heard of the soccer sim Football Manager and its notoriously addictive qualities? OOTP is essentially the same game, except for baseball. Having said all that, in the true spirit of J. Henry Waugh’s Universal Baseball Association, what if …… Machado signs with the White Sox?Frequency: 80 percent of simulations2OOTP ran 25 sample offseasons for us, tracking how often each player signed with which team.Average contract: Eight years for $198 millionSix-year team wins: 78.7 per seasonSix-year WAR: 6.0 per seasonBest playoff result: Loses divisional series in 2021Machado is one of the brightest stars in the OOTP universe, with an overall rating of 77 out of 80 (using the traditional 20-80 scouting scale). If he were to sign with the White Sox, one of his most frequently rumored suitors in real life, OOTP sees him having a tremendous individual debut in Chicago, putting together an All-Star season worth 6.5 wins above replacement. But the White Sox would have to wait until 2020 to improve as a team, leaping from 63 wins in 2019 to 92 in 2020, with Machado once again having a strong 5.8-WAR season. Chicago would average 92 wins per season in 2020 and ’21, making the playoffs both years, but they would top out with a tough five-game loss in the American League Division Series in 2021, then drop down to 80 wins in 2022 as Machado’s teammates regress.He would average 5.7 WAR per season over the next two years, but the Sox would miss the playoffs both seasons, with Machado opting out of his contract to join the New York Mets on a five-year, $197.5 million deal before the 2025 season. (Chicago would be fine without him, making the American League Championship Series in 2025 and 2026.) In New York, Machado’s individual numbers would decline to an average of 4.1 WAR per season, but he would help the 2028 Mets reach the World Series — where, in classic Mets fashion, they would lose to the Astros in seven games. After bouncing to the Nationals and Rockies in the early 2030s, Machado would retire in October 2032 with a JAWS score of 63.4, which should easily earn him a place in the Hall of Fame.… Machado signs with the Padres?Frequency: 20 percent of simulationsAverage contract: Eight years for $212 millionSix-year team wins: 83.3 per seasonSix-year WAR: 5.0 per seasonBest playoff result: Loses league championship series in 2024If Machado were to sign with San Diego, OOTP’s AI thinks that he would make about $14 million more over an eight-year contract than he would with the White Sox. But how would his Padres do on the field? In this universe, Machado would have an incredible initial campaign in Southern California, putting up 7.5 WAR and winning the National League’s MVP in 2019. His team, though, would only improve from 66 to 76 wins, good for third place in the NL West, and Machado would later struggle to repeat his amazing debut season. The simulations have him averaging just 4.1 WAR per season in 2020-21, with the Padres winning only 71 games a year. But in 2022, Machado would bounce back with 5.2 WAR, and San Diego would win 95 games, making the divisional series. It’s part of a three-year playoff surge for the Padres, peaking with 100 wins in 2024 — but that team is projected to crash out of the playoffs with a disappointing five-game NLCS loss to the Dodgers.That offseason, Machado would opt out of his initial contract and sign a five-year, $157.5 million deal with the expansion Memphis Scouts — which are a thing in this universe! — where he would spend the next five seasons playing reasonably well (4.2 WAR per year), but losing so many ballgames would surely give him flashbacks to the horrid 2018 Orioles. The best season of Machado’s final years is forecast to be an out-of-nowhere 4.3-WAR season with the 101-win Cincinnati Reds in 2032, but that team would ultimately lose in the divisional series. In September 2035, Machado would retire from pro baseball as a probable Hall of Famer.… Machado signs somewhere else?While OOTP’s AI thinks Chicago and San Diego are the destinations most likely for Machado, it also forced him onto the Phillies, Yankees and Twins for the sake of the full multiverse. The first two outcomes are about a wash individually, with Machado nearing 7 WAR in his best simulated season for each team and producing roughly the same total WAR (33.9 in New York, 32.6 in Philly). He would also stay longer in each city: seven years with the Phillies before opting out to join the Giants and the full eight-year contract span with the Yankees. But in terms of team performance, Machado wouldn’t win a World Series in either Philadelphia or New York, coming closest with a seven-game ALCS loss in 2022 as part of his Yankees timeline. It’s kind of a sad set of outcomes for a pair of teams that you’d think would offer Machado the greatest chance of team success. As for the Twins, they would be very successful with Machado, winning 90.2 games per season in his five years in Minnesota, including a World Series berth in 2021. But he would also opt out of that contract as early as possible, moving on to sign a massive deal with the Giants. Such is the way of Minnesota sports. So where should each star sign? If these OOTP simulations are any indication, it looks like Harper and the Cardinals would be best off with him playing right field in St. Louis, and Machado should lean toward manning the hot corner for the Padres. But those are but two options in the multiverse of possible outcomes. The only thing that we are 100 percent certain about is that at least one of these teams should sign these guys now. Stars like Machado and Harper shouldn’t still be going into spring training without a deal in place — for their own sake and for the sake of fan bases whose teams can use them to compete this season.Special thanks to Richard Grisham and Out of the Park Developments for their help with this story. Let’s move on to Harper, whose future is more difficult to read than Machado’s. OOTP’s AI predicted that he’d sign with any of four teams — the Giants (64 percent), Cardinals (20 percent), Padres (12 percent) and Dodgers (4 percent) — and that’s not even the full spate of his commonly rumored options. But let’s peer into OOTP’s crystal ball anyway. What if …… Harper signs with the Giants?Frequency: 64 percent of simulationsAverage contract: Seven years for $175 millionSix-year team wins: 82.1 per seasonSix-year WAR: 3.3 per seasonBest playoff result: No playoffsThe Giants are a weird team that won 73 games last season despite trying to contend, and they do have the need for a corner outfielder like Harper if they want to try it again in 2019. According to OOTP, San Francisco would pay about $15 million to $20 million more over a seven-year deal than Harper’s other potential suitors, and they wouldn’t get much postseason success out of it. They are projected to average 85.5 wins per season over the first four years of Harper’s deal, finishing second in the NL West (and out of the playoffs) each year. They would also get classic inconsistent Bryce: 5.7 WAR in Year 1, followed by 2.2 and 2.9 WAR (both seasons riddled with injuries), then 4.4, and then 0.6 in a terrible 2023 season during which Harper would hit .209, with the Giants crashing to 74 wins.After six up-and-down seasons by the Bay, Harper would sign a four-year, $116.8 million deal with the Brewers. He is projected for a strong season on a playoff-bound Milwaukee team in 2025 but then just 2.1 WAR per year over the next two seasons before opting out early yet again to join … yes, the Yankees. During his inevitable run in pinstripes, Harper would boast an .821 OPS as his Yanks make (and lose) the ALCS in 2028, but he would put up negative WAR over the next two seasons. He would retire at age 38 after being released by New York (and briefly rejoining the Giants). Harper’s final JAWS score of 49.9 would put him right on the edge of the Hall of Fame relative to other right fielders.… Harper signs with the Cardinals?Frequency: 20 percent of simulationsAverage contract: Seven years for $151 millionSix-year team wins: 87.2 per seasonSix-year WAR: 4.9 per seasonBest playoff result: Loses World Series in 2027 and 2030This is one of the most successful universes either star free agent had in our OOTP simulations. In this world, the Cardinals would grab Harper for the bargain-bin price of $151 million, and he would stay with them for a total of 12 seasons thanks to another midcareer contract extension. St. Louis would be mostly competitive throughout Harper’s dozen seasons there, averaging 87 wins per year and making the playoffs nine times, including two pennant-winning runs. Harper is projected for 53.4 total WAR in a Cardinals uniform (which would actually rank him just below Ozzie Smith for fifth on the franchise’s all-time leaderboard), winning the 2023 NL MVP with a 1.033 OPS and 7.4 WAR. In Harper’s final season as a Cardinal at age 37, OOTP sees St. Louis losing the 2030 World Series to (Machado’s?) White Sox in a heartbreaking seventh game.After leaving St. Louis, Harper would sign a three-year, $62 million deal with the Mets, but a fractured knee would cost him 88 games in his first New York season, and he wouldn’t be the same player afterward, averaging just 1.1 WAR/year in 2032-33. Following an ineffective 51-game stint with the Giants in 2034, Harper would retire as a surefire Hall of Famer with a JAWS score of 69.2.… Harper signs somewhere else?Harper has been linked to so many teams, it’s tough to keep track sometimes. So we asked OOTP to look at the other teams its own AI saw Harper signing with (the Padres and Dodgers), plus the Phillies, White Sox and Harper’s erstwhile team, the Nationals. Of those, the Dodgers easily offer the greatest amount of team glory — in fact, they would basically become a dynasty with Bryce on board, winning the 2020, 2021, 2023 and 2024 World Series and losing it in 2025 (as Harper would put up 44.3 WAR during seven seasons in L.A.).3Just for good measure, Harper would return to Washington in this Dodgers simulation, after a four-season stint with the Mariners, and would also win the 2030 World Series with the Nats in his age-37 season. Individually, Harper would finish with 98.3 WAR in that universe, edging out his 93.2 WAR in the Cardinals simulation for the best of the options we looked at. The rest offer varying degrees of lesser success from both a team and personal perspective, with the Phillies, Nats and Padres projected to make the playoffs a few times on Harper’s first contract (he would re-up with the Padres and Nationals for the long-term in those simulations) and Harper accumulating just shy of 80 career WAR in each universe.
Enlarge ImageTuro hasn’t finalized the design aspect just yet, but here’s an idea of what to expect. Turo Nearly every automaker has a connected-car element that allows owners to manipulate the car from afar. Smartcar created software that works across these borders, and its latest partnership could make renting some other person’s car a little easier.Turo, a peer-to-peer car sharing startup, announced on Monday that it has partnered with Smartcar to put its system to use as part of the rental process. Normally, when renting somebody else’s car on Turo, that person usually needs to be around to hand over the key. Instead of that, Smartcar’s system uses renters’ phones to wirelessly locate, lock and unlock cars without the need for the “hosts,” as Turo calls them, to be present.Here’s how it works. Hosts who have eligible vehicles will be notified, and using Smartcar’s backend software, they can connect their vehicle account with their Turo account. Once that happens, renters can use their own phone to find and unlock the vehicle. Most OEMs’ connected-car systems don’t let phones work as keys, though, and that’s the case here — the keys can be found inside the vehicle after unlocking, and that’s where to leave ’em when the rental term ends.It’s a huge boon for busy hosts. Now, they won’t need to move their schedules around to accommodate renters, allowing them to maintain an additional revenue stream with less potential annoyance. Some similar systems require hardware in the car, but not this one — it’s all done over the air, no OBD-II dongles or anything of that sort.As with many other fledgling partnerships, this one will start small. Turo will offer its Smartcar system in California and New Jersey to start, with the intention of rolling it out to the entire country later in 2019. Originally published May 6, 12:09 p.m. PT. Update, 12:46 p.m.: Added information regarding how the traditional car key factors into this scheme. 2019 Ford Shelby GT-S Mustang supercharges the rental car experience Share your voice 2020 Hyundai Palisade review: Posh enough to make Genesis jealous More From Roadshow 88 Photos 0 Tags 2020 Kia Telluride review: Kia’s new SUV has big style and bigger value Auto Tech Car Games and Apps Post a comment 2020 BMW M340i review: A dash of M makes everything better
Hinduja brothers have been named as the wealthiest people in the UK for the third time.The billionaire Hinduja brothers have been named as the wealthiest people in the UK for a third time, according to the Sunday Times Rich List. Sri and Gopi Hinduja saw their fortune increase by 1.356 billion pounds ($1.7 billion) in the last year to 22 billion pounds, the BBC quoted the list as saying.The Hinduja Group, a family business, was founded in Mumbai in 1914, and now it has interests around the world including in oil and gas, banking, IT and property.British citizens Sri, 83, and Gopi, 79, who are based in London, are two of the four brothers controlling the empire. The two moved to London in 1979 to develop the export business.The third brother Prakash manages the group’s finances in Geneva, Switzerland while the youngest, Ashok, oversees the Indian interests.Among the properties they own is the Old War Office in Whitehall, which they plan to reopen as a luxury hotel.The two brothers topped the newspaper list in 2014 and in 2017.The list, which estimates the 1,000 richest people in the UK, is based on identifiable wealth including land, property, other assets such as art, and shares in companies, according to the Sunday Times.It does not include the amount contained in people’s bank accounts.Meanwhile, chemicals firm founder Jim Ratcliffe, who topped last year’s list, has slipped to third place.His net worth dropped by 2.9 billion pounds since last year, the paper says.For the sixth year in a row, Scotland’s richest person was named as Glenn Gordon and his family, the Jersey-based tycoon behind distillers William Grant & Sons. The group produces whiskey including Grant’s, Glenfiddich and The Balvenie, as well as Hendrick’s gin.Cardiff-born venture capitalist Sir Michael Moritz remained Wales’ richest person with a 3 billion pounds fortune.Top of the Music Rich List in the UK – which includes writers and performers – was Andrew Lloyd Webber with a fortune of 820 million pounds.
Congress celebrates victory over BJPgettyimagesCongress leaders have divided opinions on the government’s historic decision to revoke the controversial Article 370 of the Indian Constitution and to bifurcate the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories. While senior Congress leaders, including former Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, disapproved with the abrogation of Article 370 and called Monday a black day in the nation’s history, some appreciated the move.In a setback for Congress, a party leader from Assam, Bhubaneshwar Kalita, resigned over the party’s attitude towards the scrapping of Article 370. He said that the party has taken the path of self-destruction and he cannot be a part of it.Senior Congress leader Janardan Dwivedi supported the abrogation, stating that the nation has corrected a historical mistake which was made during the time of independence.The national spokesperson of Congress, Jaiveer Shergill, also supported the move. “I support abrogation of Art 370 (as opening words say its temporary) but Only & Only in accordance with provisions & methodology provided by the Constitution of India which mandates consent of J&K State Assembly -any other way is Unconstitutional,” he said.Congress leader and Rohtak MP Deepender Singh Hooda also differed from his party’s view. He said that revoking Article 370 is needed for the unity of India as well as the people of J&K, who are an integral part of the nation. But the government must ensure that this is implemented in a peaceful atmosphere.The Congress legislator from Raebareli Sadar, Aditi Singh, has supported the revocation stating that the move will help in J&K’s integration into the mainstream. “It’s a historic decision. It should not be politicised. As an MLA, in my capacity, I welcome this decision,” she said.Former Congress MP Milind Deora took a neutral stand on the issue. “Parties should put aside ideological fixations and debate what’s best for India’s sovereignty and federalism, peace in K, jobs for Kashmiri youth & justice for Kashmiri Pandits,” he tweeted. Rahul Gandhi, who quit as Congress president in May, finally voiced his opinion over the issue saying that the central government has abused its executive power. “National integration isn’t furthered by unilaterally tearing apart J&K, imprisoning elected representatives and violating our Constitution. This nation is made by its people, not plots of land. This abuse of executive power has grave implications for our national security,” he wrote on Twitter.
.The government has approved a project for setting up a oil terminal on 192 acres of land of a reserved forest in Maheskhali, defying objections from the forest department and environmentalists.If this project is implemented, some 25,000 trees will be cut down, the department has expressed apprehensions.”The construction work (as part of project impelentation) will cause soil erosion, water pollution, release of chemical wastes and a variety of natural disasters,” the forest department said in a letter sent to the environment and forest ministry last year.The ministry sent a proposal to the cabinet division on 27 March, seeking permission for felling thousands of trees at Maheshkhali reserved forest to construct the oil terminal.The government gave Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) the permission on 1 March for construction of an unrefined fuel terminal, Maheshkhali in Cox’s Bazar, the country’s only hilly island. It will cost around Tk 45 billion.Environmental experts said implementation of such a project would result in damage to the forest and wildlife in Maheshkhali as well as a natural disaster.A fuel terminal, if set up, will affect biodiversity and ecosystem of Maheshkhali reserved forest, a home to endangered species such as Maya deer and python. Water in surrounding areas will be contaminated, the environmentalists pointed out.The environment and forest ministry said, a total of 1,701 old trees and another 1,250 trees of different types will be cut down for implementing the project. For the loss of forest resources, the BPC is set to pay Tk 13.6 million as compensation.The forest department initially estimated the value of overall loss at Tk 2.77 billion, but later refixed it downwardly — at Tk 470 million.Unrefined fuels, imported from abroad, will be brought to the Maheshkhali terminal directly from mother vessels in deep sea. The fuels will then be taken to Eastern Refinery in Anwara, Chattogram.The forest ministry’s acting secretary Abdullah Al Mohsin Chowdhury told Prothom Alo recently that such project has to be allowed for the sake of development.“We will, however, try to minimise the damage,” he said.The official added that the ministry has asked the BPC to plant saplings five times higher than the number of trees to be cut down, and nurture them for the subsequent 10 years.The ministry has already received the prime minister’s nod in favour of these activities, he claimed.The BPC had in 2016 sought the permission to acquire 192 acres of lands on the basis of lease from the forest ministry.A six-member expert committee was also formed to assess the value of biodiversity.A member of the committee and also professor at Chattogram University’s forestry and rnvironmental science department Kamal Hossain told Prothom Alo that they recommended not giving permission for using the forest land.”We attend meetings and seminars and make commitments to protecting forests. Returning home, we forget and give permissions to use forests. Such decisions will cause disasters in the coastal areas,” he expressed his views.Nature and wildlife expert Anisuzzaman, who is working for big government and UN projects, observed that forests and hills can easily be destroyed only after getting permission from the ministries.He said reserved forests have been the targets for implementing big projects and making infrastructures.*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam and Farjana Liakat.