Saturday, February 23, 2019

Saturday Morning Hot Links

The Astros play today. I'm going out of town with the family later this morning until tomorrow (Sunday). The Hot Links will likely be on the 1-Day DL with discomfort for Sunday. There you have it.

*Marwin F. Gonzalez signed a 2yr/$21m deal with Minnesota. I do not have a rational explanation for the reason why the Astros could not re-sign him for a similar deal. A $10.5m deal for Marwin is $2.7m less than what Dallas Keuchel made last year. Clearly the Astros believe that Aledmys Diaz - and his 2019 salary that is approximately $10m cheaper than what Marwin just signed - can at least come close to replicating Marwin. Who am I to disagree? Maybe this is why I am a disaster of an owner after five years of OOTP, because I reward past performance and nostalgia. Maybe don't let a history teacher be the GM of your team. Still. Gonna miss Marwin. Good for him.

You cannot tell the complete story of the Houston Astros without Marwin Gonzalez:

Revisit Jenny Dial Creech's column on Marwin's Game 2 Homer.

*But this is when MFG became a True Astros Hero:

*Here's the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Patrick Reusse with a Houston-based scouting report of Marwin. Basically what's not to like about a guy who can play 6-7 positions with decent-to-good defense at all of them and a good bat.

The only good thing that can come out of this is the Twins keeping Cleveland and the Extremely Problematic Tyler Bauer out of the playoffs. Reminder that Tyler doesn't think climate change is a thing, likes Chief Wahoo, is an Obama Birther, and thinks the Astros cheat.

*Unlike Tyler, Alex Bregman is not an actual corn-filled chunk of crap and did a really cool thing for a 9-year old kid.

*Bleacher Report's Joon Lee writes about Alex Bregman wanting it all. Bregman:
I don't find that much wrong with baseball...Stop saying no. Start saying yes.

*Ken Rosenthal: Alex Bregman means Bidness.

*Here's a 16-minute SportsRadio 610 (or whatever the spacing is) segment about whether Dallas Keuchel could return to the Astros.

*Chandler Rome: Brady Rodgers has come full-circle for the Astros.

*Jake Kaplan: Myles Straw wants to steal all the bases.

*The Houston Press' Jeff Balke asks if Kyle Tucker can take the next step in 2019, comparing Tucker's limited PAs to Bregman's limited PAs to open his MLB career.

*Catcher Scott Manea - acquired in the J.D. Davis trade with the Mets - handled a Verlander spiked curve and caught an "Attaboy" and felt very good about himself. Manea:
For [Verlander] it's a low-stress situation, but for me it's probably the most stressful situation I've been in so far this year.

*The Crawfish Boxes have a "Where Are They Now" edition for the 2012 Astros' Top Prospects.

*Should you be a subscriber, and I am decidedly not, of Baseball America, they have an "If Every AL West Team Was Homegrown" article.

*The New York Times' Tyler Kepner takes a look at the new direction of the Baltimore Orioles, which is similar to the New Direction of the Houston Astros But Seven Years Later.

*FanGraphs' Jeff Sullivan has accepted a position with the Rays, and we are all worse for it.

*Facts & Figures from SI's Top 100 MLB Players list.

*Christopher Hasson plotted attacks from his desk.

*A Musical Selection:

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Thursday Lunchtime Hot Links

Soooooo sllooooow. Baseball is actually a dream and we'll all wake up and have to pee at 3am, knowing it will never be played again.

*Here's an unpaywalled interview transcript between Chandler Rome and Jim Crane, in which he addresses bringing back Keuchel/Marwin, extending Verlander/Cole, etc.

*Hinch named the starting rotation for the first slate of Spring Training games.
Saturday: Framber Valdez
Sunday: Rogelio Armenteros
Monday: Justin Verlander
Tuesday: Gerrit Cole
Wednesday: Wade Miley/Collin McHugh
Thursday: Brad Peacock

*Catching prospect Jamie Ritchie noted that Forrest Whitley looks "ready to go."

*Jake Kaplan has a great story about Abraham Toro, the Astros' French-Canadian-Venezuelan prospect. Forrest Whitley, on Toro:
He is like the most underrated prospect in our system. There are a few guys who don't get as much attention as they deserve and I feel like he's the main one.

*In The Athletic: No baseball departments have been hit harder by analytics than scouting.

*How Tim Donaghy fixed NBA games.

*Urban Organics wants to fix food.

*A Musical Selection. I may be the only dude in America who still listens to the Dandy Warhols regularly:


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Wednesday Morning Hot Links

Welcome to the Wednesday Morning Hot Links, or today we can call it, the Houston Chronicle Sports section.

2 days until Spring Training baseball and I got the #1 pick in my fantasy draft. Big day for Flick already.

Cavan Biggio's dad decided to hang out at camp today and talked about stuff.

Alex Bregman is continuing to progress from his surgery he had over the offseason.

The Astros won the popularity contest of "best uniforms in baseball".

I don't have a Daddy's Home joke at the ready, but there is definitely one here somewhere.

Chandler Rome talks Garrett Stubbs.

The first televised Spring Training game begins Sunday. 9 other games will be televised.

Bregman and Jake crashed Yuli's photoshoot and we found out the age old question to what happens to Yuli's new hairdo when a hat is pressed on it: it bounces back with authority.

On This Day in Baseball History

In 1963, Willie Mays signed the largest contract at the time in MLB history at $105,000.

In 1992, Mr. Montgomery Burns hired 9 professional MLB players to beat Shelbyville in the big softball game.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Tuesday Morning Hot Links

Good morning. The 2018 Astros were 21-15 after 36 games, with a combined team 2.68 ERA.

*Josh Reddick said he focused too much on pulling the ball on the inner-half of the plate last year. In that link, McTaggart talks about the adjustments Ronnie Dawson is making, as well.

*SP5 is's Spring Training Battle to watch for the Astros.

*There's a pathway for both Marisnick and the out-of-options Tony Kemp to make the Opening Day roster. Jake Kaplan breaks it down. Marisnick does have an option left, but will hit five years of service time 40 days into the season, upon which he can decline the minor-league assignment.

*The Astros are chilling out with the "Ted" stuff on Kyle Tucker.

*Cy Sneed spent his offseason hunting bears and substitute teaching in Alaska.

*2017 26th Round pick Josh Rojas is ready to be the Astros' next super-utility player. While Rojas hit .311/.410/.511 for High-A Buies Creek in 2018 in his Age 24 season, he hit .251/.338/.385 in 451 PAs after getting bumped up to Corpus, playing 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, LF, and RF.

*Rob Manfred could have been sympathetic to the MLBPA. Instead he decided to piss them off.

*Check this story in The Athletic from FOAC Levi Weaver in which he embedded with a sports agency as they prepared for arbitration.

*Meet David Rice Atchison, President of the United States for one day in 1849.

*Here's something to which I can attest: Exercise may help to fend off depression.

*A Musical Selection:

Monday, February 18, 2019

Monday Morning Hot Links

5 more days until Spring Training baseball.

Verlander and Cole faced carbon-based life forms in camp today.

A.J. Hinch says Brantley will play left and right field, and will likely not see much time at first base.

Along those line, Hinch also confirmed Yuli will play some third base this year along with first base.

The young Astros are getting the big league treatment by the pros already, and it's intimidating.

Jeff Luhnow and Mike Elias were reunited at the Spring Training Media Day. In fact, they had booths right next to each other. Elias mentioned during the Q&A:

"I thought I might have the awkward experience of having to answer questions within earshot of Jeff, like having one of my parents listening to me talk or something, but him being tardy saved me from that."

Carlos Correa is a yoga man now.

Cy Sneed is a lumberjack man now.

The Australians are growing people-sized food because of course they are.

On This Day in Baseball History

In 1944, Joe Nuxhall becomes the youngest MLB player to ever pitch in a game. He was 15.

In 1998, legendary Cubs broadcaster Harry Caray passed away at the age of 83.

In 2009, the final remains of Shea Stadium were destroyed, officially marking the end of the historic park.