Saturday, March 23, 2019

Saturday Morning Hot Links

So you can get used to seeing Alex Bregman in an Astros jersey for the foreseeable future, about 90 feet (or 150 feet, depending on the shift) from Jose Altuve. Maybe Justin Verlander, too. It was a busy day, five days from Opening Day.

*The Astros got five runs in the 6th to beat the Mets 7-3. Notable

-Brad Peacock threw 4.1IP, 6H/3ER, 4K:1BB.
-Framber Valdez threw 2IP, 2H/0ER, 2K:0BB.
-Carlos Correa was 1x2, and is hitting .333/.381/.538 this Spring.
-Yuli Gurriel was 1x2 with a walk and a home run, and is hitting .371/.436/.600.
-Alex Bregman hit his 3rd home run of the Spring.

The last bullpen spot will come down to Valdez and Reymin Guduan.

*And it was Alex Bregman who takes the Big News of the Day, as the Astros officially announced his 5yr/$100m extension, through the 2024 season. He will be 30. Jim Crane:
Everybody feeds off of Alex, he's got a great personality. He comes to the ballpark every day ready to play, and he leads by example. He worked hard and fits in well with the rest of our guys, and that's really what you're driving for as an organization...we're just happy to have him locked up for a while now.

Bregman says that the slow market didn't impact his deal, meaning that Bregman wasn't so terrified of free agency that he looked for an extension instead (which is exactly what I would be doing, were I in that situation). Bregman:
I wanted to play here. I didn't want to play anywhere else. I wanted to be in orange and blue for as long as I possibly can. I love this organization. I want to win here for a long time.

So here's the contract breakdown:
2019: $640,500 + $10m signing bonus. $5m is to be paid within 30 days, and the other $5m within 90 days of commissioner approval.
2020: $11m
2021: $11m
2022: $11m
2023: $28.5m
2024: $28.5m

In 2023-2024 there are escalators in his contract based on MVP voting: $1.5m for 1st Place, $750K for 2nd, $500K for 3rd. If he wins AL MVP in 2020 or 2021, he gets a $2m bonus. If he wins AL MVP a 2nd time, it goes up another $2m.

Chandler Rome: When Alex Bregman got his $5.9m signing bonus he promised part of it to his parents. His father refused. To which Bregman responded, "In five years I'm going to sign one for $100m, will you take some of that?"

Sports Illustrated: Alex Bregman is ready to become a national superstar.

*Oh, but that's not all. Loads of rumors that the Astros and Justin Verlander are moving towards a 2-year extension worth around $66m. Verlander, last month:
The city, the fans, my teammates, the organization from top to bottom - from Mr. Crane all the way down to the locker room - has made my transition easy and joyful. I felt accepted right away, and I really enjoyed my time here. That's a testament to all those people. 

*There was a report in The Athletic that the Astros and Gerrit Cole were moving towards an extension, but Cole refuted that report.

*'s Mark Feinsand: Five takeaways from a rush on players signing extensions, and what it means for next winter's off-season.

*SI's Jon Tayler: The extensions mean that owners have complete control of baseball economics, and it won't change until a new CBA is signed.

*Games 3-5 SPs:
Game 3: Collin McHugh
Game 4: Wade Miley
Game 5: Brad Peacock

*Outfielder Drew Ferguson, taken by San Francisco in the Rule 5 draft, cleared waivers and was returned to the Astros.

*David Barron: Robert Ford and Steve Sparks bring completely different styles to the booth.

*One of Oakland's few established superstars, Matt Olson, underwent surgery for a hamate issue.

*Alex Bregman's son got a big-time deal from the Red Sox.

*1843: How Turkish coffee destroyed an empire.

*NY Times Interactive: There is no reason to cross the United States by train, but I did it anyway. (Save this for when you have an hour and a half or so).

*Texas Monthly: Meet the guy who slowly stole Collin Street Bakery.

*Longreads: A middle-aged father battling depression with ultrarunning is attempting to run 1000 miles across Alaska, unsupported, and in the middle of winter. (Ed. Note: I, a middle-aged father battling depression with ultrarunning will attempt to run 13.1 miles next Sunday)

*A Musical Selection:

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Wednesday Morning Hot Links

Good morning Mike Fiers got shelled while we were asleep.

The big news of the day was the Ryan Pressly and Alex Bregman extensions, and I am happy to be the first one to break this news to you! This is what Ken Rosenthal must feel like! A real thrill I tell you what! Now I understand why he does what he does!

The Astros game was cancelled :/ The Boys have to adjust.

The Astros optioned all the best players of Spring yesterday, including Myles Straw, Yordan Alvarez, Nick Tanielu, and Myles Straw. Here's what Hinch had to say.

He also had some thoughts about the Deer Park fire.

No really, Nick Tanielu was very good.

Here is an article regarding Wade Miley's craftiness.

The Astros rotation could be enough to put them back on top this season.

The Crawfish Boxes sat down with pitching prospect Parker Mushinski for an interview about a lot of baseball-related things.

Astros have good pitchers, etc. etc. Very good farm system etc. etc.

Very pleased to hear Mayor Lincoln has been sworn in this week.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Tuesday Morning Hot Links

The Astros were off yesterday, so that gave the team some time in the cryogenic chamber. Houston plays the Phillies today at 12:05pm Central.

*Jenny Dial Creech: Alex Bregman might just become the face of the Astros.

*Jake Kaplan takes another guess at the 25-Man Opening Day Roster. Might as well let this Verlander fella take the ball on March 28.

*Chandler Rome: We're now to the point where the only goal for the Astros is more World Series Championships.

*Jim Callis writes that, when it comes to farm system success, the Astros are unrivaled. Stay for the note on Nick Tanielu. Oh, and hey, is Bryan Abreu's (signed for $40,000 in 2013) curveball similar to Lance McCullers' curveball?

*Forrest Whitley is trying to stay healthy and consistent this season.

*One of Richard Justice's 10 Burning Questions in advance of Opening Day is whether the Astros positioned themselves as Buyers at the Trade Deadline.

*There's a report that MLB is considering implementing a pay raise for minor-leaguers in the next CBA.

*New Favorite Player Carlos Santana (he's so smoooooth) destroyed a clubhouse television when he saw two teammates playing Fortnite. I have never played Fortnite. But two nights ago I had a dream that I was playing Fortnite for the first time and

*22 years ago yesterday the Notorious B.I.G.'s funeral took place in Bed-Stuy.

*After a mysterious freestyle ski run in last year's Winter Olympics, people called Elizabeth Swaney a scam artist and the worst athlete in the history of the games. They're wrong.

*I like to listen to Alt Nation on Sirius XM. The excitement of wondering if they're going to play Mansionair next, or Barns Courtney, or Young the Giant, or Billy Eilish, or Mansionair, or Billy Eilish, or Mansionair is just too much for me to handle.

*A Musical Selection:

Monday, March 18, 2019

Monday Morning Hot Links

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*laptop opens*
*knuckles crack*
*Google Chrome start and traverses to the Admin Page*
*new post starts*

Monday Morning Hot Links

Hey guys, Flick here reporting back from spring break and ready to do Hot Links once again! Thanks to James for doing the Hot Links for me all last week so I could catch up on my sleep and forget what it was like to have responsibilities. And now, whether you like it or not, I am back and ready to resume the normal Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule I have been on for the last several months.

The Astros defeated the Atlanta Braves yesterday 7-3. The MLB actually suspended A.J. Hinch for this Spring Training game after his scuffle with Angel Hernandez. 

Fisher 1/3, 2 BB, 1 SB
Bregman 2/3
De Goti 1/2, 2 RBI
Tanielu 1/2, 2 RBI
Valdez 4 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
They were wearing this.

The Astros play the Phillies tomorrow at 12:05 CST. Gerrit Cole will be making the start for Houston.

Cy Sneed and Jamie Ritchie were optioned to Minor League Camp.

Verlander pitched in a infielderless minor league game yesterday while the team was doing their own thing. His line? 
6.2 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 10 K

A.J. is really actually considering having Josh Reddick play first.

Forrest Whitley had an impressive Spring, but now it's time to wind down.

Here are some of the best Astros players to carry on your fantasy team this year.  

It's March. It's Mad™. In honor of this, there is a big tournament on Twitter where fans decide the best baseball player of all time. Keep up with the thread here.

A New Jersey man returned his library book 53 years past its return date.

A cow was seeking shelter in a Chick-Fil-A approximately 30 minutes from my house.

I very rarely do musical selections, but I just finished a game on my PS4 called Transistor over break, and I found what is quite probably my favorite vocal track from any video game I've ever played (and I've played a lot of video games). It has been stuck in my head all week, and I would like to share it with you.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Sunday Morning Hot Links

Pardon me for not posting Hot Links yesterday morning. As you regular readers have likely inferred, I am basically Eurotrash. Lots of Britpop, soccer fan. I get up to watch the Tour de France. It's a Problem, and of this I am fully aware. That said, my favorite team - Leeds United - came into yesterday 2nd in the Championship (the league below the Premier League). The top two teams get automatic promotion to the Premier League. Teams 3-6 play a playoff to be the 3rd team to go to the Premier League (while the three worst Premier League teams drop down a level. It's fascinating.) Leeds played Sheffield United at home yesterday morning. Sheffield United was in 3rd. It was A Big Game. Leeds hit the post, had chance after chance, and couldn't find the net. Sheffield United had one shot on goal, and it went in. Thus, Leeds dropped to 3rd, Sheffield United rose to 2nd. That's why there were no Hot Links. Because I was upset. There are eight games left.

*Oh, the Astros beat a Harper-less Philadelphia 13-5. Brad Peacock's curve was the best A.J. Hinch - who did not get thrown out by a trash-ass umpire today - .had seen this Spring. Also:

-The Astros scored nine runs in the 5th inning. They had 17 hits in the game: four doubles (Corey Julks, Yordan Alvarez, Carlos Correa, and Abraham Toro) and 13 singles.
-Michael Brantley was 3x3 with 3RBI and a walk.
-George Springer was 2x3 with a walk.
-Josh James made his Grapefruit League debut, and the plan is for him to start at some point this season.
-J.B. Bukauskas threw 3IP, 3H/1R (0ER), 5K:0BB with three groundouts and no flyouts.

*Hinch called A*gel Hernand*z "arrogant" and "unprofessional," and said they'd revisit what happened Friday during the season.

*Hunter Atkins writes about how Michael Brantley is the prototypical contact hitter. 

*Chris Devenski is getting inspiration from his new lion tattoo.

*MLBTR's Connor Byrne wonders if the Astros were aggressive enough this offseason.

*Scott Boras told Jon Paul Morosi that Dallas Keuchel "is receiving offers." Morosi says the Braves are closely monitoring Keuchel, which would make sense with McCann behind the plate for Atlanta.

*SI's Jon Tayler wonders when and where Keuchel will sign.

*A Three-Day Expedition to Walk Across Paris Entirely Underground.

*A Musical Selection: