Monday, March 25, 2019

Monday Morning Hot Links

I hope everyone enjoyed their March Madness weekend as much as I did. Purdue is in the Sweet 16. Life is good.

Oh yeah, and baseball is on in three days. No big deal.

Astros played their last Spring Training game in Florida yesterday. Notes:

Marisnick: 2/4, Solo HR
Toro: 1/1, 2 RBIs
Tanielu: 2/4, 2 R
Stassi: 2/3, RBI
Cole: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO

And the rest of the numbers...

Chandler Rome wraps up his final thoughts on the 2019 Opening Day roster.

Verlander believes his new deal is part of the new wave of baseball contracts, for the better.

Josh Reddick hurt his back putting on his sock, which is sadly pretty relatable.

The first MLB Power Ranking dropped, and the Astros are pretty high up there.

New Lima Time Time Podcast released a couple of days ago, so go listen to that.

Houston Astros Legend Erik Kratz just joined his 8th different baseball team in 9 years.

A 15 year old lacrosse player can't play lacrosse because his skull is too massive for the helmet. Poor guy.

This koala wouldn't get out of this air conditioned car because it was so hot outside.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Sunday Morning Hot Links

*Justin Verlander pitched last night, after agreeing to an extension, and dominated it. Opening Day is now four days away. Jim Crane spent $183.5 million last week. What did you do?

*Verlander has agreed to a 2yr/$66m extension through the 2021 season. Everything is coming up Luhnow. There is no deferred money involved, which makes Verlander's deal the largest average annual contract in MLB history (beating Greinke's $32.5m AAV).

Brian T. Smith: The Astros have their ace in place.

*Verlander last night: 4IP, 2H/0ER, 9K:0BB in a 5-0 win over Miami. The rest of the AL is on notice. Also notable:

-Springer: 1x4, 2RBI
-Altuve: 2x4, 2B/HR.
-Toro: 2x4, 2B

Verlander, who watched video from 2011, found that his hips don't lie:
Everything clicked tonight. It was a really, really good feeling. I can't even put it into words. Like searching for myself from a while back. It was something I've been kind of grinding on all spring and I kept finding the symptom and not the cause, and I think I found it. 

Jake Kaplan: With Cole set for free agency after this season, Verlander ensures some rotation stability for the next two years.

*Josh Reddick talked to Chandler Rome about the extensions to Pressly/Bregs/JV, and in a couple of tweets said this:
(It shows) that players are getting taken care of when they deserve it and it shows that this team is still willing to win for a very long time and put out the players that can bring them another championship. The more you keep this core together on this team, the better off you are. We do seem to get along so great. Signing guys like Bregman and Verlander and hopefully a couple other guys to extensions make perfect sense.

*A couple of days ago Ken Rosenthal reported that the Astros had interest in the Most Logical Choice Simply By Name Alone: pitcher Marcus Stroman. He also said that extending Verlander was "a long shot," so take it for what it's worth.

*The Astros are counting on Wade Miley to maintain his 2018 form. Can you compare the woeful 2016-17 Wade Miley to the 2018 Wade Miley? Hinch:
I just don't think you can compare. They're two different pitchers.

*With Reymin Guduan getting optioned to Round Rock, Framber Valdez has made the Opening Day roster.

*Jenny Dial Creech: Michael Brantley lets his bat do the talking.

*This morning, Hinch honored Tony Kemp, Josh James, and Framber Valdez for making their first Opening Day roster.

*SI's six-word preview for the 2019 Astros? "World Series favorite? I say yes."

*A Musical Selection:

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: