Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cesar Carrillo arrested

Astros pitcher Cesar Carrillo was arrested early this morning at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

Says the St. Petersburg Times:
Casino police charged Carrillo with trespassing after a warning at 3 a.m. Details about what led to that warning were not available. Carrillo, 26, was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail and later released on $500 bail.

There's an updated version of the linked article that includes:
Casino police charged Carrillo with trespassing after a warning at 3 a.m. Seminole Tribe spokesman Gary Bitner said Carrillo left the Tampa casino when initially warned but came back 15 minutes later, so officers detained him. Bitner declined to disclose what prompted the incident.

The Astros claimed Carrillo off waivers in September.

Here's your Astros mini-camp roster

Zach Levine has your mini-camp roster, taking place in advance of Spring Training.

What time is it? Time for Norris to step up

Brad Mills told Bud Norris that it's time for Norris to grab a bigger role on the Astros:

"Today, I told him it's time for him to step up. He's got all the ability in the world. We know that, I think he knows that. We don't want him to put pressure on himself. But at the same time, there reaches a point when a guy really needs to step up. He had one full season at the Major League level last year. It's time for him to start doing that."

More Mills:
"So you have to kind of measure that and say, 'We want you to develop but you have to pitch like a Major Leaguer.' So there's a balance there. You want to push him but at the same time understand. You might spend a little more time with him, but it's time to get after it now. At the level we're at, at the level he's at, it's time to get after it and pitch like he's capable."

You cannot hit Fernando Abad

And neither can Estrellas de Oriente, since Abad threw six no-hit innings against them in Game 3 of the Best-of-Nine finals.

And get this:
After going 3-0 in 10 regular-season Winter Ball appearances, Abad improved to 4-0 in the playoffs. He's pitched 19 scoreless innings, allowing only eight hits and three walks while striking out 17.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Former Astro Tranzactionz

So...the Mets signed Tim Byrdak and the Rays signed 2010 Express member Jonah Bayliss, to a minor-league contract.

Lyles listed as 10th-best RHP prospect

Jonathan Mayo listed his 10 best RHP prospects, and for once, Jordan Lyles is on the list - at #10.

The Astros seem to be turning things around with a youth movement as a once-somnambulant farm system is starting to produce players. Next up could be Lyles, who is only 20 years old. He's got a three-pitch mix --fastball, breaking ball, changeup --and in many ways his secondary stuff is better than the fastball. But the heater and the other pitches get better grades because he commands them so well and he's got a very good feel for pitching. He's in the No. 5 starter mix in Houston, but even if he goes down to Triple-A to start the year, Astros fans should see him in 2011.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What - Drayton doesn't love Astros County?

So Rich Malley interviewed Alyson Footer and there was an interesting exchange:

What kind of relationship do you have with the Astros fan sites?

Well, we like them. We are pro fan blogs. We have three main ones in Houston.

I’m a Crawfish Boxes guy.

We like them. Drayton (team owner Drayton McLane) really likes them. So when Drayton likes them, we like them. (laughs)

What? Run-DMc doesn't like Astros County? This is some bull crap!

In all seriousness, congratulations to our friends at TCB for the high-profile shout-out (though we burn with envy). It's always nice to know that management is "pro fan blog," and that is said with the distinct possibility that Astros County isn't one of the three main ones.

Lance was just like us

We're about to institute a moratorium on the Lance stories, just because he is now dead to us. But this article is pretty good. And your money quote from Berkman, read the first sixteen words, and then stop. It's better that way.

"For most of my career, I couldn't stand the Cardinals. I basically hated the organization's guts -- in a good way. In a fun way. It's more just a healthy respect, I should say. But that was part of what drove me here, too. I think so much of this organization and so much of the people, from [manager Tony La Russa] to his coaching staff to the players that have been around and I've competed against for so many years. I couldn't think of a better place to be."

Sporting News: The Astros had the 4th-best the NL Central

According to Stan McNeal and the Sporting News, the Astros had the 4th-best offseason of all of the National League Central:

Judging by its offseason acquisitions, Houston isn't convinced its strong finish means it is ready to contend. The Astros made two lineup changes that can be considered marginal upgrades. They signed utilityman Bill Hall to play second base and traded for a shortstop, Clint Barmes, who lost his everyday job at second base in Colorado. They also brought in lefthanded starter Ryan Rowland-Smith, discarded by the Mariners after a dismal 2010, and unloaded reliever Matt Lindstrom.

And then your pre-Spring Training prediction:
Expect the Reds and Cardinals to lead the way, with the Brewers coming fast and Cubs closing steadily. The Astros could take another step forward but lack the depth of the contenders. The Pirates will need a lot to go right to end their record streak of consecutive losing seasons at 18.

Bogusevic at 1B?

Due to Bogusevic's 32 games at 1B for Round Rock in 2010, Ed Wade would be comfortable with him playing 1B for the Astros, should things not go according to plan with Wallace.

Astros will pick 11th in June

So, it's apparently now official, the Astros will be picking 11th in the 2011 June Draft.

This is the third time in the last four years the Astros will have a pick in the first half of the round. For the past ten drafts, the Astros have averaged picking 18.6 in the draft.

Astros preview, via Brewers blog

Bernies's Crew, one of our favorite Brewers blogs, posted their 2011 Astros preview, and it's in-depth, and well worth a read.

Here's your closing shot:
I'll say this: their offense features four wild cards in Carlos Lee, Bill Hall, Clint Barmes, and Brett Wallace. Their pitching staff does not look strong on paper, but could surprise some people during the actual games; how does a 30-50 run improvement on offense and 20 run improvement on pitching/defense sound? We'll say the club looks like a 651 RS / 709 RA team -- better than 2010, but they'll have to rely on their efficiency once again to surprise their opponents.

Mills is flirting with Lyles

The Oklahoman's Ryan Aber has an article on Jordan Lyles this morning, as part of the Caravan tour.

“I don’t have a timeline for when I’d like to or anything. It’s just whenever they think I’m ready. I’ll just keep working toward that.”

“He’s pretty special. I’m looking forward to what he’s going to bring to the major league club on a very, very, very short time period.”

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Clemens expects to be 1B3

So Koby Clemens is invited to Big League Camp for Spring Training in about a month or so, and he's still expecting to be at first base:

"I would still expect to be playing first base when I go to Spring Training. We haven't talked about anything else, so I expect to be working at first base and trying to make my way that way."

What's his preference?
"I always joke around when people ask my favorite position, and I tell them it's the batter's box. I'll do whatever it takes to get in the lineup."

Do you have an Astros tattoo?

From Citizen Chris:

From Twitter follower Yourescum:

Do you permanently (or perhaps temporarily, with a pen) rock the Astros (but aren't in a Houston-based gang)? Send us a pic at astroscounty (at)

What would you give Wandy?

It's a question we've asked before, but in light of Levine's piece on the Astros' willingness to talk long-term with Wandy -

“We certainly remain open about the possibility of getting a multiyear deal done with Wandy. In our way of thinking, multiyear contracts should really be buying out some substantial amount of free agency in the process, and in order to do that on a player with Hunter’s service at this point in time, we’d be talking about a contract much longer than we’re comfortable with.”

- so basically, Wandy may get a longer-term deal, but to buy out "substantial amounts of free agency," the Astros would be looking at three years of Pence's arbitration plus free agency. Would you give Pence a six-year deal?

But the question we're posing here is, "How much would you give Wandy?"

Wandy turned 32 yesterday. So there's that. From yesterday's arbitration exchanges, his agent (Barry Praver) wants $10.25m. I'm guessing that the numbers would start at 3yrs/$33m. Would you commit to that?

Wandy has pitched in six seasons, making 20+ starts in all of them (and 65 starts in the last two seasons combined). He's a tale of two pitchers, split between 2005-07, and 2008-10.

From 2005-07: 28-33, 5.17 ERA/1.45 WHIP. 336K:178BB. 85 ERA+. 4.1 WAR. xFIP: 4.56/4.67/4.23 (respectively).

From 2008-10: 34-31, 3.36 ERA/1.28 WHIP. 502K:175BB. 121 ERA+. 10.2 WAR. xFIP: 3.75/3.63/3.68.

So yeah, he's been a much better player over the 2nd half of his career than the first. Is that worth gambling on in his Age 32-34 seasons? His most similar pitcher through Age 31 is Carl Pavano, who had a pretty dang good year last year in Minnesota at Age 34. With Brad Arnsberg, is it a valid assumption that he'll continue - for another 3-4 years - that he'll have seasons similar to his Age 29-31 seasons?

What say you?

How different from the '27 Yankees were the '28 Yankees?

So Richard Justice has a good blog post today about how the Roy/Lance trades went down last July, but he had an interesting little comment about not rebuilding, and dropped some history on us:

'You're always in some state of transition,. I'm sure the '28 Yankees were a little bit different than the '27 Yankees. That's just reality."

Is he right? (And hell and yes we're reaching on this post, it's just that it's gloomy out, and I need a break)

The '27 Yankees could pretty easily be listed as the Greatest Team of All Time, going 110-44, 114-44 if you count the World Series sweep, scored 975 runs (a +376 run differential), and were 31 games ahead of their nearest competitor.

The '28 Yankees went 101-53, won the AL, swept the World Series. But outscored their opponents by "just" 209 runs.

As a team, the '27 Yankees hit .307/.384/.488 and finished 1st in the AL in every category but doubles (2nd) and stolen bases (4th). The team ERA was 3.20, and 5th starter George Pipgras was 10-3. Herb Pennock led the team with eight losses, but a 3.00 ERA, and 19 wins.

The '28 Yankees hit .295/.365/.450 as a team, finishing 5th in doubles, 3rd in triples, and 7th in stolen bases. The pitching staff had a team 3.74 ERA, and a 102 ERA+.

So, yeah, there was a little bit of a difference between the '27 and '28 Yankees. But the '28 Yankees swept the Cardinals in the World Series. I could handle that kind of "drop-off."

(This post was brought to you by Hyrdrocodone)

Of course, the first question MiLB asked was, "How do you pronounce your name?"

Amazing. One of the ten questions MiLB asked prospect Mike Foltynewicz was "How do you pronounce your name?" (His response? It's Fol-ten-eh-vich)

Also, when players you follow start mentioning players they look up to who are younger than you are, it's time for tears:
I always liked Justin Verlander. He's got a tall frame, throws 98 and really knows how to get the ball up there. I always liked watching him play, and admire the things that he can do. I liked him when I was younger, and still do to this day.

What did he buy with his $1.3m signing bonus?
Not really, because I'm going to need that money down the road. Although hopefully I'll be able to make plenty more down the road and not have to worry about it. But so far all I've gotten is a truck, a Ford F150 with nice big rims on it. It's not the greatest on gas, but in the snow it gets you where you need to go.

More details on the DeShields arrest

Zach Levine has some further details on what happened with Delino DeShields over the weekend:

DeShields was stopped at approximately 11:30 p.m. ET after allegedly driving the wrong way on a one-way street near the University of Georgia campus. He told Athens-Clarke County police that he was leaving a Kappa Alpha gathering. According to the police, he said he had consumed a sip of beer earlier in the night and consented to a breath test, which registered .076 BAC. The legal limit in Georgia for a driver under age 21 — DeShields turned 18 in August - is .02.

Upon later being taken to the police station, he registered a .092 and a .094 in an intoxication test.

Police found four open bottles of liquor in the car, a 2010 Cadillac Escalade registered to DeShields, leading to the charge of underage possession of alcohol. The third charge was for the one-way roadway violation.

Corpus Christi begins highlighting players

The Hooks began profiling some projected Double-A players (captip to Farmstros for the link), beginning with Jose Altuve, Jay Austin, and Brandon Barnes.

There's not a whole lot you may not have known, but it's a pretty good summation of their respective 2010s.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pence, Wandy: Show Me You Love Me

Zach Levine reports via Twitter that the Astros have exchanged figures with Pence and Wandy, offering them $5.15m, and $8m, respectively. However, Pence (and his agent) want $6.9m and Wandy wants $10.25m.

I guess I'm with Pence on his number, and the Astros on Wandy's. Thoughts?

Arbitration Dealz!

So, due to some prior commitments today (like, "Work") we're a little late in getting you the news, but here's the big story of the day:

Michael Bourn avoided an arbitration hearing, signing a deal for $4.4 million for 2011.
Jeff Keppinger did the same thing, signing for $2.3 million in 2011 (not bad for a guy who'll be in a cast until May).
Clint Barmes did the same thing, signing for $3.925 million in 2011, plus incentives.

Ed Wade:
"[Assistant GM] David [Gottfried] handled the negotiations and indicated yesterday that we thought we had the opportunity to get at least these three done. The goal is always the same. It's to slot a player at the proper place in the salary structure, and I think the work David did and the cooperation of the players and their agents allowed us to do that with these three guys."

The Astros have exchanged figures with Wandy and Pence, and hope to get a deal done before a hearing, in which the Astros have to tell their players they're not worth what they think they're worth.

As AstroBrit pointed out in a tweet, the WAR figures aren't too shabby.

In signing Bourn, Barmes, and Keppinger, the Astros committed a total of $10.625m today for three players whose WAR totaled 7.0, or $1.52m per win above replacement.

Of course, Keppinger will miss until May, and Barmes is coming off a 0.4 WAR season, but Bourn's deal is quite nice.

Says Aaron Gleeman on Barmes:
He’s a good defender at either middle infield spot and the Astros were in need of a shortstop, but Barmes’ bat is utility man-caliber at best and making a trade for the right to pay him $4 million this season is all kinds of wrong.

Monday, January 17, 2011

DeShields makes a statement

With a captip to Citizen Andrew, Delino DeShields Jr has released a statement on his Facebook page:

"I take the responsibility of being a role model seriously and apologize to my fans and community, who continue to support my family and I during this unfortunate incident. I look forward to putting this matter behind me and sincerely appreciate the respect of privacy during this personal matter."

Sunday, January 16, 2011

DeShields popped for DUI

Zach Levine found out that Delino DeShields had a rough night, getting busted for DUI. As if that's not enough, he's 18, so there's the whole "minor in possession" issue, as well.

"It's a police matter," says Ed Wade.

Brutal. And stupid.