Friday, October 21, 2011

Fulchino is a free agent

Via MLBTR, we learn that Jeff Fulchino is now a free agent.

The Astros placed Fulchino on waivers, where he was claimed by the Padres, and didn't play much. Now he's on the market.

Drew Meyer: Coach

Former Astros' farmhand Drew Meyer has accepted an assistant coaching position with the University of South Carolina.

"But I think it's something I'd be good at. I have a lot of knowledge, a lot of things I've learned over the years. I've been paying attention to what works with players and kids and what doesn't work. Sometimes, it's just more about adjusting to different players."

How the Michael Bourn deal went down

There is simply too much to pull from, so stop what you're doing and read this oral history of the Bourn trade.

Interestingly enough, however:
At 7 p.m., Wade’s phone rings as he’s about to head home. It’s the general manager of another team inquiring for the first time about Bourn.

Astros: Wade – Our briefcases are packed up now, all we have to do is just say novenas for the rest of the night hoping Michael doesn’t get hurt. And I’m just about 10 paces from the elevator to push the button to go down to the parking garage. I said, “Out of respect, I don’t want to waste your time. I think we’re pretty far down the road on something.” And the response is, “Even if I’m willing to give you better players?” And I said, “Just take me at my word. We’ve known each other for a long time, stay out of it.”

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Andrew Friedman met with the Angels

Those of you in favor of the Astros throwing money at Andrew Friedman to join the Houston Astros of Houston now have a new bidder, The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Smilin' Ken Rosenthal:
Source: #Rays GM Friedman is #Angels' top choice. Met with #Angels execs Moreno and Carpino, as first reported by DRaysbay.

Great. So, should this deal go through, and the Astros get moved to the AL, we've got Ed Wade busting brains with Andrew Friedman, Jon Daniels, Jack Zdfuhfoweuhertrieonck, and Billy Beane. That sounds fair.

That $50m(-ish) isn't coming out of Drayton's pocket

Here's an update from Steve Campbell on the news today that the Astros are probably going to the American League for $50m.

An Industry Insider Familiar With The Negotiations:
“Baseball seems very interested to cause this to happen."

“We’re not changing the sale price. The engagement is between Jim and his group and baseball. They have not talked to us to reduce the sale price.”

Justice chimes in

Richard Justice chimed in today on the news of the $50m discount:

If MLB believed there were other bidders willing to pay $680 million, it almost certainly would have sold the team to one of them.

Now Crane is asking McLane to reopen negotiations. My guess is that request will not sit well with McLane even if $630 million is more money than he could get if he put the team back on the market. If it’s true that Crane wants a discount, McLane may be the one who walks away this time.

New poll!

Et tu, Dierker?

Larry Dierker's new column for MLB discusses how awesome Nolan Ryan is (this comes on the heels of Richard Justice's hero worship of Lance Berkman), but has an odd closing note:

Up until the last five years or so, I've been a National League guy all the way. But there is no line between the leagues now, no reason to be loyal. There's no National or American League baseball, no National or American League umpires. With Interleague Play, there's no mystique about the other league. I don't like it, but that's the way it is. I guess the only thing I like about one-world baseball is that I don't have to feel guilty in hoping the American League wins the World Series.

The cost of switching leagues? $50m (allegedly)

The New York Post says that Jim Crane is asking for a $50m purchase price reduction as compensation for an Astros move to the American League.

On that front, the two sides are in the “ballpark” on the price, although a deal is far from certain, sources said...

...One source close to the talks said there is a “65 to 70 percent chance” that Selig and Crane will reach a deal. If not, Crane will likely walk away from buying the Astros. MLB and Crane spokesmen declined comment.

A few things to note about this:

1. Who gets the $50m? Crane, or Drayton? Not that it matters to us, as fans, but will Crane "pay" $680m to Drayton, and then Selig gives Crane $50m? Or will Crane just have to pay $630m?

2. I guess the Astros get $1m per year in the National League. That's the price of tradition.

3. For the right price, MLB and Selig are willing to overlook Crane's history (which may be perfectly explainable, and Crane may have explained it to Selig perfectly), as long as everyone gets what they want: For MLB, it's two 15-team leagues and an inflated purchase price for 29 other teams. For Crane, he gets his team - albeit in a very different situation than what he thought. No matter, though.

4. $50m doesn't seem like an awful lot of money. It's basically the Astros' payroll, minus Carlos Lee. As much as one can blow off the value of $50m, that's what I'm doing. I don't know if supplementary draft picks could have been part of the deal, but an effort to make the team better as a condition of the deal would have left me feeling less like this whole kabuki was just a negotiation between a high-priced hooker and a john in a Bentley.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


According to Baseball America:

The Astros re-signed Jonnathan Aristil, and Jose Valdez - the latter of which had elected free agency, and then re-upped with the Astros on Monday.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Top Prospect Alert's Astros run-down

Here is Top Prospect Alert's Top 15 Astros prospects, with a run-down on their season. Below is their ordered list, click the link for explanations.

#1 Jordan Lyles
#2 Delino DeShields
#3 Jonathan Villar
#4 J.D. Martinez
#5 Mike Foltynewicz
#6 Jiovanni Mier
#7 Ben Heath
#8 Tanner Bushue
#9 Rod Quintero
#10 Austin Wates
#11 Mike Kvasnicka
#12 Ross Seaton
#13 Tommy Shirley
#14 Vincent Velasquez
#15 J.B. Shuck

Maury Brown: Crane will get approved

Maury Brown will get approved by the owners, says Maury Brown, in his latest article.

There’s never been anyone willing to say on or off-record which owners weren’t willing to vote to approve Crane in August. Speculating, it’s possible the Rangers might not have been keen to Crane. After all, Crane was part of a quickly cobbled together partnership with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban that had them in the auction process for the Rangers that eventually saw a group headed by Nolan Ryan and Chuck Greenberg winning. The auction process drove the sale price up higher than expected, which didn’t exactly sit well with the new Rangers ownership group. The odd thing is, that sale likely played into how much Crane’s exceptionally large group is now paying for the Astros.

All that aside, at least 7 owners must have had questions about Crane as the move to approve ownership transfer requires 75 percent of the owners agreeing. Certainly, Drayton McLane is for it, so 75% of 29… you do the math.

Click the link, it's well worth your time.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Crane met with a lawyer!

Maury Brown did some looking, and following up, on the CultureMap's report last week that Jim Crane's purported 2nd meeting with Selig:

Over the weekend, news came to light that while Crane did not meet with Selig again, he did make a trip with a lawyer to meet with league officials, a sign that the Houston businessman is edging ever closer to approval by the league’s owners in mid-Nov.

The Astros offense and making adjustments

So here's a random, thrown-together post about the Astros and the adjustments they were able to make. Let's get started. Maybe by the end, this post will have a point, and we'll take the pitchers tomorrow.

We'll begin with the team record. Against teams in which the Astros played more than one series...

Combined record of 1st series of season: 16-33 (.327)
Combined record of 2nd series of season: 19-34 (.358)
Combined record of 3rd+ series of season: 21-39 (.350)

The Astros offense, vs. SP for 1st PA: .252/.299/.368
The Astros offense, vs. SP for 2nd PA: .247/.298/.365
The Astros offense, vs. SP for 3rd PA: .274/.324/.401
The Astros offense, vs. SP for 4th+ PA: .291/.333/.465

The Astros offense, vs. RP for 1st PA: .254/.316/.358

Some notable splits:

Jose Altuve vs. SP for 1st PA: .125/.157/.229
Jose Altuve vs. SP for 2nd PA: .435/.480/.543
Jose Altuve vs. SP for 3rd PA: .273/.289/.364

Clint Barmes vs. SP for 1st PA: .255/.336/.406
Clint Barmes vs. SP for 2nd PA: .305/.362/.486
Clint Barmes vs. SP for 3rd PA: .218/.299/.372

Carlos Lee vs. SP for 1st PA: .265/.338/.456
Carlos Lee vs. SP for 2nd PA: .269/.327/.381
Carlos Lee vs. SP for 3rd PA: .311/.348/.545

J.D. Martinez vs. SP for 1st PA: .306/.327/.490
J.D. Martinez vs. SP for 2nd PA: .404/.412/.660
J.D. Martinez vs. SP for 3rd PA: .132/.250/.184

Angel Sanchez vs. SP for 1st PA: .221/.284/.265
Angel Sanchez vs. SP for 2nd PA: .190/.238/.190
Angel Sanchez vs. SP for 3rd PA: .302/.362/.340

What's the point? You tell me. By the time the 3rd PA against a starting pitcher came around, the Astros were out of it for all intents and purposes (that's not being snarky, it just means that with a 56-106 record, and only 26 comeback wins, it's a logical assumption). Still, the dropoff from Martinez' 2nd to 3rd PAs is wild, as is the bump from Altuve's 1st PA to 2nd PA. Someone's making adjustments, and others just...aren't.