*A.J. Hinch is up to the challenge of "Actual Expectations" as opposed to "No Expectations."
*FanGraphs' Jeff Sullivan: Astros land dominant Ken Giles for potentially dominant Vincent Velasquez. Sullivan:
Giles has some risk, but Velasquez also has some obvious risk, and taking a step back, the Astros probably do need to concentrate more talent instead of having more quality players than they can protect on the 40-man. This is the Astros consolidating talent. And this is the Phillies collecting it.
*Will Harris is very excited about Giles and Sipp:
All of us selfishly wanted (Sipp) to stay, but at the same time he had to do what's best for himself and his family and his future. And for those two things to line up, it's obviously the best of both worlds. I was really, really excited for him and for myself.
*The Astros are one of Jayson Stark's Winter Meetings winners.
*Gosh, where have we seen this before? The Philadelphia Inquirer's Mike Sielski says the Phillies should be ashamed of themselves for all their rebuilding efforts. An actual line from the story with no context:
I hate new things.
UPDATE: It seems as though the previous link is some next-level satire that you have to be (a) from Philly and (b) a Sixers fan to get.
*Somehow Oliver Perez got 2yrs/$7m from Washington.
*The Reds are still trying to trade Aroldis Chapman, hoping that a club won't mind a pesky little thing like a domestic violence charge if it means a clock stoppage on his service time, which won't accrue while/if Chapman is suspended.
*Read what a crap sandwich Yasiel Puig is turning into in Los Angeles.
*The Nationals are fighting the Angels, Cubs, and Cardinals for the right to pay Jason Heyward for the next ten years.
*Brian Bogusevic is headed to the Orix Buffaloes of the NPB.