Psssst. Pssssst. Hey. Heeeeyyyyyy. Pitchers and Catchers report this week...
*Evan Drellich has a, uh, well, odd article about what the Astros will do now that the rebuilding seems to be over:
For an organization suddenly so keen to say it's living in the present, the payroll is a big - well, small - exception. What's the grand plan now that the rebuilding is over?
And so I assume he's looking for something more complicated than, "continue to draft and develop players while maximizing the window when the team is at its peak, and then keep that up for years to come."
The issue for just about everybody who is paid to write about baseball is the Astros' payroll. "When will they spend money?" asks the man with the press pass and laptop, wringing his hands. Let's just take a moment to note that Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa - arguably the best at their positions in baseball - will make a combined $4m this year, about a quarter of what Colby Rasmus will make. When you implement a plan like the Astros have over the last five years, what you get is a team with Correa, Altuve, Keuchel, Springer, McCullers, Giles, etc. all making considerably less money than what they would get in an open market. It's how baseball economics works, and fretting over when the Astros will extend [insert name here] is kind of useless at this point.
It is worth noting that, in the piece, Drellich mentions the Astros had talks with core players (Dallas Keuchel) about extensions, and despite being open to the possibility of extending Jason Castro, went to an arbitration hearing, anyway.
*Evan Drellich's Five Spring Training things to watch: Ken Giles, Jon Singleton, A.J. Hinch, Max Stassi, SP5.
*BREAKING: Carlos Correa is very popular.
*McTaggart highlights some of the prospects that could have an impact in 2016. A.J. Reed is one of Richard Justice's 20 rookies who could impact the pennant race.
*The Astros announced upgrades to concession services and wi-fi and the overall expectations of the team.
*Luhnow: Our goal is to win a championship.
*Newsday's David Lennon lists the Astros as one of three World Series favorites.
*Ken Davidoff's question for the Astros is whether Luke Gregerson will be butthurt about Ken Giles.
*Astros games will be broadcast in Spanish on FM radio in Houston for the very first time.
*Nolan says Dallas Keuchel is one of seven active pitchers who could throw a no-hitter.
*Ken Rosenthal said that rebuilding isn't tanking...and how much his opinion on that has changed in the last three years is staggering.
*Over the weekend, the A's traded former Astro minor-leaguer Jacob Nottingham to Milwaukee. Nottingham was sent to the A's in the Scott Kazmir trade. This is your weekly reminder that Milwaukee's GM David Stearns was Luhnow's assistant.
*2011 4th Round pick Chris Lee's stock has shot up since he posted a 3.08 ERA for Baltimore's Double-A team in Bowie. After struggling somewhat at Quad Cities, Lee was traded in May 2015 for $655,800 of Baltimore's international bonus pool money.