Note: In yesterday's Hot Links post, I put that the Rangers had a longer championship drought than the Astros, knowing full well that part of that drought came when they were also the Washington Senators. In a constant effort to piss off at least one Rangers fan every day, the goal was to remind Rangers fans that they are New Money. I should have been more clear, and should have mentioned the Senators tie. I'm sorry, but I'm not really sorry.
*The first day of the offseason saw the Astros actually do something, claiming 34-year old (he'll turn 35 in January) Nori Aoki off waivers from Seattle. He's projected to make $6.8m in arbitration this winter and will fill in when Colby Rasmus rides off into the sunset.
-So obviously, if you're looking for the big upgrade splash from the Astros this off-season, the Aoki waiver claim isn't exactly going to ring your bell. Free agency hasn't even started yet, so let's not start yelling. However, Aoki does bring some things to the table that the Astros can use...
a) He's left-handed
b) He can actually make contact with the ball. Aoki struck out 45 times in 467 plate appearances. Carlos Gomez struck out 45 times from Opening Day until May 14, 2016 (127 plate appearances). Aoki hit .283/.349/.388 last season - all right in line with his career MLB numbers through five seasons.
c) He knows the new iteration of the Mariners. Let's not discount the possibility that the Astros will strap Aoki to a chair, Sig Mejdal standing menacingly in the corner with a wiffle bat, demanding that he draw the layout of the vault and pry information out of him about Seattle.
*Luhnow told 610:
He's a low strikeout, high contact, high on-base guy. (He) sprays the ball, and really gets on base, and runs well, seems to be a very complementary piece being left-handed and a contact guy to our righty-heavy power lineup.
*The Astros enter the Way-Too-Early 2017 Power Rankings at #6. (Rangers at 9, Mariners at 11, Angels 21, A's 27)
*Greg Rajan - who came to the Chronicle after a long tenure in Corpus - has a great profile on covering Ben Zobrist while he was a Hook.
*Alex Bregman was named Honorary Chair of LSU's Alumni Fund.
*Brian T. Smith makes some connections between the Cubs, Indians, and Astros.
*Wright Thompson (one of my favorite sportswriters) has a great read on the day surrounding Game 7.
*Don't miss Jeff Passan on the Cubs and Theo Epstein
*The only Cubs bar in Houston was pretty happy.
*Steve Bartman will not attend the Cubs' victory parade. Here's a good piece on why Bartman should reject any peace offering from Cubs fans.
*This 108-year old Cubs fan celebrated her second title.