*Cockroach makes his long-awaited return to Astros County by making a case for Jose Quintana.
*Houston native Todd Kalas will replace Bill Brown in the broadcast booth this season. Kalas has spent the last 19 years as the Rays' play-by-play man and is the son of legendary broadcaster Harry Kalas.
*Corpus' Brendan McCurry was suspended 50 games after testing positive for meth (!). McCurry was acquired by Oakland in the Jed Lowrie trade - no, the second one - and split time between Corpus and Fresno. In 82IP McCurry allowed a 3.07 ERA/1.17 WHIP with 94 strikeouts.
*George Springer is still deciding on whether or not he'll play in the World Baseball Classic. Springer:
It'll obviously be an honor to play for whoever it is (Springer can play for USA or Puerto Rico), but at the same time my first commitment is the Houston Astros and the 25 guys who are going to be in that clubhouse.
*There are 95 known HOF ballots (about 21%) and Jeff Bagwell has appeared on 87 (92%) of them, having picked up five of the 12 ballots he needs to get that 75%.
*The wait is over: The Indians have signed Edwin Encarnacion to a 3yr/$60m deal (max deal is 4yrs/$80m with option/buyout). That's a lot shorter of a deal, and a lot cheaper of a deal, than I - and probably most people - were expecting. As we get closer to the start of the season, we'll be looking at how the Astros stack up (on paper) against the major AL contenders. As of right now I'd have the Astros up against the Indians, Red Sox, and Rangers in the top four in the American League. The Rangers could field a team of 12 blind guys, 10 cats, and three random kids from Forney and I'd still think "Yeah, but Banister sure can get something out of that team."
*Jeff Sullivan: Pitch framing was doomed from the start.
*Jerry Crasnick: Did Curt Schilling tweet his way out of Cooperstown?
*The Yankees and Red Sox might play a series in London.