*Jon Heyman says that, without Chris Sale, the Astros may do no better than their 2016 record. Heyman says that the inclusion of Alex Bregman would likely get them to a deal, but a rival exec said "The Astros are not trading Alex Bregman, no way."
*What would it take to land Chris Sale? Jim Callis says it would look something like:
Francis Martes/Derek Fisher/two lower-level high-ceiling prospects; or Martes/Kyle Tucker/Joe Musgrove/one LLHCP. Would you pull that trigger?
*Brian McTaggart, on the possibility of adding a bat, noted only Carlos Beltran as a player they liked. This piece has a good rundown on a number of Astros.
*Joel Sherman proposes a trade between the Astros and Mets: Evan Gattis and Luke Gregerson to the Mets for Zack Wheeler and Jay Bruce.
*Nori Aoki signed a one-year, $5.5m contract with the Astros on Wednesday.
*People are still working out what the new CBA means for teams. One thing we know, though, is that penalties for exceeding the international bonus pool will remain. The Astros can't sign international free agent for more than $300,000 next year.
*Every clubhouse will have its own chef and every player in Spring Training will get two seats.
*MLBTR has all the reported details of the new CBA neatly organized right here.
*Bob Nightengale has the winners and losers of the new CBA.
*Ken Rosenthal says the new CBA could ultimately hurt the players.
*Jeff Passan: New CBA foretells a labor war and the hijacking of the international draft.
*Coming to Minute Maid Park in 2017: Torchy's Tacos and Shake Shack.
*52 years ago yesterday the Colt .45s became the Houston Astros. Craig Hlavaty has the story of how that came to be, as well as the origins of the Rockets and Texans.
*Jim Crane is going into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.
*The lawyer/pianist who is changing baseball analytics.
*The rise and fall of former USC athlete Owen Hanson.