*With team payroll as high as ever, will Jim Crane allow Luhnow to add pieces at the deadline if needed?
I don't think there's a ton (of money) there, but if we need to add one or two more key guys and it's the right trade, I leave that up to (Luhnow). We have to create value for the team and he's very good about that. We're not saying that's it. If we get in the strike zone, we'll open up the checkbook.
*Beyond the Box Score: How the Astros can blow up traditional pitching roles (with lots of praise for Chris Devenski and Joe Musgrove).
*Jon Heyman gives the Astros' offseason a C, because they "overpaid drastically" for Reddick and McCann and didn't add a starter. Later in his column, Heyman says that the Astros made the most prominent play for Miguel Cabrera, but wanted the Tigers to take on over half of the $150m he had left on his deal.
*Tony Sipp explained what happened in 2016: arm slotting. Pitching coach Brent Strom, on Sipp:
He's going to have a bounce-back year for us. Big time.
*With eight players leaving for the WBC soon, Hinch will be forced to juggle his lineup and defense.
*Tony Kemp will get most of his Spring Training reps at 2B instead of in the outfield.
*With Grapefruit League play opening tomorrow, most of the regulars won't play until next week. Nori Aoki will play both Saturday and Sunday as he prepares for the WBC.
*Brad Peacock - Saturday's starter - enjoys being close to home in Spring Training.
*Peacock, Brady Rodgers, Joe Musgrove, Mike Fiers, and Chris Devenski are the first five starters of the Spring.
*Check out SABR's new e-book "Dome Sweet Dome."
*Jake Peavy has been through some crap, man.