Friday, September 1, 2017

Thursday Morning Hot Links

Well yesterday sure was something. The Astros scored three runs in the 8th inning to beat the South Oklahoma Rangers of Arlington 5-1 and then added Justin Verlander last night at the actual last possible minute. The Astros are 80-53. The Astros have an 11.5-game lead on the Angels for the division, and a 3.5-game lead on the Indians for the AL's best record. There are 29 games left.

The Astros finished August with an 11-17 record, after having lost 17 of their first 59 games of the season. They entered August with a 69-36 record, a 16-game lead in the division, and an 11.5-game lead on the Yankees for the best record in the AL. They dropped eight games in the AL standings this month. Glad it's over, for many reasons. 

The Game

First things first. Collin McHugh labored through 4.2IP, needing 91 pitches to hold the Rangers to 4H/1R (0ER), 3K:2BB. McHugh:
It's been a tough week. Obviously, we're really fortunate in so many ways, to have been able to escape the devastation that's actually happened in Houston. We've been away for a while, and we're all ready to get back home. 

Devenski, who threw 2.1 scoreless IPs:
It's been tough on me because, in all reality, we should be there. We should have been there from the start of this. 

A.J. Hinch got himself ejected for the first time this season arguing a catcher's interference call with home plate umpire Chris Segal when hey what's this here comes Joe West for some reason to save the day and toss Hinch. Hinch:
I understand he's protecting a younger umpire, but there was really no business for Joe to be involved in the argument. I didn't say anything that was necessary to get thrown out by the home plate umpires, and then Joe got involved and decided I was done for the day. It was just unnecessary.

*Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, and J.D. Davis had two hits each. Derek Fisher came in for Carlos Beltran after he got hit in the foot and delivered a 2-run single. In August, Fisher was 10x61 with two extra-base hits. Beltran:
Good win. The most important thing is that we're going home and we're going to have a chance to be with our families, hopefully bring a little bit of joy to the city. A lot of people are going through tough times. 

Prediction: There will be at least four Astros on paternity leave come Summer 2018.

The Move(s)

*The Astros claimed Cameron Maybin off waivers yesterday. He doesn't hit a whole lot (.235/.333/.351 for the Angels this season, but he leads the AL with 29 stolen bases and will be a solid defensive replacement/pinch runner come October. McHugh:
He's a great athlete. We've seen him against us; I think he stole about 14 bases against us in a series. To have a guy like that - not only just another veteran presence, but a guy with athleticism and a guy who has been there before - I think it will be huge. 

Story checks out. In the June 9-11 series (Maybin played on June 9 and 11), he was 5x8 with two walks and six stolen bases. 

I said I got ejected just so I could make the call once we traded for him. I've got history with Cam; he's a great human, fun guy to be on our team. He's got a ton of speed and can play all three outfield positions. I'll work him in. 

It's a straight salary dump by the Angels, so the Astros will pay him about $1.6m for the rest of the season. 

*The Astros DFA'd Dayan Diaz

*Oh yeah, and then at the literal last minute they could possibly add him to the team, the Astros traded Franklin Perez, Daz Cameron, and Jake Rogers to the Tigers for Justin Verlander. Verlander and Upton wanted to go to the Cubs, but Tigers officials - who were at Verlander's home - told him the Cubs weren't offering enough. Jon Morosi has the breathless, sweaty/shaky hands details:
If you're going anywhere, the Tigers told Verlander, it's going to be Houston. With barely a minute to spare, Verlander agreed to leave the only organization he's ever known. 

*The deal was reported 18 minutes after the official deadline. Leading to super-stupid takes from idiots like this:

/yawns Astros Twitter is so stupid.

*Lookit Jim Crane being all snarky:
We thought the deal was dead. We had tried previously. He's a quality pitcher. I think he's excited to come. He was a little reluctant and eventually made the right decision. We got him for a couple of more years and the team's intact.

*I guess lots of people think his fiancee is pretty

Given the unfathomable damage Hurricane Harvey has caused in Houston, the Astros will become America's Team as they go for the first World Series title, a rallying cry for the city and symbol of hope, much like the Yankees in 2001 after 9/11 and the Red Sox in 2013 after the Boston Marathon bombing. 

*Jon Heyman begrudgingly fist-bumped the Astros:
The Astros, who've taken hits for being cautious in trades and kept their biggest prospect off-limits in all other deals, made the bold move their critics figured they'd never make, landing exactly the kind of big-time pitcher they needed for a team that's talented but whose best starting pitchers haven't proved their durability yet.

*Ken Rosenthal:
No player, no trade, no team can fix the wreckage left by Hurricane Harvey. But the addition of Verlander sure helps on the field. Maybe, just maybe, it will provide a figurative ray of sunshine off the field as well.

*Bob Nightengale reports that the Tigers will pay $8m annually for the rest of Verlander's contract, putting the Astros on the hook for $20m in 2018 and 2019. Buster Olney says the Astros' triggering his option for 2020 was not part of the deal.

As soon as my nipples die down we'll have a post on the financial impact of adding $20m to the payroll.

*JJ Cooper writes that both sides benefited from this deal. You can read his thoughts on Perez, Cameron, and Rogers.

*Because I need to get ready for work, here's my initial thoughts after four and a half hours of sleep:
This was the deal the Astros had to make. I don't know how much impact the hurricane had on the decision-making process, but the Astros will get today off to see their families and help out the community and go into what ought to be a raucous Minute Maid Park for a doubleheader on Saturday with Verlander in the dugout. This is a massive addition, a shot in the arms of the team and the city. Franklin Perez might turn out to be one of MLB's best pitchers but for a team that had been dragging ass since the trade deadline, this is the September Surprise they need. For everyone focused on winning multiple World Series titles, you have to win the first one first. If it backfires, no one can blame the front office. Trading for Verlander isn't a Kazmir/Gomez deal where you think, "If things break right, this might be okay." This is a slam dunk decision. Now I'm off to focus on my breathing.