Monday, December 11, 2017

Monday Morning Hot Links

*Random 2017 Astros Fact:

Luke Gregerson saved 47 games for the Astros, which is the 4th-most in the franchise since 2006:

1. Jose Valverde (69 saves)
2. Brad Lidge (51 saves)
3. Ken Giles (49 saves)
4. Luke Gregerson (47 saves). 

*Gregerson signed a 2-year/$11m deal with the Cardinals. There's a vesting option for a 3rd year based on the number of games in which he pitches.

Gregerson's FIP, 2015-17: 2.86, 2.99, 4.62.

His three-year deal was perfect. Gregerson was good over the first two years (which included the Astros' first post-season berth since 2005), and it expired the year he posted a 0.0 fWAR. Gregerson pitched in 188 games for the Astros over the last three seasons.

*Dallas Keuchel switched agents and signed with Scott Boras. Keuchel, who will be in his Age 30 season in 2018, is arbitration-eligibile for the final time this offseason before going into his first shot at free agency for the 2019 season. 

April 2014: Scott Boras:
The Cubs and Houston are major markets not choosing to spend. They might as well go around carrying a sign, 'Please help me finish last.' Where's the integrity in that?

November 2013: Boras goes all in on the Mets, Cubs, and Astros for their rebuilding strategy. For the Astros he says, "They're like Disneyland. If the kids come, it's a great attraction."

June 2013: On the eve of the Astros' 2nd-straight #1 overall pick (which they would use on Boras client Mark Appel) Scott Boras says he thinks the Astros will spend for talent. Brian T. Smith wrote:
Boras thinks highly of the person charged with directing the Astros' rebuilding and believes the organization is open to selecting the best available player based on talent, not just monetary.

You can't run a successful baseball organization by refusing to deal with Scott Boras, who represents the best players in the game. What we see over the selected excerpts from a few years ago is that Boras wants what's best for his clients. He was mad at the Cubs and Astros because they flat-out wouldn't spend money on his clients, thereby reducing the negotiating pool by two clubs. That's not good for Boras or his clients, so you're not going to see him come out at the beginning of free agency and say, "Not paying my guys is pretty smart." That said, this front office hasn't been in a position to lock up one of its players heading into free agency (with the Astros, anyway.)

If the going rate is $8m per 1.0 fWAR then Keuchel, who will be entering his Age 31 season in his first free agent season, could reasonably get in the $20-25m range per year. I just don't see the Astros paying that. 

Jose Altuve (who signed his current deal after dropping Scott Boras before re-hiring him), Dallas Keuchel, and Lance McCullers, Jr are all Boras clients currently on the Astros' 25-Man roster.

Should the Astros and Keuchel - who told Evan Drellich in October that he hopes to stay in Houston -  not come to an agreement on a longer contract, he would be one of the top-liners in next year's free agent class of starting pitchers.

*The Winter Meetings start today in Orlando or whatever faceless Disney suburb in which the hotel is located. Jake Kaplan expects some bullpen movement, but not much else:
The Astros' franchise-altering Aug. 31 blockbuster for Justin Verlander eliminated their need to seek a front-line starting pitcher ahead of 2018. With almost their entire World Series-winning roster returning, they need only tinker.

*At least six teams have shown interest in pitcher Tom Koehler, and I'd be surprised if the Astros weren't one of them. Koehler's dashboard stats are absolutely God-awful, but he fared much better in 14 appearances as a reliever (.711 OPS-against) than in 13 starts (.918 OPS-against) in 2017. And, as MLBTR notes, he almost abandoned his slider as a reliever in favor of more curveballs. 

*Dallas Guy thinks it's time for the Rangers to rebuild.

*The Cubs signed Brandon Morrow (5.1IP, 8H/5ER, 4K:1BB in the 2017 World Series) to a 2-year deal between $10-11m per year with an option for a third year.

*Jon Heyman talked to agents who think there will be a run on relievers this week.

*Jack Morris got into the Hall of Fame because of one good game.