*The Astros continue to add righty relievers to A.J. Hinch's stockings by signing Hector Rondon to a 2-year/$8.5m deal. Rondon:
I'm blessed for this opportunity. I wanted to come here. I've already won a championship and I want to win another. I feel close to this group. After just a few hours, I already feel a connection with these guys.
Rondon, who will be 30 in February, was non-tendered by the Cubs after a 2017 that saw him post 57.1IP, 50H/27ER, 69K:20BB, a 4.24 ERA (4.12 FIP), 1.22 WHIP but with a career-high 10.8 K/9. He's two years removed from a 2015 season in which he threw 70IP, 55H/13ER, 69K:15BB, a 1.67 ERA/1.00 WHIP. The Astros will likely hope he's more like that.
But as relievers go, a few bad outings can ruin things such as the previous paragraph. In a six-appearance span between August 12-23, 2017 he threw 5IP, 12H/8ER and allowed more home runs (5) than he had strikeouts (4).
Essentially the Astros have replaced Luke Gregerson and Tyler Clippard:
75IP, 73H/41ER, 88K:27BB, 4.92 ERA/1.20 WHIP with Joe Smith and Hector Rondon:
111.1IP, 96H/47ER, 140K:30BB, 3.80 ERA/1.13 WHIP.
Richard Justice writes that the Astros strengthened their only area of need.
Preston Tucker was DFA'd to make room on the 40-Man roster, which now stands at 40 Men.
*This Cut4 piece asks Brian McTaggart who is the Team DJ, best dressed Astro, and if Brian McCann will make a good manager one day.
*George Springer sang Christmas carols for Harvey victims.
*Around the AL West:
-The Angels signed Zack Cozart and, in an effort to employ every former Ranger ever, Ian Kinsler. ESPN's Bradford Doolittle analyzes their playoff chances. Dave Cameron says the left side of their infield is going to be insane. FanGraphs' Travis Sawchik says the Angels have won the offseason. Ring ceremony in Anaheim come April.
-The Rangers traded two prospects to the Giants for Matt Moore and might have four lefties in their rotation.
-Plagued by "the Deals Itch," Seattle GM Jerry Dipoto acquired a bag of Sour Skittles from the vending machine for cash considerations.