*After the Gerrit Cole trade, the Astros are projected to go 98-64 with a +173 run differential. There are just seven teams projected for 90+ win seasons, four of them in the American League (Houston, Cleveland, New York, Boston). Mike Petriello says the Astros could add Lucas Duda and net two more wins in the win column.
Here's how the AL West shakes out:
Fort Worth: 78-84
*Eno Sarris writes that Houston might be the perfect destination for Gerrit Cole. Sarris:
The next breakout for Gerrit Cole might arrive by throwing more sinkers and high-spin breaking balls. The good news is, he's now headed to a team that's all about that sort of change. The defending champs just got better.
*It looks like the Astros will open 2018 with Brad Peacock and Collin McHugh in the bullpen. Luhnow:
We're just trying to load up and have as many top-notch pitchers as possible. Clearly, Peacock was a big part of our year last year. McHugh was a big part of our second half. There's roles for both of those guys on our team....It will sort itself out. I'm not going to tell you I know who's going to be in the rotation, who's going to be in the bullpen at this point or, quite frankly, that we're done making moves.
*Peter Gammons looks at Gerrit Cole and sees Max Scherzer.
*It's pay-walled but Ken Rosenthal cautions everyone not to jump to conclusions about the Gerrit Cole trade.
*Joe Musgrove hand-wrote a note to Houston. I hope he dominates in Pittsburgh.
*A scout reviewed the trade for Pittsburgh:
I think it's a brutal deal for Pitt. Musgrove and Feliz both have (major league) value, but both as relievers. Moran and Martin to me are throw-in types.
*The updated workings of the July 20, 2012 trade with Toronto:
Joe Musgrove: Traded to Pittsburgh for Gerrit Cole, January 2018
Francisco Cordero: Released Sept 2012
Ben Francisco: Traded to Tampa Bay for T.J. Geith, August 2012
Asher Wojciechowski: Selected off waivers by Miami, May 2016
Carlos Perez: Traded to Anaheim with Nick Tropeano for Hank Conger, November 2014, who was purchased by the Rays, December 2015.
David Rollins: Drafted by Seattle in the 2014 Rule 5 draft
Brandon Lyon: Granted free agency, October 2012
J.A. Happ: Traded to Seattle for Michael Saunders, December 2014
David Carpenter: Traded to Boston with manager John Farrell for Mike Aviles, October 2012
*Minor League Ball hopes Tony Kemp gets traded, because there's nothing left for him to do in Fresno.
*Sports Illustrated looks at the rarity of Dustin Fowler's lawsuit against the White Sox.