You can’t limit mound visits, especially from the catcher, when everyone is using adv tech to steal signs. You have to change them too often to try to keep things as “even” as possible. And I’m not talking about signs when a man is on second. https://t.co/VsNhPMlnWX— Lance McCullers Jr. (@LMcCullers43) January 19, 2018
*In Jon Heyman's latest super-helpful Inside Baseball notes column, the Astros apparently talked about Danny Duffy and Chris Archer, and ended up with Gerrit Cole. Oh but the Yankees were thought to have had a better offer for Cole. So great to have someone Inside Baseball to tell us these wonderful nuggets.
A separate Heyman column has some interesting quotes from logjammer Scott Boras regarding the low market for free agents and what the Astros have done, compared to the implied Other Teams:
Are you really telling your fans you're competing against Goliath? Houston is now officially Goliath. The other teams are going to need to tell their fans, 'Our club is not seriously a World Series contender.' The bar's been raised by Houston. If you are going to seriously say you're competing, you have to get these players...The Astros are special in all corners. They have excellent starting pitching, excellent defense, excellent pitching (Ed. Note: Said that one already, Scottie) The only area where you might say there's a question is the bullpen.
There is not a question in the bullpen. Also I'm old enough to remember when Scott Boras said this in 2013 about the Astros:
The Astros, they're like Disneyland. If the kids come, it's a great attraction.
*Jay Jaffe writes that this free agent class is flawed, and teams are smarter.
*Get a Cole Train shirt!
*Don't miss the Masked Marvel's thoughts on the hidden benefits of the Gerrit Cole trade.
*Brian McCann is obviously pretty excited to work with a rotation of Verlander, Keuchel, McCullers, Cole, and Charlie Morton:
This is obviously right there at the top. With the arms that we have, the quality arms we're going to be running at you on a nightly basis, and then the bullpen, we've got arms, and we've got depth. Those two things are what win championships.
In that link, Jake Kaplan writes that McCann is well aware that 2018 is the last guaranteed year of his contract (the Astros have a $15m option in 2019):
I feel healthy. I feel really good. I'm just going to go out this year and see what happens. But I love playing here. I absolutely love the city. I love the Astros. So hopefully I'm playing here longer than just this year.
*Mickey Storey is the new manager of the Quad Cities River Bandits. Perhaps you remember his legendary stint with the 2012 Astros when he threw 30.1IP, 27H/13, 34K:10BB. His 10.1 K/9 was actually 3rd on the team behind Xavier Cedeno (36K in 31IP) and Hector Ambriz (22K in 19.1IP). Storey was a "development coach" with Buies Creek last season. And in another reminder that you're getting old and that your professional life is simply watching sand slip through the narrow end of an hourglass, Storey will be 32 in March.
Elsewhere, the minor-league managers are:
Fresno: Rodney Linares
Corpus: Omar Lopez
Buies Creek: Morgan Ensberg
Quad Cities: Mickey Storey
Tri-City: Jason Bell
GCL Astros: Wladimir Sutil
DSL Astros: Charlie Romero
And I'm just now remembering that there is no more Greenville Astros...
*Phillies new left fielder Rhys Hoskins spent the winter working out with Former Astros Great Joe Musgrove and Chris Devenski. Hoskins:
It's good to be around those guys. They're just on cloud nine talking about it. It's a feeling we all chase.
("It" is probably the 2017 World Series championship).