Well approximately four hours after saying that absolutely nothing was going on, the Astros (or at least someone who wants to move things along this off-season) decided to make something happen.
*Alyson Footer talked to Jim Crane, who said that the Astros are "actively pursuing a high-end starter" and that the Astros would be willing to trade prospects if it meant getting a deal done.
Not an hour later Yahoo's Jeff Passan said the Astros have "engaged with the Pittsburgh Pirates on trade talks" for Gerrit Cole and one name mentioned as a return is Derek Fisher. Passan:
For a trade to happen, Pirates almost certainly would need Kyle Tucker or Forrest Whitely as a centerpiece.
Yes, and for my week to really be complete I almost certainly would need $3.5m deposited in an offshore account. This is how the exchange would go, were I Jeff Luhnow:
Luhnow: Fisher for Cole? Okay, I can get on board with that.
Pirates: Okay, but for this deal to go down we almost certainly would need Kyle Tucker or Forrest Whitley.
Luhnow: You almost certainly would need my foot broken off in your rear-end. Verlander wasn't that expensive.
Pirates: Thank you, sir.
One thing Passan notes is the Astros' timeline. Dallas Keuchel (potentially) is gone after 2018. Verlander after 2019. Gerrit Cole won't be a free agent until after the 2019 season. If the Astros are just going to set this train rolling, these are things to consider. To that end, let's look at who's hitting free agency by season:
So in the absence of any extensions, the Astros stand to lose Keuchel, Morton, McHugh, and Verlander after the next two seasons. Exploring longer-term solutions in the rotation to supplement guys like Forrest Whitley, Joe Musgrove, Francis Martes, etc. makes sense, even if you have to deal one of the latter two with Derek Fisher. But the Astros aren't trading Forrest Whitley for Gerrit Cole. Of course, this could be a negotiation tactic with Yu Darvish, who wouldn't cost anything in terms of prospects.
*The New York Daily News says that Cole to the Yankees is "inevitable." That said an AL scout told John Harper:
(The Astros are) one of the few organizations that have the depth, at the big-league and minor-league level, to match what the Yankees can offer. But Luhnow has shown he doesn't want to give up top prospects if he can help it, so I'd still favor the Yankees.
*Mike Oz has five names - including Cole - the Astros should be looking at to bolster their rotation.
*Ken Davidoff wonders if the Astros are a "second, scary Red Sox" with which the Yankees have to deal. Davidoff:
The Astros look ready to run with the superpowers. Another big arm would be the latest piece of evidence in what already is a convincing case.
Fun that Yankees fans apparently have a hard time understanding that the Astros are good on their own, and don't have to be cast as a "second Red Sox."
*Brian McTaggart resets the rotation and breaks it down.
*Todd Frazier, who won the award for the dumbest home run of the postseason as well as the dumbest swing of the postseason, apparently told Altuve during the ALCS, "Whoever wins this series wins the whole thing."
*Here's a cool story on Reds prospect Hunter Greene.
*Austin: the Commissioner's Trophy will be in the Public Reception Room at the Texas Capitol from 3pm-5pm today.