It's not always a comfortable process. That's kind of built into the idea of it, but it's an important privilege that players have negotiated, and I feel honored to be able to go through it as a second-year [arbitration] player.
*Hector Rondon, who won the 2016 World Series with the Cubs, said he doesn't see the same Spring Training clubhouse hangover in Houston that he saw in Chicago last year. Rondon:
I feel like right now we don't feel that hangover here. I know the Cubs, we felt it a little. We felt too comfortable. Here, these guys are ready, and I'm ready to compete. This year is a new year and we'll try to win it again, and I think that's the goal for us.
*Danny Knobler writes that a full season of Justin Verlander can be the key to a Repeat. Knobler:
The other contenders essentially stood by and allowed Verlander to become an Astro. They allowed the Astros to get the last piece they needed to win a championship. And because Verlander still had this year and next remaining on his contract, they allowed the Astros to go into 2018 as favorites to win again.
*Hunter Atkins writes that this offseason's slow free agent market could impact Dallas Keuchel's free agency next year.
*I like this Anthony Gose guy. Gose told reporters that he didn't like talking to the media, but then he sure didn't act like it. Knowing he's a Rule 5 pick, someone asked him about his confidence level. His reply:
I throw 100. It's high.
*The NY Post's Kevin Kernan says the Gerrit Cole trade is a "killer" move. Cole:
It's a special vibe here. The hellos are genuine. The hugs are genuine. It's not like you can't get that on other clubs, but you can just see it and feel it here. When we get in the room and have a meeting, the manager is not walking around the room preaching to everybody. Everybody is kind of sitting down, the same level. There's an atmosphere that just fosters that unselfishness, which ultimately is what separates you in meaningful games.
*Brad Peacock will pitch exclusively out of the stretch this season.
*SI released the final installments of their 2018 Top 100 MLB Players. In the 20-11 segment:
#19: Justin Verlander
And in the Top Ten:
#9: Carlos Correa
#2: Jose Altuve
So, to recap, here's how the Astros ranked in the Top 100:
*Jim Callis says that Frankie Tuesday is maybe 8th on the SP pecking order right now, but does have the stuff to stick in relief.
*Jon Heyman links some of the major free agents to the Astros, like Greg Holland and Jonathan Lucroy (I still don't get that one).
*From June 21-23, the Hooks will honor Corpus' naval heritage and play as the Blue Ghosts, and the logo is sweet.
*Jeff Sullivan: When Super Teams fail
*If you're lucky enough to find yourself in Cooperstown on February 23, there will be a special guided tour of the 2017 World Series Champion Houston Astros exhibit at 11am. Astros Weekend is August 4-5, 2018.
*Pace of play rule changes will go into effect before the 2018 season.
*Yahoo's Tim Brown: Anthony Rizzo - graduate of Douglas High School - heads home to mourn and heal.
WS prediction for 2018: Indians over the Nationals.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) February 15, 2018