Thursday, February 8, 2018

Thursday Morning Hot Links: Never Settle.

Oh a week out from Pitchers & Catchers, and now folks wanna write stuff.

Back-to-back World Series winners, listed:

1998-2000: New York Yankees
1992-1993: Toronto Blue Jays
1977-1978: New York Yankees
1972-1974: Oakland Athletics
1961-1962: New York Yankees
1949-1953: New York Yankees
1936-1939: New York Yankees
1929-1930: Philadelphia Athletics
1927-1928: New York Yankees
1921-1922: New York Giants
1915-1916: Boston Red Sox
1910-1911: Philadelphia Athletics
1907-1908: Chicago Cubs

Slogans are dumb. It's cheap ideology and I generally hate it. But this whole 2018 "Never Settle" campaign the Astros are rolling out has my nipples ready to cut glass.

*A.J. Hinch, on you (us), the fans:
I think the World Series will last forever. Obviously, we're going to hang a banner that will never come down. But the stories that I've been told in gas stations and coffee shops and restaurants and at my kids' school have been nothing short of moving. I give great thanks for them reminding us why we do this and why we are so entrenched in this city.

One of the things A.J. and I are both committed to is that last year was great, but it was last year. We're not going to talk about it. (Ed. Note: I will.) This is a new year, and we're focused on 2018.

*A.J. Hinch, on this offseason:
Believe it or not, we got better. 

Our team, on paper, is very strong. I'd be surprised if a team is stronger on paper, but that's all it is at this point - on paper. We've got our work cut out. 

Click the link for notes on Derek Fisher and Collin McHugh's roles in 2018.

*Un-paywalled from The Athletic: The Astros are shopping Collin McHugh. McHugh is under team control for two more years and wants Ken Giles Money, so I'm not sure about the "payroll flexibility" argument Ken Rosenthal brings. If he was like, "The Astros have a million starting pitchers and might move one for a couple of prospects - maybe one higher, and another in perhaps the Carolina League," then I'd sagely nod my head and puff on an imaginary pipe.

*Hinch is pumped for Verlander in Spring Training:
His presence will immediately make everybody sit up straight, stand up a little more, have a little bit more energy.

*Here's Brian Arbor yesterday on what Springer's arbitration settlement means going forward.

*Get ready to blow some more cash on these sweet alternate championship unis, which the Astros will wear on April 2-3.

*Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa worked out with a tennis ball and it was fun.

*Jenny Dial Creech: The Astros are determined to stay in the title business.

*Single-game tickets go on sale on March 2.

*The Houston Astros will visit the White House on March 12.

*The Trophy will be at "every single game." Please tell me this means literally all 162 games so Ramgers fans can see what it looks like.

*Here's Baseball Prospectus with their 13 Noteworthy PECOTA Projections, one of which is that Justin Verlander will be the Astros' 5th-best starting pitcher:
Most sobering are Verlander's top three same-age comps: Adam Wainwright, Jason Schmidt, and the late Roy Halladay, all reminders of how rapid the decline can be.

*Cionel Perez, Hector Perez, Gilberto Celestino, and Garrett Stubbs all got some lower-ranked love from FanGraphs.

*In the saddest Sadie Hawkins Dance ever, the MLBPA is going to hold Spring Training camps for unsigned free agents.

*5yrs/$120m just might not be enough for J.D. Martinez Scott Boras to eat on.

*Three years after getting in a daggum bobsled for the first time, Sam McGuffie is trying to be the third Texan to medal in the bobsled.

*Houston to Dallas to Connecticut to Canada to Pyeongchang. Sounds about right.