Thursday, February 15, 2018

Thursday Morning Hot Links

*While ESPN and Chris Russo are busily dry-humping the Yankees and Shohei Ohtani, Justin Verlander reminded the media that the Astros are the team to beat in the American League:
Obviously, the old saying, "To be the best, you've got to beat the best," and I think we proved we were last year. This is a new year. Bottom line. Everybody's entitled to their opinion. Everybody in this locker room thinks we have a championship-caliber team here. We're not resting on any laurels. Everybody is excited to get back to work and excited for a good 2018.

*Evan Gattis:
I don't want to hang out and talk about last year forever - maybe off the field or away from work, talking to fans. It's incredible what we did as a whole for the city. Like I said, I still can't believe it. All that being said, you can't win the 2017 World Series in 2018. 

*A.J. Hinch, on setting the rotation, and what his staff need to do in Spring Training:
It's not a plug-and-play operation. Last year was not a magic carpet ride. We earned every bit of our 100-plus wins, the division title, the run in the playoffs. I want to maximize. I want to be perfect. It's hard.

*Dallas Keuchel, who will be a free agent after the 2018 season, said the negotiation window closes when the season starts:
If there is something, it's going to happen before the season. There's going to be no contractual negotiations during the regular season. I feel like that would be a negative light on some of the teammates while those guys are busting their butts. I don't want anything happening behind the scenes with me that would affect those guys.

In that link, Hinch said that he's not going to be as cautious with his pitchers like he was in Spring Training last year.

*Collin McHugh wasn't in camp yesterday as he was at his arbitration hearing. McHugh wants $5m in 2018, while the Astros would like to give him $4.55m in 2018. The result of the hearing is pending.

*Mike Lupica talked to Lance McCullers and Charlie Morton about their Game 7s. Morton:
It's such an emotional thing, the postseason. There's all this drama, and all this buildup, and then, just like that, it's over. And now we're back trying to do it again.

*Gerrit Cole - whose brother-in-law is Brandon Crawford - attended Game 2 as a fan.

*David Paulino apologized for his 80-game ban last season after his elbow was bothering him:
I was in a situation where I thought that my body wasn't responding. I needed to do something for my health and the ability to play baseball...I ask the fans to forgive me and to give me a second chance, and to the kids that play baseball to not follow my example and do it the right way.

*There will be a minor-league mini-camp for a few "select players" on Feb. 23.

*Alex Bregman stopped by an Angleton elementary school and donated a bunch of iPads for special needs students.

*The Astros didn't have a player make Richard Justice's 10 Players to Watch in Spring Training list.