-Francis Martes threw 3IP, 2H/0ER, 3K:1BB.
-James Hoyt pulled a James Hoyt and allowed 3H/3R (2ER), 1K:0BB in 1IP.
-Tyler White was 2x3, hit his 1st home run of the Spring, and had a double.
-Derek Fisher went yard off Scott Kazmir.
-A.J. Reed was 2x3.
-Tony Kemp was 2x4.
-Jake Marisnick was 2x4.
*A.J Hinch is in no rush to name an early-April successor to Yuli Gurriel. Hinch:
Obviously, Whitey had a good day today; Davis has had good days; Reed's swinging the bat better. Those three guys, in particular, are fighting for the job.
*Hunter Atkins writes that Jose Altuve is just about in mid-season form. Altuve:
I feel good. I've been working really hard to the point where I want to be. I don't know yet if I'm ready, but I'm really, really close to where I want to be. I've had enough workouts to feel like I'm prepared for the season.
*The Astros renewed Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman for 2018, with a nice little increase (though still well below what they're worth, but that's how baseball economics go):
Can't wait to hear about how the Astros are destroying baseball now.
*Hall of F. Famer Craig Biggio said the Astros have the talent and chemistry to repeat.
*Dallas Keuchel said there won't be a World Series hangover (for God's sake, there's no such thing as a World Series hangover. Just because the Cubs dryhumped their way into April 2017 doesn't mean that it's a given). The way he said it, though, caused a Bit Of A Stink among Cubs fans. Keuchel:
We're not the Cubs. I firmly believe we have better players.
I linked to the post yesterday morning where he said this to Dave Sheinin. I didn't give it a second thought - not enough to pull that quote. Keuchel's statement is another post for another time - a tale of the tape between the 2018 Astros and the 2017 Cubs. Nobody write that up. I call dibs. I'm in Houston this weekend, so it's a busy time, so it won't be in the next 72 hours. But let's go back to the aforementioned Hunter Atkins article:
We know we are good - the World Series champions - but I think we are doing a really good job of leaving that behind us. It's nice to win a World Series, but it's really nice to win another one. For us, in order to get another one, we have to forget what we did last year.
Hey let's ask Lance McCullers what he thinks:
The Yankees are a good team. We duked it out until Game 7...to see who was going to go to the World Series, and they're a great team. They went out and got the MVP, but we have Verlander for a full year.
OH NOES STOP THE PRESSES. REVERT TO DRAFT. The defending champions are confident going into the next season? They've learned from any possible mistake their World Series predecessors made? THAT'S DISRESPECTFUL. (Ed. Note: Feel free to set yourself on fire if you believe this.) The Astros are not responsible for the insecurities of Cubs fans. Give Dallas Keuchel an extension.
*Jake Kaplan writes about how Joe Smith - who picked the Astros over a similar offer from the Rockies - gives the Astros a different look. Smith:
I didn't sign here to pitch the eighth or seventh or anything. I just signed here because I know they're going to have a good chance to win another ring.
Everybody in the bullpen has to be willing to understand what our goal is. Our goal is to have a really good reliever available and ready to pitch in leverage innings...I'm trying to break down to them and be honest with them that the days of having a regimented role, I don't know if they're over, but it's not the way this team is built.
*This SI Fantasy Guy says to avoid Justin Verlander:
We shouldn't expect much, if any, dropoff now that he's in his Age-35 season. What this does reflect, however, is that Verlander has been among the most fortunate pitchers in baseball the previous few seasons, especially last year, and that regression could be coming for him in a big way.
WE SHALL SEE.
*Astros players are buying scooters, I guess.
*Jon Heyman actually listed the Astros as one of the winners of the offseason.
*Jeff Sullivan: Why Mike Moustakas' market didn't develop.
It's a really good look at why Moustakas got "screwed." He didn't really get screwed, but in baseball economics...yeah, he did. Last night I mentioned on the cursed website Twitter dot com that maybe he got bad advice from his agent (Scott Boras). Let's not forget that the Royals made him a qualifying offer to renew for 2018 at $17.4m. He turned that down. Most everybody turns that down, unless you're Colby Rasmus and actively take pleasure in not giving a f...
Still baseball economics seem to be changing. I've opined before that, if you're cool with front offices getting smarter by valuing defensive shifts, spin rate, launch angles, then it's only a matter of time that they maximize player value by...maximizing the value of actual dollars they spend. Could be that everyone is saving their money for next year's free agent class. Could be that teams would rather use their money extending their younger guys (cough Bregman Correa Altuve Springer McCullers cough) than spending it on a 29-year old 3B with a career .730 OPS (yes, I know he's been much better over the last two healthy seasons.)
We need to wait a couple more years to determine if this is how front offices do business. But all parties involved don't get to determine when the paradigm shifts. If you hate Scott Boras, you win. If you think players should get paid something related to what they're worth, you lost, and players lost. Manager has spent a long time trying to screw over the labor as much as possible: draft slotting, luxury tax, colluding with the MLBPA to sell out minor-leaguers. That's the focus of a post coming this week. But this financial offseason felt inevitable.
*Follow this guy:
And, now, some personal news: that story was one of my last on the #Alabama beat.— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) March 8, 2018
I'm thrilled to announce I've accepted a job as the #Astros beat writer at the Houston Chronicle. I'll start next week.