Saturday, March 17, 2018

Saturday Morning Hot Links

RIP, your bracket, about which no one cares. Opening Day is in 12 days.

*Lance McCullers was the only starter to play the Yankees in Tampa last night. It was his first time to pitch at his hometown Steinbrenner Field, as the Astros won 2-0.

-McCullers allowed 1H/0ER, 5K:1BB in 4.1IP
-Brendan McCurry threw 1.2 hitless IP
-Rogelio Armenteros threw 3IP, 1H/0ER, 5K:1BB.
-Tony Kemp was 2x4.
-J.D. Davis and Tyler White were each 1x4 with an RBI.

Brett Gardner, Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez, Didi Gregorius, and Aaron Hicks went a combined 0x13 with 5K. But 27 RANGZ.

*The Masked Marvel wrote up details of the Jose Altuve extension.

*So Altuve's extension will kick in beginning with the 2020 season. The Astros haven't confirmed it yet, so we don't know the details of how the $151m is spread out, but it will keep him in Houston through his Age 34 season. Let's take a moment to look back at how the economics work on a year-by-year basis:

(Note: This doesn't include possible extensions, etc. All numbers courtesy of Roster Resource)

Off the books after 2018

Dallas Keuchel: $13.2m
Brian McCann: $11.5m (The Yankees will give the Astros $5.5m in 2018)
Charlie Morton: $7m
Evan Gattis: $6.7m
Tony Sipp: $6m
Marwin Gonzalez: $5.125m
Jon Singleton: $765,432 (suspension included)

Total: $49.525m

Carlos Correa and Chris Devenski are eligible for their first year of arbitration.

Off the books after 2019

Justin Verlander: $20m ($8m coming from the Tigers)
Joe Smith: $8m
Hector Rondon: $4.5m

Gerrit Cole, Collin McHugh, and Brad Peacock will go into their first year of free agency.

Total: $32.5m

Alex Bregman is eligible for his first year of arbitration.

Baseball-Reference tells us the Astros have $21.4m already committed to 2020 with an estimated payroll (factoring in options, arbitration, etc) of $78.5m. They can afford Jose Altuve, who will be the 4th player in MLB history to earn $30m/year (Kershaw, Greinke, David Price).

Something to consider: the Altuve extension shows Correa, Bregman, Springer, McCullers, etc. that the Astros are willing to open the checkbook.

*Richard Justice:
Hats off to Astros owner Jim Crane for doing this deal. Hats off as well to agent Scott Boras for hammering out this contract with Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow. Maybe in the end, they all came to the same place: Money aside, which Altuve might have gotten plenty of in a lot of places, he will never be as beloved as he is in this city. 

*Jake Kaplan writes that the extension is yet another sign that this is a new Astros era.

*Get in the Wayback Machine to April 2013 when I wrote about Jose Altuve and the Astros' decision to move Delino DeShields to the outfield.

*Here's a post in Yardbarker about the value Jose Altuve has provided the Astros.

*Five things to know about the World Series ring.

*Check out Our Boy Daren Willman's new Top 100 Prospects at And check out his new feature on each year's draft classes.

*Reporter Allie LaForce and Joe Smith are trying to balance their respective careers.

*A couple of sportswriters are putting together a list of the best places to eat on the road.

*It's the biggest upset in college basketball history. The Athletic's Brian Hamilton has a great story about the game.

*Poor UVA alum Derek Fisher, who will get the day off:

A.J. Hinch:
It's probably a good day for Derek Fisher to not be in camp.