*It is 145 days until the Astros open the 2019 season at beautiful scenic historic Tropicana Field.
*The Red Sox and Astros are listed as 6/1 favorites to win the 2019 World Series.
*The Astros extended a Qualifying Offer (1yr/$17.9m) to free agent Dallas Keuchel. Keuchel:
I would assume we'll turn it down and look at other offers and figure out what's best.
That's a safe assumption. Dallas Keuchel racked up 3.6 fWAR in 2018, and a total of 14.6 fWAR from 2015-18. That ranks 15th among all MLB SPs, one spot above Chicago's Jose Quintana who signed a very-friendly 6yr/$37m contract for the 2014 season. That's one end of the possible spectrum for a Keuchel contract. Another comparison might be David Price, who has 15.2 fWAR since 2015. Prior to the 2016 season Price signed a 7yr/$217m contract prior to his Age 30 season. While Keuchel doesn't have the track record that Price did, he still is a former Cy Young winner, three-time Gold Glove winner, Top-5 MVP season, lefty pitcher with command.
So I think I'm safe in assuming that Keuchel will get somewhere between $6m and $31m this season. I'm thinking someone ponies up 5yrs/$100m for him. One expert predicted 5yrs/$105m.
It's the element of the unknown that's a little concerning, but I have a few vacations lined up. I'm not going to be thinking about it much. I'll be getting updates and doing my due diligence. I'm going to be enjoying the whole process and I'll figure out where me and my family want to be.
If this is the end of the road for Keuchel in Houston, let's just take a second to appreciate his time with the Astros. He was here for the worst, and most magical, seasons in franchise history.
76-63 record. 3.66 ERA / 3.72 FIP / 1.25 WHIP.
Three-time Gold Glove winner
2015 IP leader / SHO leader / WHIP leader
World Series champion
4-2 record in the postseason. 3.31 ERA / 1.14 WHIP.
*MLBTR predicts Keuchel signs a 4yr/$82m deal with Washington. In addition to that pick, MLBTR also predicts:
-Marwin signs with Minnesota for 4yrs/$36m
-Morton to Philly for 2yrs/$32m
-Catcher Wilson Ramos to Houston for 3yrs/$36m
-Zach Britton to Houston for 3yrs/$33m
*The Astros did not make Qualifying Offers to Marwin Gonzalez or Charlie Morton.
*The Astros declined their $5.5m option on Will Harris, but he'll remain with the team as he's arbitration-eligible for one more year.
*The Astros did claim catcher Chris Herrmann off waivers from Seattle. The lefty-hitting/righty-throwing Herrmann will be 31 later this month and hit .237/.322/.421 in 2018.
*But if he's the Opening Day Catcher then something may have gone wrong. Brian McTaggart asks if J.T. Realmuto is a Realpossibility (see what I did there) for the Astros this off-season. McTaggart runs down some other catching options on the market, as well.
*The Astros did decline their option on Brian McCann (not surprising) and outrighted a rehabbing Jandel Gustave off of the 40-Man Roster.
*SI's Tom Verducci writes that sign-stealing is this off-season's most important topic for baseball. Verducci:
Many clubs now have as many as six high-magnification cameras installed in their home ballpark specifically designed to steal signs from opponents.
*Collin McHugh and Brent Strom are part of MLB's team heading to Japan for the Japan Series, November 8-15.
*ICYMI: Alex Bregman talked to Friend of Astros County Mike Oz about dressing up like Mark McGwire every year for Halloween.
*The Athletic's Lindsay Adler writes about Joe Girardi's summer coaching youth baseball.
*The Guardian: Meet the Marathon Cheats.
*A musical selection: