*Okay, it's a little busier than I expected. So let's start here:
*Jose Altuve won the 5th Silver Slugger Award of his career. Astros Silver Sluggers, franchise history:
-Jose Altuve: 5
-Craig Biggio: 5
-Jeff Bagwell: 3
-Jose Cruz: 2
-Moises Alou: 1
-Glenn Davis: 1
-Morgan Ensberg: 1
-Mike Hampton: 1
-Carlos Lee: 1
-George Springer: 1
-Dickie Thon: 1
*Dallas Keuchel went on Fox Business yesterday to talk about investing in some company that makes disposable equipment to deal with sweat. Oh, and the Yankees:
For the right opportunity, I would happily shave this beard off...The lure of the city would be really cool. I like pitching in Yankee Stadium...I am hoping there's more teams then (sic) just a couple. I think everybody is in play right now.
/Hard, heavy sigh
*Larry Dierker says, of the loss of Keuchel, McCullers, and (possibly) Morton:
If you're not worried, you're stupid.
*Mike Petriello takes a look at five pitchers right in the Astros' wheelhouse who could use a little Stromming: Sonny Gray, Trevor Cahill, Garrett Richards, Drew Pomeranz, Jeremy Hellickson. Click the link for the rationale.
*In the wake of the departures of Sig Mejdal and Mike Fast, the Astros have restructured their research & development department. Among the hires:
-Ehsan Bokhari, who will lead the department, and comes from the Dodgers.
-Sarah Gelles, who will be the new program manager, and spent the last three seasons as Baltimore's director of analytics.
*Jake Kaplan writes in The Athletic about J.B. Bukauskas, a car wreck, and a season saved.
*Alex Bregman left a $500 tip as part of a YouTube channel in which he apparently focuses on delivering random acts of kindness.
*Randy Cesar, who had a Texas League record-breaking 42-game hitting streak, is now a free agent. Former Astros Greats also on the Minor League Free Agent list: Jake Buchanan, Preston Tucker, L.J. Hoes, Fernando Rodriguez, Asher Wojciechowski, Brett Oberholtzer, Kevin Comer, Kevin Chapman, Tyler Heineman, Harold Arauz, David Rollins, Rhiner Cruz.
*Get to know the next Japanese free agent, pitcher Yusei Kikuchi.
*Joe Mauer retired yesterday, ending a 15-year career with Minnesota. His numbers are Nice: .306/.388/.439. MVP award. Five Silver Sluggers. Six-time All-Star. But are those numbers Hall of Fame-worthy?
-His 2123 hits would be the fewest for a Hall of Famer elected since 2006, when Gary Carter and his 2092 hits were inducted. Mike Piazza was elected in 2016 with 2127 hits.
-His 143 home runs would be the fewest since Wade Boggs and his 118 home runs were inducted in 2005.
Those are just dashboard numbers. Consider that Mauer's 49.2 fWAR is the highest among catchers since his debut in 2004, and it's not even close:
1. Mauer (49.2)
2. Buster Posey (38.2)
3. Yadier Molina (37.9)
By Jay Jaffe's JAWS standards, Mauer ranks 7th all-time in MLB history at catcher and has above-average HOF catcher numbers. But even if you are skeptical so far, consider that Mauer was basically the face of the Twins for a generation. And, for me, that should matter in a Hall of Fame case. I want the Hall of Fame to represent the best of the game for each team (an argument I made in favor of Jeff Bagwell's candidacy), and Mauer absolutely does that. So for me, is Joe Mauer a Hall of Famer? Yes.
*Inside the booming business of background music.
*A musical selection: