Yesterday I had the "opportunity" to drive from Galveston back home in Central Texas. There was a wreck on 45 North before the Beltway. Then there was one on 610. And another on 290. It was a Saturday. All the while I was leading a co-worker who wasn't familiar with driving in Houston, so I had to make sure that I couldn't lose him. How in the world did I ever learn to drive there?
*Yesterday Jeff Luhnow made his first Move of the off-season by acquiring Aledmys Diaz from Toronto in exchange for Rule-5 Draft-Eligible pitcher Trent Thornton. Thornton was the Astros' 5th Round pick in the 2015 Draft. The 25-year old Thornton put up a 4.85 ERA in 124.1IP for Fresno in 2018, though he was Fresno's rock in the rotation for most of the year. Regard:
-Thornton made 24 appearances in 2018. He allowed 3ER or less in 18 of them.
-His stats are belied by his July 5 start in which he allowed 8H/10ER in 1.1IP.
-In his last two starts of 2018 Thornton threw 10.2IP, 18H/11ER, 12K:4BB.
Trent Thornton is a good pitcher and maybe he missed his buddy Ken Giles in Fresno and maybe he'll be okay or maybe not.
Cuban-born 28-year old Aledmys Diaz is basically 2019 Astros Marwin. He posted a 1.6 fWAR in 130 games with a 102 wRC+. Marwin posted a 104 wRC+, so the difference is negligible, and Diaz is under team control until 2023 while Someone is about to give Marwin $60m+. Diaz played 38 games at 3B, 95 games at SS, and played three games in LF for St. Louis in 2017. He only struck out in 13.7% of his Plate Appearances last year, which would put him between 2018 Jose Altuve (13.2%) and 2018 Tony Kemp (14.9%) if all things were equal (and they're not. Like, at all.)
I love Marwin, but this is a cost-saving move for the Astros with little-to-no-dropoff in offensive production (as of 2018). The removal of Thornton from the system means Ronnie Dawson cracks the Org Top 30!
Toronto GM Ross Atkins:
Trent is someone that we've targeted for some time, and are confident that his deep repertoire and strike-throwing ability allows him to be a factor for our major-league rotation in the near term.
Ken Rosenthal notes that the Astros still want to keep Marwin.
*Jon-Paul Morosi has a (some?) source(s?) that say the Astros are far more involved in trade negotiations than free agent discussions. On the list? Miami catcher J.T. Realmuto. But Miami, which is basically a criminal organization, want one of Kyle Tucker or Forrest Whitley. This is understandable, but the Marlins are actually Very Stupid.
*Are the Astros a dark-horse to sign Bryce Harper? One dude from SI seems to think the Astros will sign Harper to an 8yr/$280m deal.
*Oh hey the Mariners did an internal review of Dr. Lorena Martin's accusations and just up and decided that her claims were unfounded. Click the link to read the But Wait! section.
*From The Ringer, American Curmudgeon: On Jeff Tweedy.
*I just finished the first season of Rabbits, a podcast that was Very Weird and Enjoyable.
*A Musical Selection: