Though it has been a while since being able to go to Minute Maid Park, it is sad to know that we won't see George H.W. Bush behind home plate anymore. RIP.
*Given that this off-season has crawled along slower than a Josh Beckett start, it goes without saying that Luhnow is playing it cautiously. Luhnow:
I think this offseason, it's hard to predict how quickly things will happen. We're having conversations with multiple free agents and multiple teams at the same time. Besides the deal for [Aledmys] Diaz (about which I had already completely forgotten) nothing's gotten to the finish line. Whether something happens before the Meetings in a couple of weeks, there's a chance...
...We're in a nice position because we don't feel like we have to do anything. We'd like to improve the team if we can, but there's nothing we feel we have to do.
So I guess we'll just have to watch a rotation of Verlander-Cole-McHugh-James-Peacock/Armenteros/Someone. That'd actually be okay, I guess. But who will be behind the plate? Because...
*The Astros didn't feel like Chris Herrmann was worth his arbitration projection ($1.5m-ish) and decided to not offer him a contract. This outcome probably isn't what Herrmann had in mind when he opened Astros.com in his browser.
Max Stassi is turning up right now.
*Worth noting that Jon Heyman's INSIDE BASEBALL (the baseball, he is inside it) column says the Astros, Yankees, and perennial silver-medalist Dodgers are among "many" teams showing interest in J.T. Realmuto, but also that Realmuto is looking for Buster Posey Money (8yrs/$154m). That said, Heyman:
The Astros are believed willing to include Kyle Tucker, who is the type of lefthanded hitter the Marlins like, but probably not top pitching prospect Forrest Whitley.
*While other teams are in the mix, the Red Sox and Astros are "the leading contenders" for Nate Eovaldi.
*The Astros are not on Zack Greinke's updated 15-team no-trade list.
*Check Jake Kaplan in The Athletic on the 2019 Astros' roster flexibility, noting that Jake Marisnick, Tyler White, and Tony Kemp will be out of options next season.
*The Cincinnati Reds are "all over" Dallas Keuchel, whom Scott Boras referred to as "another Tom Glavine."
*The Mets, long a hopeless franchise, traded for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz, with Seattle kicking in $20m towards Cano's salary. While it's fun (and valid) to mock the Mets, they probably see 2019 as a year in which they can win. Atlanta will be very good, Philadelphia could go either way, while the Nationals will probably lose Bryce Harper. The Marlins are a front for a criminal organization. Maybe things break the right way for the Mets and they return to contention. Maybe not, though.
*For the Astros, though, this pretty much ensures that Houston and Oakland will fight it out for the AL West title. Sure, the Angels could surprise some, but probably not. Seattle was pesky enough before their record caught up with their numbers.
*Uh-oh. An unidentified MLB player pissed hot for a banned stimulant.
*What the heck happened to Jason Heyward?
*Richard Justice has a long tribute to George H.W. Bush and his love of Houston sports.
*A Musical Selection: