*The Astros hired Former Astros Great Mickey Storey to be their new manager at
*It appears as though CFM has moved on from the Astros to take a 2-year $30m deal from Tampa. I have Sad. More on Morton later, when I can process this. Luhnow:
We wanted him back, and he will always be part of Astros history. He had two of his best years here, and if he gets a deal he's happy with, I'm happy for him.
Remember the Astros reportedly offered CFM a 1-year deal with an option for a 2nd year back in November. Makes me wonder if the shoulder that gave Morton trouble also scared off the Astros.
Later Luhnow talked about Morton as a selling point to future targets:
It has become a selling point and players recognize it, and they feel they will get the best information if they sign with the Astros. What they do with it is up to them, but they'll have a chance to figure out ways to make themselves even better.
Charlie Morton's fWAR by season, highest-to-lowest:
Or you can look at it like this:
Career fWAR, 2008-2016: 7.8
Career fWAR, 2017-2018: 6.3
Or, 2008-2016: 4.54 ERA / 1.44 WHIP, 84 ERA+
2017-2018: 3.36 ERA / 1.18 WHIP, 121 ERA+
Fare thee well, CFM.
So the Astros have erased the following salaries off the books from 2018 (note: it's possible, nay probable, that this changes)
Dallas Keuchel: $13.2m
Brian McCann: $11.5m (the Yankees, get this, paid the Astros haha $5.5m per year to take McCann and win a World Series)
Evan Gattis: $6.7m
Marwin Gonzalez: $5.125m
Now, Gerrit Cole will get a hefty raise from his $6.75m arbitration salary. Robinson Chirinos will get $5.75m in 2019. But there's some wiggle room from last year, if the Astros' want it.
Using that previous link, Luhnow said the Astros will not be the ones who are aggressive in their bidding:
We're not going to be the ones setting the market. We'll be reacting to it and making sure we get players we want for the value we want....Fans need to have that perspective that it does feel like things are happening later and later in the offseason, and that's okay. It doesn't mean your team's not going to do anything. It might, but it doesn't necessarily mean that.
The Astros aren't not going to do anything. Maybe they won't, but not necessarily. Got it.
Jeff Luhnow: "We definitely moved the ball forward on a couple deals today, then saw a couple go away. We’re closer on some and that’s about where it stands. This seems like the lowest transaction volume that I’ve ever witnessed at a Winter Meetings in my history."— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) December 13, 2018
*Jake Kaplan writes about why the Astros aren't terribly worried about Forrest Whitley's 2019 workload.
*A.J. Hinch talked about Aledmys Diaz's versatility.
*Meanwhile the Yankees signed J.A. Happ to a 2yr/$34(-ish)m deal with a vesting option for a 3rd year.
*The Rangers have reportedly signed Lance Lynn to a 3yr/$30m deal.
*Here's Joe Posnanski with a wonderfully-long read on the Hall of Fame's Veterans Committee.
*The Globe and Mail's Jana Pruden: The day I met a serial killer.
*This Dallas kid straight up assaulted another kid during a Dallas-area hockey game.
*A musical selection: