Saturday, March 23, 2019

Saturday Morning Hot Links

So you can get used to seeing Alex Bregman in an Astros jersey for the foreseeable future, about 90 feet (or 150 feet, depending on the shift) from Jose Altuve. Maybe Justin Verlander, too. It was a busy day, five days from Opening Day.

*The Astros got five runs in the 6th to beat the Mets 7-3. Notable

-Brad Peacock threw 4.1IP, 6H/3ER, 4K:1BB.
-Framber Valdez threw 2IP, 2H/0ER, 2K:0BB.
-Carlos Correa was 1x2, and is hitting .333/.381/.538 this Spring.
-Yuli Gurriel was 1x2 with a walk and a home run, and is hitting .371/.436/.600.
-Alex Bregman hit his 3rd home run of the Spring.

The last bullpen spot will come down to Valdez and Reymin Guduan.

*And it was Alex Bregman who takes the Big News of the Day, as the Astros officially announced his 5yr/$100m extension, through the 2024 season. He will be 30. Jim Crane:
Everybody feeds off of Alex, he's got a great personality. He comes to the ballpark every day ready to play, and he leads by example. He worked hard and fits in well with the rest of our guys, and that's really what you're driving for as an organization...we're just happy to have him locked up for a while now.

Bregman says that the slow market didn't impact his deal, meaning that Bregman wasn't so terrified of free agency that he looked for an extension instead (which is exactly what I would be doing, were I in that situation). Bregman:
I wanted to play here. I didn't want to play anywhere else. I wanted to be in orange and blue for as long as I possibly can. I love this organization. I want to win here for a long time.

So here's the contract breakdown:
2019: $640,500 + $10m signing bonus. $5m is to be paid within 30 days, and the other $5m within 90 days of commissioner approval.
2020: $11m
2021: $11m
2022: $11m
2023: $28.5m
2024: $28.5m

In 2023-2024 there are escalators in his contract based on MVP voting: $1.5m for 1st Place, $750K for 2nd, $500K for 3rd. If he wins AL MVP in 2020 or 2021, he gets a $2m bonus. If he wins AL MVP a 2nd time, it goes up another $2m.

Chandler Rome: When Alex Bregman got his $5.9m signing bonus he promised part of it to his parents. His father refused. To which Bregman responded, "In five years I'm going to sign one for $100m, will you take some of that?"

Sports Illustrated: Alex Bregman is ready to become a national superstar.

*Oh, but that's not all. Loads of rumors that the Astros and Justin Verlander are moving towards a 2-year extension worth around $66m. Verlander, last month:
The city, the fans, my teammates, the organization from top to bottom - from Mr. Crane all the way down to the locker room - has made my transition easy and joyful. I felt accepted right away, and I really enjoyed my time here. That's a testament to all those people. 

*There was a report in The Athletic that the Astros and Gerrit Cole were moving towards an extension, but Cole refuted that report.

*'s Mark Feinsand: Five takeaways from a rush on players signing extensions, and what it means for next winter's off-season.

*SI's Jon Tayler: The extensions mean that owners have complete control of baseball economics, and it won't change until a new CBA is signed.

*Games 3-5 SPs:
Game 3: Collin McHugh
Game 4: Wade Miley
Game 5: Brad Peacock

*Outfielder Drew Ferguson, taken by San Francisco in the Rule 5 draft, cleared waivers and was returned to the Astros.

*David Barron: Robert Ford and Steve Sparks bring completely different styles to the booth.

*One of Oakland's few established superstars, Matt Olson, underwent surgery for a hamate issue.

*Alex Bregman's son got a big-time deal from the Red Sox.

*1843: How Turkish coffee destroyed an empire.

*NY Times Interactive: There is no reason to cross the United States by train, but I did it anyway. (Save this for when you have an hour and a half or so).

*Texas Monthly: Meet the guy who slowly stole Collin Street Bakery.

*Longreads: A middle-aged father battling depression with ultrarunning is attempting to run 1000 miles across Alaska, unsupported, and in the middle of winter. (Ed. Note: I, a middle-aged father battling depression with ultrarunning will attempt to run 13.1 miles next Sunday)

*A Musical Selection: