There are 16 days until Opening Day.
*Big News of the Day was that Alex Bregman was decidedly unimpressed with the $41,500 raise he got after posting a historic year in 2018. Bregman:
I'm just disappointed and I feel like I outperformed [his 2018 salary]. I understand that it's a business, but I feel like good business would be wanting to make a player who performed at a high level on your team happy and want to feel like he wanted to be kept and feel like they wanted him to play here forever. I'm just disappointed it doesn't seem like the same amount of want.
There are A LOT of similes to unpack here, none of them good.
According to FanGraphs, Bregman's value to the Astros was $60.9m of WAR. That's a lot of fWAR for not a lot of actual money, ratio-wise. I get called a Commie Pinko Bastard (or something along those lines) for wanting players to get paid their fair value, but Bregman has to understand Baseball Economics here. If the Astros paid everyone their statistical worth, tickets would start at Eleventy Jillion Dollars, so the team could continue making that profit.
Let's actually take a look at how much the Astros players provided to the team in terms of value, via FanGraphs (I'm not putting links to each of these, just trust that in over 10 years of doing this, I have literally never lied to any of you):
Alex Bregman: $60.9m
Justin Verlander: $54.4m
Gerrit Cole: $50.1m
Jose Altuve: $39.2m
Dallas Keuchel: $28.7m
Charlie Morton: $24.9m
George Springer: $23.5m
Lance McCullers: $19.9m
Carlos Correa: $13.2m
Marwin Gonzalez: $12.6m
Tyler White: $11.9m
Collin McHugh: $11.4m
Hector Rondon: $10.7m
Max Stassi: $9.5m
Yuli Gurriel: $9.4m
Josh Reddick: $9.1m
You can do the math on what this totals up combined with their actual salaries, but the value far outweighs these dudes' salaries. That's how a baseball team is good and actually turns a profit. I don't like it, and I think Bregman is correct, but I don't know what an acceptable salary would be. Did he want $800,000 and the Astros just decided to give him $600,000+? This kind of response from Bregman is a stupid thing to elicit over this theoretical $200,000. There are too many unknowns here to be able to reach some sort of educated conclusion about what's actually going on.
Worth mentioning, Luhnow:
I know it's not satisfying because he's a great player and no player is ever satisfied the year before they reach arbitration with the amount the club gives them. That's just the nature of our industry right now. That's the world we operate in, and next year when he reaches arbitration, he's going to begin to get paid at the level he deserves.
Notice how Luhnow acknowledges the imbalance between player salaries prior to arbitration. This is what was negotiated in the CBA, though, so it's how it is. Is it fair? Hell no. Is a team going to extract the absolute most value they can out of their players before they hit arbitration and, ultimately, free agency? 100% yes. The system is flawed, the system is not fair, the system cannot be changed right now.
Note: The Angels will pay Shohei Ohtani more than the Astros will pay Alex Bregman. And Bregman isn't rehabbing from Tommy John Surgery.
*An update on the SP5 Race:
Brad Peacock: 8IP, 4H/2R (0ER), 5K:1BB
Framber Valdez: 9.1IP, 13H/6ER, 3K:5BB
*Josh "Big Flames" James will throw his 2nd live BP session today, getting that much closer to returning to what will likely be the bullpen in 2019.
*Chandler Rome checks in with Kyle Tucker on his reality that he likely won't break camp with the Astros.
*Here's Scott Miller, on Forrest Whitley.
*Check the Baseball Tonight podcast, featuring Justin Verlander.
*Oakland optioned Former Astros Great Daniel Mengden to Triple-A.
*From the BBC, Meet Mansa Musa: The Richest Man Who Ever Lived.
*A Musical Selection: