Saturday, November 2, 2019

Saturday Morning Hot Links

I have a theory about Gerrit Cole and the reaction to Gerrit Cole's post-game [waves hands] thing. Gerrit Cole has known this offseason was coming from the moment he was called up. Cole was drafted by the Yankees - his favorite team growing up - with the 28th overall pick in the 2008 draft and elected instead to go to UCLA. Cole:
We did a ton of thinking - just an absurd amount of thinking about this. My dad has a Ph.D., and he's a real visual kind of guy, so he made charts, and we went over financial figures, comparing people who are drafted in the first round and have somewhat of a baseball career with others who graduated college and the average gross of what they make in baseball and afterward.

So when the Pirates drafted Cole with the 1st Overall pick of the 2011 draft, it paid off to the tune of an $8 million signing bonus. He has known he would be a free agent this offseason since he debuted on June 11, 2013. One playoff appearance with the Pirates and a trade to Houston later, Cole knew he had two chances to win the World Series: 2018 and 2019, because he doesn't know which team he'll play for next year (or, probably, the 6-7 years after). These were his two shots on a team built to win the World Series. He was loose in Game 7 and the call never came.

20 minutes after that loss Cole, who knew that perhaps his best shot had just come and gone and whose entire career was building to this offseason, didn't want to talk. He just watched the Astros lose Game 7 with him, the best pitcher in the game, sitting and watching. How do you talk about that? He didn't want to, so he popped off. Gerrit Cole is a thoughtful, articulate person and made some comments he admittedly later regretted.

The fans, though, pounced. Horse Guy weighed in and made us all look bad - as if we (Astros fans) needed help being embarrassed over the years. Which leads me to my theory:

Fans who were frustrated with losing the World Series, however it shook out, saw Gerrit Cole as an easy target: Boras guy whom pretty much everyone thinks is leaving, wearing a Boras hat (non-issue for me), not wanting to talk and being Obstinate. Flippant, even.

It's way easier to lash out at Cole and not, say:
Alex Bregman: .207/.258/.517 in the World Series, .191/.333/.404 after the ALDS.
Jose Altuve: Three extra-base hits in the World Series
Carlos Correa: .222/.300/.407 in the World Series, .191/.257/.382 with 27K:6BB in the 2019 postseason.
Or the team completely failing to get the Big Hit in Games 1-2 and 6-7.
The Astros were 2-4 this postseason when Justin Verlander started.

Going after Gerrit Cole and taking frustration out on him is way easier than saying that Alex Bregman had a pretty terrible couple of weeks, because that's not something that is easy to say.

*Craig Edwards: Why Gerrit Cole never came into Game 7.

Jake Kaplan had a really good one-on-one with A.J. Hinch about Game 7, asking a lot of tough questions. Hinch:
I don't regret our process. I don't regret our plan. I don't regret trusting the guys that we trusted. I regret the results. And that's hard to explain.

Brian McTaggart has a non-paywalled interview with Hinch that touches on a lot of the same questions.

*FanGraphs: The 2019 Astros joined a list of great failures. Well this is not a fun list, a full and complete list of MLB teams who won 107+ games in the regular season and did not win the World Series:

2001 Mariners (116 wins)
1906 Cubs (115 wins)
1954 Indians (111 wins)
1969 Orioles (109 wins)
2019 Astros (107 wins)
1931 Athletics (107 wins)

The article doesn't get better after that. Don't read it if you don't want to.

*Jeff Luhnow:
When you reach 107 wins during the regular season and go to 117 cumulative, you can't look back and be dissatisfied with that result. We'll take that result but obviously it fell short of what we ultimately wanted and what we said we wanted from the beginning, which is multiple championships. We're not quite there. 

*You want to read something sweet? Read Collin McHugh's Twitter thread with his presumptive-farewell to Houston. It's sweet as hell.

Collin McHugh has pitched 800.2IP in the Majors. It breaks down as such:
Colorado: 19IP, 33H/21ER, 8K:2BB, 9.95 ERA / 1.84 WHIP
New York: 28.1IP, 39H/26ER, 20K:11BB, 8.26 ERA / 1.77 WHIP
Houston: 753.1IP, 699H/304ER, 743K:219BB, 3.63 ERA / 1.22 WHIP

Collin McHugh has been a starter and a reliever for the Astros. He has done whatever they asked. McHugh won 19 games in 2015, 20 if you count the 2015 postseason, is a World Series Champion, he started in the postseason, he relieved in the postseason. In the 2018 postseason, McHugh: 4IP, 1H/0ER, 5K:0BB. Collin McHugh did whatever the Astros wanted him to do. I don't know what's in store for Collin McHugh, but I'd be 100% okay with re-signing him. I wish him and his family the best if they don't.

*Robinson Chirinos had a Very Nice Video.

*McTaggart took a look at the Astros' offseason needs and moves.

*Mike Petriello says the AL Cy Young race is a dead heat between Verlander and Cole.

*Two-Time Former Astros Great Carlos Beltran will be the Mets' new manager.

*My favorite non-fiction baseball book is $5.99 for Kindle.

*Vanity Fair: Ten years ago, I called out David Letterman. This month, we sat down to talk.

*ESPN: The ugly, gory, bloody secret life of NHL dentists.

*Check out this NME interview with Michael Kiwanuka.

*A Musical Selection: