*The Astros had until Wednesday evening to add Rule 5 Draft-eligible players to the 40-Man Roster, or risk losing them at the end of the Winter Meetings next month. The Astros added four players:
Cristian Javier. Javier is a badass. I love Cristian Javier. Across three levels in 2019 (Fayetteville-Corpus-Round Rock) Javier threw 113.2IP, 51H/22ER, 170K:59BB, 1.74 ERA / 0.97 WHIP. 2020 is his Age 23 season. Do not let Cristian Javier go.
Enoli Paredes split time between Fayetteville and Corpus almost equally. In 94IP in 2019 he allowed 50H/29ER, 128K:42BB, a 2.87 ERA / 0.98 WHIP. He recently turned 24.
Nivaldo Rodriguez will be 23 in April 2020. He threw 105IP in 2019 - 74.0 of them at High-A Fayetteville. Over the year he allowed 69H/28ER, 114K:35BB for a 2.40 ERA / 0.99 WHIP.
Taylor Jones was the Astros' 19th Round pick in the 2016 draft. He's 6'7" 225lbs. He has seven inches on me, and I have about five pounds on him. Jones hit .291/.388/.501 in 125 games for Round Rock, with 28 doubles and 22 home runs.
The Astros 40-Man Roster stands at 38 Men.
Some notable players that could actually get selected by another team: Ronnie Dawson, Nick Tanielu, Drew Ferguson, Brandon Bailey, Jonathan Arauz, and Carlos Sanabria.
If Jonathan Arauz gets selected by another team it would close the book on the Mark Appel-Ken Giles trade with the Phillies. The Astros got Giles and Arauz from Philadelphia in July 2018. The Astros are betting that 29 other teams aren't tanking so hard that they'll take a 21-year old infielder who recorded a .707 OPS when he's between 2-4 years younger than his competition.
*The Mets, Rangers, Reds, and Astros are the early teams to show interest in Free Agent Robinson Chirinos. The Astros are about to pay reigning Cy Young winner Justin Verlander $66m in the next two seasons. Chirinos caught every one of his innings in 2019, the year Justin Verlander won the Cy Young. This isn't difficult.
*Here's a really cool story in the Chronicle about Jackson Ryan, grandson of Nolan and son of Reed, and his battle with cerebral palsy.
*The Owners Meetings are in Arlington, and the hotel has hired local law enforcement as security. You can read about Chandler Rome's 14-second interaction with Jim Crane. Asked to comment by a group of reporters, Crane responded:
If you want to talk about baseball, I'll talk about baseball. What else do you want to talk about?
Then the cops came. Any reporter who enters the hotel is approached by off-duty cops, and if they stay they're apparently required to buy a room for the night.
Let's keep in mind that it would be the height of foolishness to answer any questions while MLB's investigation is taking place. Rob Manfred, on the owners' concerns:
It's hard to characterize 30 (owners), one obviously in a very different category. The other 29 share my concern. People want the game played consistent with our rules and feel it's important that we figure out exactly what happened here and take steps to make sure it doesn't happen in the future by imposing appropriate discipline.
Yeah, Manfred is just going to let the Astros take the fall for this one, and let Houston's punishment serve as a warning to the other teams a la the Barves and the International Free Agent spending. Also, the owners want to make sure that if anyone's getting screwed, it's them doing the screwing, be they free agents, or minor-leaguers, or teenagers from the Dominican. Crane, and the Astros, are about to get screwed.
FanGraphs' Craig Edwards: What the Astros might deserve. This is a really good look at how Manfred has treated the Red Sox, Braves, and Cardinals in a variety of scandals in the last few years.
*A fan who took a picture with LMJ, then lost 100 pounds, asked for a re-do.
*SI: Why Gerrit Cole is worth $200m, which is probably at least $50-80m too low.
*Beyond the Box Score: On Mindy McCready, and why PEDs are not the reason Roger Clemens belongs outside the Hall of Fame.
*The Athletic: "Play better and get the hell out of here" - a weekend with the Sugar Land Skeeters.
*The Rabbit Ball: The Story of the Original Juiced Ball Controversy.
*Before the 2014 season Jacoby Ellsbury signed a 7yr/$153m deal with the Yankees that, with a team option, could stretch through the 2021 season. He played in 520 regular season games in six seasons. His last game was October 17, 2017, and the Yankees released him on Wednesday. They have paid him $42,285,714 since his last game, and will pay him $26,142,857 to not have to worry about him any more.
*The Ringer: 12 Hours of Watching Disney+.
*Uproxx: 'National Treasure' is 15 years old and remains the only good movie. I don't watch a lot of movies, but when Brian Grubb writes, I read.
*A Musical Selection: